Sarah Etonge: Like it or not she was the star of this year”s race: 49 years old and still came in second. By this feat, she has elevated herself from human to icon. Now the issue of her house has been settled, somehow. All those who were at the Molyko stadium had the privilege of seeing a woman rise to legendom by sheer courage and strength. “Woman eh”
A cliffhanger finish in the male category: This hit was inadvertent but still a hit anyway. The finish in the male category was nail-biting and a great T.V. moment. At Bongo squares, eventual winner Gabsibuin Godlove and third – place winner Bongkijung Januarius were almost neck to neck with Godlove having a slight lead which he eventually stretched to reach the finish line first. Surprise, surprise, the guy who eventually came in second was rather Tiku Divine, Januarius Bongkijung finally came in third. Something happened between Bongo Squares and the Molyko Stadium.
An all inclusive race: Many criticisms can be directed at the organisation of the race but one of those cannot be discrimination. The race is all inclusive, with able – bodied as well as the visually impaired. Seniors too were included with a 75 yr old athlete, Tanda Titah, defying the chariots of the gods as well as
juniors who could be his grand-kids.
Sponsors galore: The Race of Hope 2013 seems to have pulled sponsors from far and near. There were IT, airline, brewery and etc companies all vying for a place in the sun where their products would be obvious to even the blind. Hopefully next year will bring more sponsors to the party.
And here are the not- so- good aspects of this year”s race.
Toddlers competing: It was surely good to have a junior category – with a junior distance to cover- but some of the contestants were a little too little to be competing if you ask some people. The organisers and parents most especially should endeavour not to deny children their childhood by having them go on herculean quests.
Soldiers and crowd management: Believe it or not soldiers by virtue of their training are not cut out for dealing with civilian situations like the Race of Hope. This year just as in years prior, soldiers were enlisted to help with the race and as usual they had brushes with civilians, belting some
and quarelling as well. The organisers should endeavour to exclude soldiers from this forum because they lack the skills to control crowds peacefully. Barricades and more police officers would do the job. If it were other “incidents” police would be imported to deal with the situation. The same could be done for the Race of Hope.
That ever stagnant prize money: Since 1 B.C., the prize money has stood at 3,000,000, 2 and 1 million respectively for the first three positions in the ladies, men”s and relay categories. But given the “sponsor rush” noticed and the grueling nature of the race, isn”t it time the prize money received a bump, no matter how insignificant. Athletes – and not committees members- put on a show and deserve gold for their efforts. Without them there will be no Race of Hope.
Finally we could be mention the perennial problem of organisation but that would be useless because next year will be the same thing all over again. But we cannot let this slide. Reporters should endeavour to communicate well. Instead of calling non-Cameroonian athletes foreigners or foreign athletes there should say international because foreign has a negative connotation and the Race of Hope is now a world brand, a party to which everybody is invited and words of exclusion like foreign should be jettisoned.