Vertek
SPORTS EYE - Raffy T. Uytiepo (The Freeman) - January 22, 2019 - 12:00am

In my previous column, I mentioned of another marathon happening less than a month after the Cebu City Marathon.  Of course, running two marathons in two months is not advisable, the muscles have to recover.  The marathon organized by a convenience store chain offers half a million pesos to the runner who can break the Philippine record of 2:18:44 held by Rolando “Vertek” Buenavista. 

It has been 14 long years since Buenavista established the record in the Tokyo International Marathon.  I’ve been running for 36 years and I know that there’s nobody yet to replace Buenavista or even my protégé Herman Suizo who holds a 2:19:50 mark.  The best our runners could muster nowadays is 2:30. 

In the last Milo Marathon Finals for instance, the winner Rafael Poliquit, clocked 2:28:47 while in the Cebu City Marathon, the Kenyan champion Joseph Miruri timed 2:39:44 while the best local clocked 2:40:06. So, who could challenge Buenavista’s record.  I’m betting my balls (basketball balls ha?) if anyone can break Vertek’s record at this time.  My businessmen friends even offered to add another half a million to the record breaker.  But who is Vertek? Vertek is Eduardo Buenavista, the youngest boy in a brood of 13. 

He is originally from Lapaz, Iloilo City but migrated to Sto. Nino in South Cotabato.  Ernesto, Vertek’s father, said the gap between his son and that of his older brother was only 10 months.  “Daw indi kahulat, iya gusto mag-overtake”.  Thus, Ernesto nicknamed him Vertek. Just like the Kenyans, Vertek ran four kilometers each day from their home to school to attend elementary classes. Vertek holds the Philippine record for the 3K, 5K, 10K, 21K and the 42K full marathon and he’s only 4’11” and 46 kilos. 

During his senior year at Sto. Nino High, he won the 1,500 and 5,000 meter distances during the Palarong Pambansa-Junior Division.  In 1998, Vertek dominated the 3,000m steeplechase as well as the 5,000m run in the National Open. In the 1999 Sea Games in Brunei, he won the silver in the 3,000m and bronze in the 5,000m.  In the 2001 Sea Games in Malaysia, he posted a time of 8:40:19 in the 3,000m steeplechase that still stands to this day. In the 2003 Vietnam Sea Games, Vertek won the gold in the 10,000m and the silver in the 5,000m. 

Then came the historical run in the 2014 Tokyo International Marathon where he clocked 2:18:44.  The feat qualified Vertek to the 2004 Athens Olympics where he registered a 2:27 in the marathon.  So now you know who’s Vertek. I’m sure his national records will send chills to those who will attempt to shatter his marks. 

Again, as I mentioned the last time, the course must be certified by the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) and PATAFA to make sure “Dili kulang ang rota, di jud mo maka-overtake kay Vertek!”.  By the way, we have to clarify if foreigners are qualified for the incentive or is it only for Filipinos?

Did you know?

FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR. father of undefeated Floyd Jr. suffered a 10th round loss to a young Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978.  His brother Roger was also a boxer.  Floyd Sr. compiled a record of 28 wins, 6 loss and 1 draw with 17 knockouts.  Some of his victims included Jose Baret and Calvin Porter whom he stopped in eight rounds.  He was also the trainer of his son.

JIM THORPE was a star in basketball and football but it was his dominating showing in track and field at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics that made him famous. He won both the five-event pentathlon and 10- event decathlon.  Before the pentathlon event, Thorpe’s sneakers were stolen and he has to find a replacement from a garbage can and competed in a pair of mismatched shoes. At least “Dili torpe si Thorpe”.

MARATHON
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