By Chinedu Hardy Nwadike

Cameroonian born Afowiri Kizito Fondzenyuy is celebrating his first World Record Award after the 2024 Tokyo Marathon in 4 hours, 24 minutes 2 seconds.

Afowiri, 51 has completed 16 marathons, covering 673 km in the process. He ran five of them wearing Togbu, a feat that has earned him the title of the Toghu Marathoner and Nformi Kilé (General of runners).

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He runs marathons to raise money for causes in Cameroon through his Amom Foundation who has so far been involved in education assessment research, rebuilding of school blocks, building of desks and provision of reading materials for school children.

Afowiri themed his Tokyo Marathon expedition ‘Running to Build Bridges’ (RBB Project) with the goal of raising about Twenty Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000) to help in the reconstruction of 10 new bridges that will help children go to school during the rainy season.

According to him the bridges which are made of tree trunks and planks are death traps which can no longer carry cars even in the dry season.

“The project will directly and indirectly encourage education in the area as farmers and traders are often cut off because in most cases only careful motorcycle riders can access the bridges”

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“In the rainy season, the people are cut off and it is the same for school children. They can’t go to school, their parents cannot go to farms or markets in other villages. So how will they learn? Even when they manage to go, how will their tuition be paid by parents who cannot access their produce in their farms?”, he said.

He said that so far, about five thousand dollars ($5,000) was raised while he was running in the Tokyo Marathon and more donations are needed to reach the mark of getting all 10 bridges done.

He mentioned the Lun and Tsenmah bridges in Ngondzen which is 17 Kilometers North of Kumbo, the Bui Divisional Headquarters North West Region in Cameroon as the starting point of the RBB Project.

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Afowiri further stated that his Amon Foundation has accessed the Lun and Tsenmah bridges, describing their conditions as terrible.

He said that when completed, pupils attending St John the Baptist Primary School, Ngondzen will be one of the biggest beneficiaries, alongside other students, farmers, and traders in the area.

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The Toghu Marathoner’s Running to Build Bridges Project is expected to run through to 2025 according to Afowiri who is hoping to be in another marathon before then.

After completing the Tokyo Marathon, he became the first Cameroonian to receive the Abbott World Majors medal for completing all six marathon majors. He completed half of them in Toghu.

“It is a privilege to run marathons wearing Toghu. It feels like my people are running with me. Being known as the Toghu Marathoner is wonderful and getting a Guiness World Record because of it even means more”

“The Guinness World Record will not see the last of me. I am out to do more, win more and run more as long as my legs can carry me”, he said.

For running in Toghu, Afowiri Fondzenyuy was given the title of Nformi Kilé (General of Runners) the Fon of Nso, traditional ruler of the Banso tribe.

Announcing the record breaking, Guinness World Record on their website wrote, “The fastest marathon wearing a toghu (male) is 4 hr 24 min 2 sec, and was achieved by Afowiri Fondzenyuy (USA), in Tokyo, Japan, on 2 March 2024”

“Afowiri has run five marathons in toghu attire. He made previous attempts at some Abbott World Marathon Majors races before breaking the record at the Tokyo Marathon”

Afowiri whom aside from running marathons is an entrepreneur and an aspiring running coach, said that he can only say that the future is bright as he looks forward to achieving more feats for himself and country.