Dick Quax

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Dick Quax (1977)
Dick Quax
Medal record
Men's Athletics
Competitor for  New Zealand
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1976 Montreal 5000 metres
Commonwealth Games
Silver medal – second place 1970 Edinburgh 1500 metres

Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus "Dick" Quax (born 1 January 1948 in Alkmaar, Netherlands) is a New Zealand runner and former world record holder in the 5000 metres, and local-body politician. He stood for Parliament for the ACT Party in 1999 and 2002. He was a Manukau City councillor from 2001 to 2007, when he stood unsuccessfully for mayor, and has been an Auckland councillor since 2011.

Athletic career[edit]

At the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, Quax won the silver medal in the 1500 metres. In the 5000 m, at the 1972 Summer Olympics he was eliminated in the heats, but he won silver in 1976.[1] He did not compete in 1980 in Moscow due to the West's boycott.[1]

In 1977 at Stockholm he set a world record of 13:12.9 in the 5000 m. This record stood for less than a year, but as a national record it stood for over 31 years, until beaten by Adrian Blincoe in July 2008.[2]

Early in 1980 at Stanford Stadium Quax missed Jos Hermens' 15 km world record by five seconds, running a New Zealand national record of 43:01.7.

In his later career Quax switched his focus to the marathon, running 2:11.13 in his debut for 4th place at the Nike/OTC Marathon in 1979, at that time the fastest debut marathon in history. In 1980 he returned and won the race in a New Zealand record time of 2:10.47.

After retiring from competition, Quax established a career in sports management.

Personal bests[edit]

Distance Time Place Date
5000 m 13:12.87 Stockholm 1977
10000 m 27:41.95 NR London 1977


In October 2001 Quax was elected to the Manukau City Council for the Pakuranga ward and was re-elected in 2004 to represent the new Botany-Clevedon ward after a failed bid for the Manukau mayoralty. He is a member of the ACT Party, having stood as a list candidate in the 1999 and 2002 general elections.

On 13 October 2007 Quax lost his bid to become mayor of Manukau to Len Brown by 14,000 votes.[3] During this election, Quax complained to the electoral office over an "offensive flyer" depicting him and members of his People's Choice party as the Thunderbirds. His complaint was not upheld as there was no evidence to suggest who had posted the flyers.

Auckland Council
Years Ward Affiliation
2011–2013 Howick Citizens & Ratepayers
2013–present Howick Independent

Quax stood with Jami-Lee Ross for Citizens & Ratepayers in the 2010 Auckland Council elections. Quax missed out on a seat, losing to Ross by 253 votes. In 2011 Quax was elected to the council after a by-election was held in Howick due to Ross resigning after becoming a Member of Parliament.[4] He was reelected unopposed in 2013.

During the 2013 Len Brown mayoral scandal Quax took the opportunity for political payback against Mr Brown, leading the call for him to resign for not declaring hotel upgrades as gifts. It emerged that Quax had also not filed returns on the gifts he had received during the previous term.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Quax and his family arrived in New Zealand from the Netherlands during the 1950s, and according to an interview in the New Zealand Listener travelled on the same ship as former Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.[6]

It was revealed on 27 November 2013 that Quax had been undergoing treatment for throat cancer which had been diagnosed in September that year.[7]

Quax married three times, his third marriage being to Roxanne in August 1991.[8] Quax has three children,Tania, Jacob and Theo.[9]


Preceded by
Belgium Emiel Puttemans
Men's 5000m World Record Holder
5 July 1977 – 8 April 1978
Succeeded by
Kenya Henry Rono
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Belgium Emiel Puttemans
Men's 5.000m Best Year Performance
1976 — 1977
Succeeded by
Kenya Henry Rono