Rafael Batac dies at 61

Lanao del Norte native Rafael Batac held the Philippine junior records in 3 steeplechase events in the 1980s. Condolences to the Batac Family. Rafael’s nephew Ruel Navarro Batac has supplied me with photos and news clippings.

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Former PH track standout Rafael Batac dies at 61

MANILA, Philippines – Rafael Batac, the 5-foot-1 runner who once held 3 national junior long-distance athletics marks, passed away on Thursday, July 9. He was 61 (born 24.10.1958).

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“He had been undergoing 6 years of dialysis,” Batac’s wife, Ruby, said in a Facebook private message.

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Rachel, his daughter, said Rafael started complaining of abdominal pains and would vomit. After dialysis on Monday, Rafael was all right, but on Tuesday, he was bought to the emergency room, where his condition weakened despite dialysis on Wednesday.

A wake will be at St Peter’s Antipolo, and burial is set at Heaven’s Gate in Cogeo.

Batac, born in Lanao del Norte, was a strong pacer and worked hard during practice at the Gintong Alay training camp at Teacher’s Camp in Baguio.

He was one of the first athletes under the Gintong Alay Program to show how effective training was at high altitudes under former Olympian Tony Benson.

Batac held the junior 3,000-meter steeplechase, 5,000m, and 10,000m records at one time in the early 1980s.

(Impossible for him to hold the Junior records in the 1980s as he was born in 1958, so he was at least 21 at the beginning of 1980).

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Difficult Transition to Senior Division

His ascent to the senior ranks was difficult as he faced the veterans led by Nestor Trampe and Justo Tabunda Jr, the Milo marathon champion.

Rafael Batac
HARD WORKER. Fellow athletes say Rafael Batac soldiered on amid the tough competition in the national pool. Contributed photo from Tony Benson

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“Competition was tough,” said Benson in a Facebook message.

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Rafael Batac
Batac with Australian Coach Tony Benson on the infamous hill behind teachers camp

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Trampe remembers sticking close to Batac and waiting when he would unleash his kick.

“He was a pacer and a good one,” Trampe, who held the 3,000m steeplechase record before Hector Begeo came in 1981, said in a phone interview.

Tabunda recalls Batac as conscientious during practice and tenacious in competition.

“The long-distance pool was deep in talent. You had to go through a lot of opponents,” he said in a phone interview.

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The pool included future SEA Games champs David Carmelo and Leonardo Illut, Arturo Alimbuyao, Irving Gallardo, and Alberto Caoili.

(NB. Irving Gallardo and Alberto Caoili are not in my records as having ever been SEA Games Champions).

Batac continued competing until the mid-1980s when he bowed out of the competition. At that time, another group of long-distance stars led by Begeo, Mario Castro, Wilfredo Ballester, and Primo Ramos was in the ascendant. –

(I have not heard of Ballester and Ramos neither won medals at SEA Games Level).

From my Files

  • 1979 ASEAN School Games in Singapore (at age 20!) 9:02.1 for 3000m
  • 8:53.4 for 3000m in December
  • 33:22.2 for 10000m in December
  • 1980 9:19.5 for 3k Steeples at Marikina 27.05.1980 2nd to Ruben Daniel.
  • Batac did not win a medal at the SEA Games level.

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Ruben Daniel set the National record in 1980 when he beat Batac. So Batac must have held the record prior?

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A listing of Batac’s progression would be appreciated at this time to be emailed to [email protected]


National Record Progression from my files in Mens 3000m Steeple Chase 

9.42.0Benjamin Silva-NettoBangkokAsian Games11.12.1966
9.26.8Benjamin Silva-NettoTarlacNational Open1968
9.19.4Ruben DanielMarikina27.05.80
9.14.4Nestor Trampe29.04.81
9.06.75Hector Begeo19.06.64ManilaSEA Games12.12.81
8.52.40Hector Begeo19.06.64New DelhiAsian Games26.11.82
8.50.02Hector BegeoSeoul3.10.86
8.35.09Hector Begeo19.06.64SeoulOlympic Games26.09.88


The National record was later bettered for Nestor Trampe in 1981 with 9:14.4 and eventually bulldozed all the way down to 8:35.09 by Hector Begeo when he made the semi-finals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Hector’s record has stood now for 32 years.

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Source: https://www.rappler.com/sports/by-sport/other-sports/266128-former-philippine-track-standout-rafael-batac-dies-at-61

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