Above: Dick Quax with his son Theo who he coached to the 2017 NZ under 20 1500m title.
Former world 5000m record holder and Olympic Games silver medallist Dick Quax died on Monday 28 May 2018 aged 70 after suffering for some time with cancer.
A formidable runner over distances from 1500 metres to the marathon, Quax was one of the outstanding New Zealand and international athletes through the 1970’s.
Quax made his international debut at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh where he won the silver medal in the 1500m behind Kip Keino.
At the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games he was second to Lasse Viren in the 5000m and in Stockholm a year later set a world record of 13:12.87 over 5000m.
Quax set a New Zealand 10,000m record of 27:41.95 in London in 1977 which has only recently been broken by the first Zane and then Jake Robertson.
He switched to the marathon and in 1979 in Oregon ran the fastest debut over the distance of 2:11:13, and a year later he improved his time to 2:10:47.
In 1972, Quax combined with Kevin Ross, Tony Polhill and Richard Tayler for another world record, the four by one mile in 1972.
He was the New Zealand mile champion in 1969 and 5000m champion for three years from 1972. Late in his career he won the national Road Race championship in 1982.
He was admitted to the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and again in 2005 as a member of the New Zealand cross country team that won the world title in 1975.
Quax came to New Zealand with his family from the Netherlands in the 1950’s and settled in the Waikato. His interest in running developed while attending Hamilton Boys’ High School.
Quax continued his involvement in the sport as a coach and promoter. He coached his son Theo, the 2017 national Under 20 road and 1500m champion.
"Dick was a great of NZ Athletics and will be sorely missed. He will be remembered as a Commonwealth and Olympic Games medallist and one of only four NZers to hold a world record over an Olympic distance. His legacy goes so much further however, having inspired a generation of kiwis and coached and promoted the sport. Our thoughts are with Dick’s family at this difficult time," said Athletics NZ Chief Executive Hamish Grey.
He has been an Auckland City Councillor since 2011 and was recently made Patron of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics Association.