It is from the visit of a group of tourists from Britain and France and their kids to Mount Cameroon in 1972, that hopes are initiated to organise the famous mount Cameroon race of hope.

The tourists at the time were accompanied by guides and porters, among them Amos Evambe winner of the 1975 edition.

While on their way back to the town, the mountain guests decided to encourage their kids by promising to offer an award to whoever arrived home first. In the evening they gave varied prizes to the children.

The following evening, the tourists organized another party ,inviting all porters and guides who accompanied them to the chariots of gods. That time they lived at the Buea mountain hotel.

As time progressed, Guinness Cameroon got interested in organising the mountain race. They named it Guinness mount Cameroon race of hope.

The brewery industry officially met the Cameroon government in 1973, for authorisation to organise the race.

The request was accepted on terms that the race will take place on march, 10,1973. This was to spice the first ever agricultural show that was to take place in Buea at the BTTC field, today known as BHS, presided over by the then President of the republic Amadou Ahijo.

The BTTC field was the pioneer starting and finishing point of the race.

In 1973, about 140 athletes contested with the winner earning 30000frs, 10 cartons of Guinness drinks and the compensatory prize was 5000frs with two cartons of Guinness drinks.

Beginners of the competition faced so many challenges. The itinerary of the race course was a serious problem, as many went missing after following hunters path.

After BTTC field, the competition venue was moved to the tourism office, some 400m away. After then, there was another change of arena from the tourism office to the old stadium in Buea before finally to the Molyko stadium, that has stood its ground till date.

The continues swap of venues was attributed to irregularities of some runners.

After 10, march 1973, the organisers chose February as the permanent month of host even though January has featured in some years.

After the first edition, the prize increased to 60000frs up to 1977.

Between 1978 and 1982 there was a temporal halt of the race.

Guinness bounced back in 1982 with a spirited momentum ,raising prize to 500,000frs. That year 500 athletes contested. 200 from Cameroon, other African countries 150 and the rest of the world 150 participants.

Women integrated the competition in 1983.

Between 1973 and 1985, Lekunze Leku and Mike short were noted for being the fasted in descending and ascending the mountain respectively.

In 2008, Guinness Cameroon bashed out of the race, handing organization Rights back to the state of Cameroon. By then the champion earned 3 million frs.

Ever since government took over the race, a lot of progress has been made in terms of awards. Now the winner can back home 10million frs and due to this many persons are interested in winning the competition.

Who will be the champion of the 2019 edition???, Saturday February, 23 will tell.

Nkenyi Romeo

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