Dick Quax: Athletics Legend

Worked hard to reach world class

By Christchurch sports reporter, Paul Mulvaney

He was born on New Year’s Day 1948 and became world class middle distance runner.

Like many of the great athletes of his time, such as John Walker and Rod Dixon, they trained by sheer hard work by doing the hard yards under the watchful talents of coaches and mentors.

As another emerging Kiwi group of their era in black singlets they were dedicated, had courage, determination and passion.

In Dick Quax’s case he was confident with an unconquerable spirit; a spade was a spade; he was a fierce competitor.


A great athlete

Silver medal in the 5000m at the Olympics at Montreal

Despite the injuries he had considerable success.

Shin-splint injuries and stress fractures prevented him being in more competition.

I recall clearly how upset he was in 1974 when at the last minute of his preparation he was unable to run for New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.

New Zealand athletes ruled the roost; they were the rock stars of European Athletics and then the US road circuit.

They gave respect to their competitors and were treated with respect. They were drug-free of blood doping.

Among his considerable successes was in 1975 winning the annual IAAF World Cross Country title in Morocco.

The New Zealand Team included Dick Quax, John Walker and John Dixon (Rod’s brother).

This was an outstanding result and remains the only gold medal on this stage.

On a personal level I ran twice against him on the track when Dick lapped me.

At relays like the Wellington to Masterton and Takahe to Akaroa we ran for opposing teams.

Dick Quax was a Life Member of Auckland University Athletics club. There was plenty of competition: Lynndale, Owairaka and University were formidable during his time.

Moving on 

Because of his creative thinking and how sports boycotts of the time affected us plus his background in sports promotion; all these were catalysts to move into local body politics.

He once told the group that was what he intended to do. In his words ‘’When I unlace my running shoes……’’

Sadly Dick Quax passed on last week at the age of 70 after a long battle with cancer.

 Part of a great tradition of middle distance running

One of his idols: the great Peter Snell

From Jack Lovelock to Peter Snell and Murray Halberg; they were role models who were the inspiration for those that followed them.

Dick was inspired by the feats these world class stars.

This successful group continues to benefit people into the modern era since, like his talented son Theo Quax, Nick Willis, Hamish Carson and others.


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