Rey Antoque, the old warrior
SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - June 30, 2020 - 12:00am

While Jimmy De La Torre was the youngest runner to win the Milo Marathon, Rey Antoque was the oldest to triumph in the same race at age 35. Antoque, another Ilonggo from Sipalay Negros Occidental, did the trick when he ruled the Milo race on December 6, 1992 in 3:28:47.  When Jimmy De la Torre died, I temporarily disbanded the Nike Running Club for a year and started training the team for the 1991 PAL Marathon. My runners were not getting older so I needed fresh legs to continue our dominance.  Enter Roy Vence, Allan Ballester and  Danny Daniela.  But I also believed Antoque has still a few years left before he hangs up his Nike racing flats.  The year Jimmy died, Antoque clocked 2:24:06 to win the 1990  Pilipinas International Marathon. In 1994, the Nike team reinforced by Vence and Antoque won the PAL Marathon team title anew. But Antoque now 36 years old, went further. He upset Italian Guiseppe Veletti (28 years old) to win the over-all crown.  In 1995, the Italians fielded another world class runner  Lucio Danza, but Antoque refused to give up without a fight. As coach of Nike, I was monitoring Antoque’s position at every kilometer.  Then in the last two kilometers, I informed Antoque that Danza who was in the lead, was just 60 meters away and to give everything  he’s got.  Antoque overtook Danza in the last 200 meters before Rizal Park and sprinted to the finish line at the Quirino Grandstand and finally  breasted the tape in 2:28:02, before collapsing.  Antoque was unconscious and was rushed to the medical tent. When he recovered, he started jumping when I informed him, he was back-to-back champion.  In the last staging of the PAL Manila Marathon in 1997, I asked the aging 39-year old Antoque if  he could still carry the team now reinforced by Seoul Olympics veteran Hector Begeo and the come-backing Barcelona Olympian Herman Suizo.  Antoque said he is injured and is doubtful if he could finish 42 kilometers.  Being back-to-back champion, I told Antoque, the foreign runners, especially the All- European team, will focus on him.  So, I instructed Antoque to act as “rabbit” and stop running after 12 kilometers, this way, he will burn the competitors with the pace.  Antoque followed the game plan to perfection and the result was another crown.  But this was sweeter since we did it against a world-class team composed if Italians and Russians.  Antoque also won the 1995 Sijori (Singapore-Johor-Bharu Riad International Marathon) held in Johor, Malaysia, in 2:33:16.   I call Rey “Antoks” for “Kaka antok” but the running community calls him the Old Warrior.

Did you know?

ALICE COOPER a psychedelic rocker once pointed a loaded .38 revolver at Elvis Presley in 1971 and thought about pulling the trigger. Cooper said the “little devil” on his shoulder said to shoot the King for it will be a great story.  Cooper was at the Las Vegas Hilton kitchen after Elvis summoned him and wanted to demonstrate how to disarm a fellow with a gun. Elvis, a 7th dan karate black belt, quickly disarmed him and threw him on the floor. But Elvis didn’t want to mess with former world karate champion Mike Stone, who Elvis said had a relationship with his wife Pricilla that eventually led to their divorce in 1973. Elvis foster brother David Stanley said, Elvis was bad, but Mike Stone was lethal. If you don’t know Mike, he has been living in Panglao, Bohol for over 30 years now. I visited Mike in his farm in Bohol two years ago while Mike visited me at our Casa Ilongga restaurant where he sampled our Ilonggo specialties, the Lapaz Batchoy in particular.

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