CEBU’s running community is mourning the untimely death of marathon champion and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games bet Rafael Poliquit Jr. of Tagum City.
Poliquit, a three-time Milo Marathon national champion and an Airman 2nd Class, died on Thursday, April 11, at 2:21 p.m. due to complications from subdural emphysema, stunning the country’s running scene. He was 30 years old.
Poliquit had been confined since last Friday.
Runner and triathlete Jezerel Baguio, one of Poliquit’s close friends in Cebu, recalled the goodness and generosity of the latter in helping out fellow runners in their training programs.
“He helped us with our programs and always motivated us so we would have a chance to be faster. He was not selfish; he wanted us to become stronger runners,” Baguio told SunStar Cebu in Cebuano.
Baguio and rising runner Jonel Emia were assisted by Poliquit in their training programs.
“You are the reason that I achieved a good PR (personal record) in marathon. Thank you for everything, buddy. I will never forget you,” Emia wrote in a social media post.
The six-time reigning Milo Marathon queen Mary Joy Tabal, who spent time with Poliquit in a couple of international events, also paid tribute to Poliquit.
Tabal is supposed to be with Poliquit in representing the country in the 30th SEA Games on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in the Philippines.
“Let’s bring this smile in heaven, Pol (Poliquit). Continue to run your eternal marathon. You will always be my marathon king, our marathon king. You will be in our hearts. Rest in peace, master endurance,” Tabal captioned the photo of her and Poliquit.
One of Cebu’s current top runners Prince Joey Lee also recalled when Poliquit spent time with Cebuano runners on his recent visit two months ago.
“We had a fun moment when you came here in the SM2SM Run,” said Lee, referring to the SM2SM 2019, where Poliquit won the men’s gold medal in the 21-kilometer race.
Baguio said when Poliquit won the P60,000 cash prize in the SM2SM Run, he treated his friends and only netted P36,000.
“He had big dreams. He even told me that he was saving money because he wanted to retire two years from now and start a business. It was really sad that he passed away and it’s very painful for us. He was at the peak of his career,” Baguio said. (RSC)