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.
Rafael Poliquit dies
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 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)
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.
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.
Master Endurance Poliquit, Incheon Half Marathon
Oct 4, 2016
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 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
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
PA: Question 1 : Mr Poliquit, what has the master been upto 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
PA: He is not really medal contender in 5k and 10k
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: 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 dont want to accept me as legit comon. I have more guts left.