Published On: Thu, Apr 11th, 2019

Philippine marathon king Rafael Poliquit dead at 30

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The country’s 2019 Southeast Asian Games marathon bet succumbs to a rare brain infection

Published 6:52 PM, April 11, 2019

Updated 7:02 PM, April 11, 2019

GONE TOO SOON. Rafael Poliquit ruled the national marathon for the third time just last December. File photo

GONE TOO SOON. Rafael Poliquit ruled the national marathon for the third time just last December. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Rafael Poliquit, the country’s marathon bet in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, died Thursday, April 11 at the age of 30.

National coach Julius Felicisimo Nierras Jr said Poliquit, who ruled the 42nd Milo Marathon National Finals just last December, had been confined since Friday at V. Luna due to subdural empyema, an infection which had been causing him headaches.

“He came from New Mexico to represent the Department of Defense in New Mexico some two weeks ago. He had been complaining of a migraine there and was attended to there,” said Nierras in a phone interview.

‘”When he won the Milo Marathon, he had been saying he had headaches,” added Nierras of the Tagum, Davao del Norte native.

Poliquit was admitted to V. Luna on Friday. But he did not recover to fulfill paperwork to be reinstated into the national pool as he had won the 2018 national marathon.

“On Monday, he should have been gotten a medical so he could return to the national team,” said Nierras.

Sonny Wagdoo, Poliquit’s buddy in the Air Force, said they’re preparing for the wake at St Peter’s Cubao before it gets transferred to Villamor Air Base.

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.”

Before ruling the national marathon last December, Poliquit also bagged back-to-back crowns in 2014 and 2015.

In the 2015 National Open, Poliquit stunned Buenavista in the 10,000 meters, following a race plan developed by Andaya: dividing the race into 4 parts and choosing when to surge so Buenavista’s deadly kick will be neutralized.

But in that year’s Southeast Asian Games, Poliquit misjudged the pace and did not finish while Buenavista wound up at 5th place.

Thus began 4 years in the wilderness where Poliquit left FEU and joined the Air Force. Until he won the 2018 Milo Marathon, Poliquit had been mostly written off.

But running a well-planned race, Poliquit won in 2:28.47, smashing his personal-best record of 2:32. And the fans of Master Endurance were hopeful he would finally end a long marathon drought in the SEA Games in home soil before fate intervened. –

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