Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Andrew Pirie
Rafael Poliquit, The Master
I have decided to compose all my articles for my friend the Late Great Rafael Poliquit, who passed away in early 2019.
Poliquit was also a member of Run For Change, a program made to help athletes by Atty. Eric Pasion. I found an interview I did with Rafael back in 2017.
Rafael Poliquit dies
Tragically Philippine Sports has lost one of its greats.
Triple Milo Marathon King Rafael Poliquit is popularly known as Master Endurance. Passed away from subdural empyema.
Rafael Poliquit passed away on Thursday afternoon after being in a coma for the past few days at the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City.
He was 30 years old. According to msdmanuals.com, subdural empyema
“is a collection of pus between the dura mater and the underlying arachnoid mater.”
Meeting Rafael Poliquit
I first met Rafael back in 2013, when he joined our Run For Change Team Managed by Eric Pasion. Seeing the guy’s results at UAAP, and he was imposing and upcoming over 5,000 and 10,000 meters. I later found out Rafa was an upcoming star in Philippine Athletics and had the previous December taken the Bronze in the 2012 ASEAN University Games (he beat Future 2015, and 2017 SEA Games Marathon Champion Soh Rui Yong in that race).
I took an instant liking to the humble and very positive attitude of Rafael Poliquit. And he was extremely well-mannered. At that time, Rafael Poliquit was being coached by Rosito Andaya. A man who a lot misunderstood, but Rafael Poliquit had the utmost respect of his coach.
Rafael Poliquit was one of the last products of famed long-distance coach Rosito Andaya at Far Eastern University.
In 2014, Andaya said: “He is not as talented as ( marathon king Eduardo) Buenavista but he is intelligent and willing to work. So I used those traits and made him undergo surging drills and improve other aspects like strength.”
You see, Rafael Poliquit was not blessed with speed or a huge amount of natural talent. But the very clever Andaya molded him by applying surge tactics to be able to outsmart faster opponents. It worked quite the charm.
What made Rafael stand out for me was when I was managing the Weekly Relays. I hitched a ride back on the UP Bus, and Rafa had the same idea. I was seated next to him. On the way home, he told me about his struggles and how he had gotten to where he was today because of his firm faith. It was there I got to know the story of the Boy from Tagum who dreamed of representing the Philippines one day. I asked him, ‘Why do you refer to yourself as Master Endurance.’
Rafa responded with, it’s not so much I refer to myself as Master Endurance, but I use that to inspire everyone to Master Endurance. We spent a few hours honestly talking on that bus, and it was the first of many exciting conversations in the Summer of 2013 over several months, which I felt built into a friendship of mutual respect.
The thing I liked about him most is not just how he had powerful willpower. When he said he was going to do something, he gave it everything. And even though he failed many times and went through many hardships being an athlete, he still got up and put himself through the hard work again. He was a top guy, and he did his utmost to inspire others to be the best they could be positive.
Milo Marathon King
Rafael finally got the big break he deserved when he crowned himself Milo Marathon King for the first time in 2014.
Beating all the highly fancied favorites.
This performance and his PB earned him a nomination for the 2014 SEA Games.
I sat in the panel with the coaches and PATAFA management to decide on the 2015 SEA Games team while I was with the PSC.
It came to the decision that Eduardo Buenavista would go to the SEA Games had failed to qualify in 2015.
Then the coaches voted in Rafael Poliquit over Panique with a huge majority.
SEA Games Disappointment
Rafael Poliquit lined up at the 2015 SEA Games Marathon in June in the early morning. As I recall, it was heavily raining and a wet course. It was a confusing loop course with cones scattered everywhere. I waited in the stadium as the men started coming the times due to the confusing course being considerably slower. Soh Rui Yong came in first around 2h35. But Rafael Poliquit was nowhere to be seen. I later was informed by Coach Ojon Artiaga he had collapsed and had been taken to the possible. He had made it this far only to collapse. For most athletes, they may have called it quit there. But not Rafael Poliquit.
He fought his way back to defend his Milo Marathon title in 2015, proving his win was not a fluke. I left the selection consultation of PATAFA nearer the end of 2015. While I was in the province, I heard that Rafael Poliquit had been removed after losing his Milo title in 2016. The removal sent Rafael Poliquit into somewhat of a Limbo.
Where he would battle his way through depression and, at times, question whether he wanted to continue in this sport. It was sometime in 2018 that Rafael Poliquit contacted SEA Games Champion Soh, Rui Yong.
Soh Rui Yong and the Return of the Master
This was an impressive character for an athlete to have the humility to ask his rival for help. Rafa had a very open mind, which is very rare these days. Soh’s coaching help helped Rafa get back on track. He told me of his utmost respect for his good friend Soh and utmost belief Soh would get him back on track in several FB Conversations.
Rafa did just that in 2018 he claimed his third and last Milo Marathon title and ran a 2h28.27 PB. Breaking his best from several years ago. And qualifying for the 2019 SEA Games. Rafael Poliquit was even prepared to put aside 200,000 pesos of his winning to train in America for the SEA Games if no one would sponsor him.
It is so sad to see that Rafael Poliquit, who was in the best shape of his life, could, in short time, pass away so quickly before his 30th Birthday. And it shows us how precious and delicate life is. You were a class act and a Bloody Legend, Rafa. I know that no write-up will ever express how much you meant to the Philippine Track and Field History. RIP Master Endurance until we meet again.
- https://www.rappler.com/sports/by-sport/other-sports/227955-philippine-marathon-king-rafael-poliquit-diesReturn of the Master, Rafa Regains his Milo Title A Master Moment
Meanwhile, on the Men’s side. Rafael Poliquit, 29, One of the nicest guys in Philippine Track and Field, regained his Milo Title. The 2014 and 2015 Milo National Champions made it number 3 timing 2:28.47. Rafael Poliquit speaks passionately about the sports he loves, despite all the obstacles he has faced.
Rafael Poliquit known popularly as ‘Master Endurance,’ said he wants to inspire others to run. The self-coached Rafael Poliquit beat athletes trained by PATAFA national coaches here.
He then thanked his friend, 2x SEA Games gold medalist Soh Rui Yong of Singapore, for collaborating with the training program and inspiring him to his comeback.
“Suh Rui Yong said: ‘Drop the hammer in the last 7 kilomteters,'” recalled Poliquit. “So I did that, and ‘di ko napansin pa-finish na pala ako. Akala ko may isang lap pa ako kasi nasa oval na ako, hindi pa talaga ako nag-sprint, kaya pa talaga. Nag-finish ako na fresh na fresh. First time ko mag-finish na ganito ang kondisyon.”
Rafael Poliquit now qualifies for his second SEA Games after collapsing from dehydration in Singapore in 2015.
Rafael Poliquit finished behind Kenyans David Kipsang (2:20.29), Stephen Mugambi (2:22.20), and Joackim Kemboi (2:27.45)
Rafael Poliquit’s time ranks him 6th in South East Asia for 2018, nearly wrapped up.
Thai-Kiwi Tony Payne ranks first with his Southeast Asian Record of 2:16.56. Payne, the favorite for the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines next year, is 9 seconds clear of 2013-2015 SEA Games Champion Soh Roi Yong 2:25.05.
Rafael Poliquit’s mark of 2:28.47 was a big improvement on his 2:32.29 PB from 2014. However, to make the Top 10 of the All-Time lists, he needs to break 2:25.16, a mark held by the late Jimmy dela Torre.
Beating the National Team Athletes
Aswell as Poliquit, who is not currently a member of the national team. Unheralded Jerald Zabala landed silver in 2:31.25, which ranks him 9th in South East Asia this year. Poliquit and Zabala finished ahead of National 10K Champion Richard Salano 2:33.17 and former Milo Champion Jeson Agravante 2:33.42, both national team members.
Joy Tabal remembers marathoner Rafael Poliquit: ‘He was a fighter’
Master Endurance Poliquit, Incheon Half Marathon
Oct 4, 2016
Milo Marathon double champion Rafael, ‘Master Endurance’ Poliquit, participated in the Incheon Standard Marathon. In the Half Marathon distance 21k.
Poliquit is also the first Filipino to wear the Brooks Hyperion shoe.
It’s not a Personal Best (PB) nor Season Best (SB); now I learned going out fast is not good forme did 6:05 in the first 2km, which supposed to do in the last 2 km. I did my best to keep close to the lead pack; the pace was too fast as they start injecting the pace around 3:05mins per km; after the 2km mark, I found myself fading past the 10km mark in 32:28 mins that were 32 seconds fast as my target 33 mins.
At 11km, one Korean ahead of me and another Korean closed me from behind, and we ran side by side until 15km; the two Korean felt that I was dizzy and fading through the effort in the first half of the race.
He made a move and left me; then I found myself again alone 17km. Matty Davy caught me seriously keeping his own pace around 3:19-3:20/km even though I felt empty in my tank, I knew I could handle the pace of 3:20 until the finish line then I made a move I was closed to Matt behind that moment in 17km mark I knew I would smash my SB 1:11:08 held in Condura if I will maintain the pace suddenly at 19km mark I felt what we so-called stomach cramps that forced me to slow down in the last 2km and finish the race with unofficial time 1:12:23,
Matt closed to the two Korean ahead of us and finished at 1:10:48 seconds. However, the top 3 were dominated by African Countries: 1st Kenya, 2nd Ethiopia, 3rd Kenya.
Ps. I learned if I maintain my pace at 3:20 pace, I would easily smash the season-best and even have my Personal best. Not annoyed with my time; it’s a competition. I give my ultimate best, and that is the most important. Thank you for all your support, guys. Next, run Milo Marathon Finals in 2 months and 2 days in counting.
On the Trail of the Master: Pinoyathletics Interviews Rafael Poliquit
Pinoyathletics interviews The Master of Endurance. Rafael Poliquit. Hailing from Davao and one of the last great athletes of the late Rosito Andaya.
Poliquit was a UAAP Standout in 5000m and 10000m. His meteoric rise saw him become the 2014 and 2015 Milo Marathon Champion. However, in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
The Master collapsed, unable to finish the race, his dreams of SEA Games glory gone. Later that year, he was axed from the team. Despite this, he bears no ill will towards the PATAFA.
Although life has been tough for Poliquit, he has some hope of a comeback in 2018.
One of the great characteristics of the Sport. You can tell by sitting down with Rafael Poliquit that he lives and breathes the sport of road running, and you will struggle to find few truly as very passionate and emotional about what exactly it means to them.
PA: ok, man
PA: Question 1: Mr. Poliquit, what has the master been up to after he was no longer part of the national team?
PA: if u could go back and do it differently
I dont blame anybody i just want to share my side that being a marathoner is Not easy it is a long long course before you reach the finish line
A FEW DAYS LATER
PA: He is not a medal contender in 5k and 10k
PA: I mean, a guy like Agus Prayogo or the Vietnamese guy has a huge advantage
MASTER: But when he left Singapore and trained in the USA, he got a PB of 31.15
PA: in 2017 The Master ran 2h35.18 this was below the 2h37.10 bronze mark of the 2015 SEA Games. However they say the 711 run at beggining of the year wasnt sanctioned by the PATAFA.
MASTER: They don’t want to accept me as a legit common. I have more guts left.
Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021-
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
You can find more information on Coaching here