Sarah Liengu Etonge was born in 1967 in Buea, South West Cameroon. She dropped out of school because her family could not afford her education. She got married at a young age and gave birth to her first child at the age of 14.
After the death of her husband, Sarah and her children endured rejection and poverty, and she indulged in agriculture to cater to her seven children. Sarah Etonge’s first participation in the Mount Cameroon Race was at the age of 27.
She is seven times in the female category of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope. In 1996, she won the Mount Cameroon race for the first time and bagged 1.5 million francs.
Etonge’s three consecutive wins between 1996 and 1999 enabled her to be conferred the title “Queen of the Mountain”. In 2008, Chantal Biya, Cameroon’s first lady, included Etonge in a ceremony honouring high-achieving Cameroonian women.
In 2010, official race organizers offered to buy a plot of land in Buea and build an apartment for the legend. Sarah Etonge shocked the entire nation in February 2013. After four years of retirement, she announced she was running again for the 17th edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope.
Despite her age, Sarah Etonge defended her title of Queen of the Mountain by coming 2nd, with a time of 5h 44mn 41sec, 12 minutes behind Ngwaya Yvonne, who was at the time 25 years old.
On March 12th, 2005, Etonge was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in mountaineering by Professor Emeritus Lydia Luma of the Cameroon Education Corporation. In the year 2006, the city of Buea revealed a statue in her honour, the second in the town of Buea after German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck. She is the one for whom this quote was made, “A champion is one who is always remembered. A legend is one who is never forgotten.”