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MANILA, Philippines – Romeo Gido, the barrel-chested middle distance runner who was a member of the celebrated Bicol Express 4x400m national team, died Saturday night, March 9.
He was 57.
Gido, a retired Navy master sergeant, had been unconscious after he suffered a stroke on Tuesday night, March 5.
“We had just gotten some medicines and he said he was not feeling well,” said his wife Elena in a phone interview with Rappler.com.
“I said we have to go to the hospital. Then it worsened and we brought him to the hospital. He was still conscious.”
Gido was the second runner in the fabled 4x400m relay squad composed of Marlon Pagalilauan, Honesto Larce and the illustrious Isidro del Prado.
The quartet surpassed the then Asian Games record of 3:06.75 set by Japan with a 3:06.58 clocking in the 1985 Southeast Asian Games.
As Bicolanos Gido, Del Prado and Larce – all from Sorsogon – formed the team, sportswriters christened the relay squad the Bicol Express, a play on the region’s famous coconut-based dish. Bicol Express was also the name of the old PNR train line from Manila to the Bicol region.
Gido and Pagalilauan were the final pieces of that 4x400m team of which so much was expected had not the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution ended Marcos’ rule, and with it, the national sports program Project: Gintong Alay.
The 4×400 meter record is one a fistful of records from the Gintong Alay era which stands to this day.
“I have seen many national athletes. Gido is one of those who never complained,” said former national coach Buddy Ravello in a phone interview.
“He just worked and did his best. In that group, he was not a sprinter but he had good acceleration and a very good kick.”
Gido was a quiet man but with a smile that endeared him to many. He was one of the merriest of the national team and had quiet command that made him respected.
Pagalilauan, the first runner in the team, remembered how they trained hard in Baguio.
“We must to do fartlek runs, running at the John Hay golf course. It was very tough. Romy never complained even if he was throwing up,” said Pagalilauan in a separate interview.
Gido stood out in the 1983 national open when he finished 2nd in the 800m but coaches noted his fine run for Navy’s 4x400m relay team, and instantly, he was taken into the national team. – Rappler.com