Race of Hope 2022: A Populous Celebration of Athletics, Culture and Tourism
Saturday, February 19, 2022 turned out to be a day of communion between athletes from nine participating countries and the population of Buea; the city of legendry hospitality.
As early as 5:30 athletes brave the dark and cold mountainous breeze to assemble at the Molyko stadium for pre-start off modalities.
The organising committee gave each Athlete a bracelet and a chest number. The over 500 participants were grouped in three main categories, Senior Men and Women, Junior Male and Female and veterans with the senior men and women in the first starting block.
At 7:00 am local time, kick off was given and athletes began running at various speeds. While the more experienced and youth athletes took off at him speed, the most of the veterans were just jugging.
As the athletes race out of the Molyko stadium, they were greeted by huge crowds of local inhabitants who had turned out to support runners taking part in the 27th edition of the annual event.
Rehydration of Athletes
Volunteers line up throughout the race course with water bottles offering to athletes as they run up or down the about 4km high mountain.
Others pour water on the bodies of the athletes in a bid to freshen them up as they sweat out the heat of tedious climb.
Various sponsors had also made available consignments of bottled at strategic points on the race course.
The water was also distributed to athletes as they run up or down. While some athletes poured the water on their bodies others drank while some drank and poured on themselves.
The Encouraging Population
Athletes irrespective of race or nationality received words of encouragement a population. Women and veterans in particular were highly applauded by the cheering fans. Some used words like “mum, keep it up”, “You can make it”, “courage”, “you have our support”. In some cases the names of the athlete was called and her or she is encourage to go ahead.
When the athletes were returning from the mountain the population remained them of their position, the distance between them and those behind or ahead as a motivation for the athlete to keep pace.
As the first athletes in the senior men and women category ran down the streets of Buea excited fans along in show of support and encouragement. Security disposition however did not allow spectators to come close to the athletes.
Culture and Tourism on Display
The friendly and welcoming population displayed their rich culture from the opening ceremony when the chiefs of the region poured libation and appeased the gods of the mountain. Traditional dances of the land thrilled guest who were waiting for the athletes to return.
The beautiful mountainous scenery and the sunset behind the mountain were amongst the many souvenirs that people who attended to race may be coming again for another tourist trip.
Which aspects of the mountain race did you enjoy? Answer in the comments section.