Athletics: Kiwi Theo Quax joins dad Dick with sub-four-minute mile

Young Kiwi runner Theo Quax has emulated the impressive feat of father Dick, running a sub-four-minute mile on Sunday (NZ time). 

Theo achieved the feat for Northern Arizona University in the United States, crossing the line in second place with a time of 3m 58.13s at the 2020 Husky Classic in Seattle - a personal best by 15s. 

"It's my first time," said Quax. "We don't run a lot of miles in New Zealand, so I'm happy to finally get that."

Quax's personal best for the distance ranks him 11th in the US.

Theo is the youngest Kiwi to run the sub-four-minute mile, while he and his dad are the first New Zealand father-son duo - and 12th globally - to achieve the feat.

Next month will mark the 50th anniversary since Dick (born Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus) Quax ran his first sub-four-minute mile on March 18, 1970, with a time of 3m 57.8s in Auckland. 

He then set his personal best in Zurich, 1976, when he ran 3m 56.23s.

Sadly, Quax Snr, the former 5000m world recordholder, lost his battle with cancer in 2018, passing away at 70. 

Speaking to Newshub last year, Theo said he was determined to make his father proud.

"I find a lot of comfort in that I'm making him proud still," he said. "I knew I was going to have to pass the baton on to a new coach eventually." 

The fastest first sub-four-minute mile by a New Zealand athlete was run by Nick Willis on June 19, 2004 with a time of 3m 53.51s, while John Walker holds the national record at 3m 49.08s.

Quax's Northern Arizona teammate and fellow Kiwi Geordie Beamish ran under four minutes for the first time last week at the 11th NYRR Millrose Games in the United States, setting a new personal best indoors with 3m 56.90s.