Rafael Poliquit The Master

Rafael Poliquit

I have decided to compose all my articles to 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 from 2017.

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Rafael Poliquit dies

Rafael Poliquit The Master 3

Tragically Philippine Sports has lost one of its greats.

Triple Milo Marathon King Rafael Poliquit popularly known as Master Endurance. Passed away from subdural empyema.

Poliquit passed away on Thursday afternoon after being in a coma for the past 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.”

Rafael Poliquit The Master 4

Meeting Rafael Poliquit

I first met Rafael back in 2013, when he joined our Run For Change Team Managed by Eric Pasion. I had seen the guys results at UAAP and he was very impressive and upcoming over 5,000 and 10,000 meters. In fact, 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 actually beat Future 2015, 2017 SEA Games Marathon Champion Soh Rui Yong in that race).

I took an instant liking to the humble and very positive attitude of Poliquit. And he was extremely well mannered. At that time Rafael was being coached by Rosito Andaya. A man who a lot misunderstood but none the less Rafael had the utmost respect of his coach. 

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 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 really 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 was telling me about his struggles and how he had got to where he was today because of his very strong faith. It was there I really 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 that they to also can Master Endurance. We spent honestly a few hours talking on that bus and it was the first many very interesting 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 extremely strong willpower. When he said he was going to do something he gave it everything. And even though he failed many times and went through a lot of 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 positively inspire others to be the best they could be.

Rafael Poliquit
Photo Credit : https://www.runsohfast.com

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 earnt him a nomination for the 2014 SEA Games. I sat in the panel with the coaches and PATAFA management to decide 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 Poliquit over Panique with a huge majority.


SEA Games Disappointment

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 considerably slower. Soh Rui Yong came in first around 2h35. But 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 Poliquit.


Champion Again

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. I heard while I was in the province that Rafael Poliquit had been removed after losing his Milo title in 2016. The removal sent 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 Poliquit contacted SEA Games Champion Soh Rui Yong.

[EMBED]https://youtu.be/0gxVK4njU9o[/EMBED]

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 coaching help really helped Rafa get back on track. In several FB Conversations, he told me of his utmost respect for his good friend Soh and utmost belief Soh would get him back on track.

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.  Poliquit was even prepared to put aside 200,000 pesos of his own winning to train in America for the SEA Games if no one would sponsor him.

It is so sad to see that Poliquit who was in the best shape of his life, could in a short time pass away so quickly before his 30th Birthday. And it shows us how precious and delicate life really is.  You were a class act and a Bloody Legend Rafa. I know that no writeup will ever express how much you meant to the History of Philippine Track and Field. RIP Master Endurance until we meet again.


Sources:

  • https://www.spin.ph/athletics/death-of-champion-marathoner-rafael-poliquit-30-stuns-ph-athletics-a795-20190411
  • https://www.manilatimes.net/marathon-king-poliquit-dies/538821/
  • 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
    Poliquit
    Poliquit

    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 Champion made it number 3 timing 2:28.47. Poliquit who speaks passionately about the sports he loves, despite all the obstacles he has faced. 

    Poliquit knew popularly as ‘Master Endurance’ said he just wants to inspire others to run. The self-coached Poliquit who beat athletes trained by PATAFA national coaches here.

    Thanked his friend 2x SEA Games gold medalist Soh Rui Yong of Singapore for collaboration of 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.”

    Poliquit who now qualifies for his second SEA Games, after collapsing from dehydration in Singapore in 2015.

    Poliquit finished behind Kenyans David Kipsang (2:20.29), Stephen Mugambi (2:22.20) and Joackim Kemboi (2:27.45)

    SEA Landscape

    Rafael Poliquit The Master 5
    ATHLETICS – Team Singapore’s Soh Rui Yong won Gold followed by Agus Prayogo (INA) with Silver and Muhaizar Mohamad (MAS) with Bronze at 29th SEA Games Men’s Marathon Finals at Putrajaya, Malaysia on 19 Aug 2017 (Photo by Dyan Tjhia / SportSG)

    Poliquit time ranks him 6th in South East Asia for the year 2018, which is nearly wrapped up. Thai-Kiwi Tony Payne ranks first with his southeast Asian Record of 2:16.56. Payne who is 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.

    Poliquit 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.Rafael Poliquit The Master 6

    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 members of the national team.

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    https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/227908/joy-tabal-remembers-marathoner-rafael-poliquit-he-was-a-fighter?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1554998388

Joy Tabal remembers marathoner Rafael Poliquit: ‘He was a fighter’

Master Endurance Poliquit, Incheon Half Marathon

Oct 4, 2016

Master Endurance Poliquit
Coach Rene Herrera with Rafael Poliquit

Milo Marathon double champion Rafael ‘Master Endurance’ Poliquit, participated at the Incheon Standard Marathon. In the Half Marathon distance 21k.

Poliquit is also the first Filipino to wear the Brooks Hyperion shoe.

From FB:

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 closed in the lead pack, the pace was too fast as they start injecting the pace around 3:05mins per km after 2km mark I found myself fading passed 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 my self again alone in 17km Matty Davy caught me who seriously keeping his own pace around 3:19-3:20/km even I felt empty in my tank I knew I could handle the pace of 3:20 until finish line then I made a move I closed to Matt behind that moment in 17km mark I knew I will smash my SB 1:11:08 held in Condura if I will just 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 1:10:48 seconds. However top 3 was dominated by African Country: 1st Kenya, 2nd Ethiopia, 3rd Kenya.


Ps.I learned if I just maintain my pace at 3:20 pace I would easily smash the season-best and
even have Personal best. I am not annoyed with my time it’s a competition I just give my ultimate best and that is the most important. Thank you to all our support guys. Next, run Milo Marathon Finals 2 months and 2 days in counting.


On the Trail of the Master: Pinoyathletics Interviews Rafael Poliquit

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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 bares no ill will towards the PATAFA

Although life has been tough for Poliquit he has some hope of a come back in 2018. 

One of the great characters 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

 
lets start
interview with Rafael Poliquit former double milo marathon champion
u can answer in Taglog or English whatever ur comfortable with
 
 
Master: Tagalog
 
 

PA: Question 1 : Mr Poliquit, what has the master been upto after he was no longer part of the national team?

 
 
Master:  Sa ngayun nahihirapan akong e manage ang training ko dahil sa nature ng work ko bilang isang membro ng Philippine Air Force, ang pagtetraining kasi ng 42.195km (Marathon) ay napakabigat kung gustohin koman manalo at makapag laro sa SEA games 2019 sa tingin ko 20% lang ang chance yan tlaga ang aim ko this moment since matagal ng hindi nakapag medal ang Pilipinas sa Marathon sa tingin ko naman may ibubuga pa ako sa Marathon wrong timing lang tlaga ako sa mga training program nung napasok ako Sa national team 2014 tinanggal nila ako bago palang ako nun walang isang taon tinanggal nila ako hindi kopa na addopt ang bagong style ng training, 2015 nakabalik ako sa National team bago na naman ang coach ko bagong program na naman so yung style sa training panibago na naman nag sisimula na naman akong nag adopt nun tapos low performance na naman everytime na ma out ako sa time bumabalik na naman ang strenght ko, mahalaga talaga ang consistency ang marathon training hindi nakukuha sa isang taon yan lalo pat bago ang training program iba ang marathon pag sinabi mo tlagang pang intrrnational level ang daming demand most specially yung time. Kaya sa oras ako nahihirapan ngayun lalo pat nasa service ako ng Ating Bansa.
 
 
PA: So the Fans can hope to see the Master back in Marathons come 2018?
 
MASTER: 50/50 minsan naiisip ko mag resign nalang sa work ko para mag focus sa Marathon for 2019
 
 

PA: 

ok, my next question is this
2) we saw the rapid rise of the master in the 2 marathons leading into the 2015 SEA Games. But things did not go so well in the 2015 SEA Games with a DNF. Can you share with us all what happened and what you learnt from this.
 
MASTER: For 2015 there is two reason Electrolytes Anomaly and heat exhaustion.
 

PA: if u could go back and do it differently

would u and what would u have done instead
 
MASTER: If course most will land to medal that’s my ultimate goal
 
PA: 3) recently pinoyathletics.info added the late Rosito Andaya to the legends of track and field. Andaya through the years produced many great athletes among them Jimmy Dela Torre and Hermann Suizo former sea games champion. To you how much does it mean being one of the last athletes to be mentored by Andaya? and what did you learn from him as your coach?
 

MASTER: 

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
Buddy lets contenue next time i have work pa 
PA: Ok sure thanks 
Rafael Poliquit The Master 9
 
 
A FEW DAYS LATER
 
 
PA: 3) recently pinoyathletics.info added the late Rosito Andaya to the legends of track and field. Andaya through the years produced many great athletes among them Jimmy Dela Torre and Hermann Suizo former sea games champion. To you how much does it mean being one of the last athletes to be mentored by Andaya? and what did you learn from him as your coach?
 
Rafael Poliquit The Master 10
MASTER: Coach Andaya idls a legendary in athletic coaching I don’t see any Filipino could replace on him with regards of coaching in Athletics He produce a lot if champions He knows how to chose an ideal athelete. Lahat halos ng recruited nya ay naging malakas sa athletics maliban naoang dun sa mga quitter. Coach Andaya mold me so much before kami magkahiwalay marami akong technique na nakuha sa kanya meron syang style na wala ang iba kakaiba syang coach a brilliant coach ika nga. Isa sa hindi ko makakalimutan na paulit ulit nyang sinasabi ay ang “principle of adaptation” ito ang pinaka base nya sa training, if you will handle the rigid training if you will not adopt on it you will be left behind and eliminated..
 

PA: 

On a side note i believe Andaya taught you surge tactics
in mid race
as he kind of knew u lacked speed
so he applied pace tactics
 
MASTER: Yes exactly
Have you heard about soh rui yong?
 
PA: What about him
MASTER: He is not good in speed. Rather his good in pace.
 

PA: He is not really medal contender in 5k and 10k

 
at sea games level
 
MASTER: Before he is just 32.26
 
PA: i mean a guy like Agus Prayogo or the vietnamese ugy have a huge advantage

 

MASTER: But when he lefted singapore and train to usa he got a PB of 31.15

PA:

yeah but still 31.15 is not a 29
like Prayogo
 
MASTER: But they are just beaten by rui
 

PA: 

so i get what u say he lacks speed
race tactics
 

MASTER: 

Yes
I can do 31
Because i got a pb of 32.02
Close to 31
Somthing
Only train in ultra
By that time
 

PA: 

next we ask.

 

What are ur plans for 2018?
 

MASTER: 

Im thingking to resign my job
To focus marathon
But i dont any support when i left my job
Thats my mean problem
 

PA: 

its a struggle because when ur in the AFP if ur not national team there is little time to train right???
in AFP what sort of duties do u have right now

MASTER: 

Oh very big
I handle 600+ cadet Soldier
As instructor
PA: 
 
are u an officer
oh ok
an instructor
MASTER:  Airman second class or A2C
PA: ok so how much training or km are u getting in a week right now?

MASTER: 

I just run once a day for about 40t0 1hour

 

I did not even manage to jot down the mileage
Yup
Most prob 60km a week
Before 200km a week
Or 210km
PA: so is there a chance we could see the master back to try and reclaim his title in 2018

MASTER: 

50/50
I am waiting for my order bound to villamor fir my training for the upcoming national opebln and AFP olympics thats my time to train well
I hope it will release like early feb so that i couod do a 42km milo elimination on July 2018
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 should have me back

PA: 

But bearing this in mind regardless. The Master was still the fastest man in 2017

 

in the Philippines for the whole year.
The Milo Marathon was only won in a rather slow 2h39

MASTER: They dont want to accept me as legit comon.  I have more guts left. 

Before i will fade in my age
I am just 28 years old 
PA: if the PATAFA had sent u t sea games 2017 how do u think u would have fared
MASTER: MY PB IS 2.32.26. For me if i given a chance i will go for a medal

PA: 

u mentioned national open which will be held in Ilagan in 2018 in April
would u be looking at the 10k ?
MASTER: Just part of training for my 42km in July (NCR Leg Milo Marathon Qualifer)

PA: 

ok

 

back to Milo Marathon
a win for a fellow Davao ahlete (Jheorge Andrade) what can u say 
MASTER: He deserve that no comment even me got a suprized to him
 

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