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.
He was a formidable runner, from 1500 metres to the marathon, Quax was one of the outstanding New Zealand and world athletes through the 1970’s.
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.
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 13:12.86 over 5000m. He combined with Kevin Ross, Tony Polhill and Richard Tayler for another world record, the four by one mile in 1972. He made his international debut at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh where he won the silver medal in the 1500m behind Kip Keino.
He arrived in 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. He was the New Zealand mile champion in 1969, the 5000m champion for three years from 1972 and the national road champion in 1982. Quax set a New Zealand 10,000m record of 27:41.95 in London in 1977 which has only recently been broken by 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.
Quax continued his involvement in the sport as a coach and promoter. He coached his son Theo, the 2017 national junior road and 1500m champion.
He has been an Auckland City councillor since 2011 and was recently made Patron of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics Association.