Rodney ("Rod") Phillip Dixon (born July 13, 1950 in Nelson, New Zealand) is a former New Zealand middle distance runner. He won the bronze medal over 1500 metres at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and in 1983 won the prestigious New York City Marathon.
Dixon, along with John Walker and Dick Quax, was one of a trio of world-class middle distance runners from New Zealand in the 1970s. He was the first of the three to taste Olympic success with his bronze medal in 1972, but was then somewhat overshadowed by the other two over the next few years, particularly by his good friend Walker. Nevertheless, he posted impressive 1,500 meter (3:33.9) and mile (3:53.6) times during the 1970s and Track & Field News magazine ranked Dixon first in the world in the 5,000 meters in 1975.
Dixon placed fourth in 2 of the epic track races of the 1970s. In the 1500 metres at 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch he was fourth behind the new World Record set by Filbert Bayi (3:32.2), John Walker whose time of 3:32.5 also broke the previous world record, and Ben Jipcho (3:33.2) who became the fourth fastest of all-time. Dixon's time of 3:33.9 had only ever been beaten once prior to the race. In the 5000 metres at the 1976 Montreal Olympics Dixon was beaten by four-time Olympic Champion Lasse Virén, team-mate Quax and Klaus-Peter Hildenbrand whose last second dive/fall denied Dixon a second Olympic Bronze medal.
Ultimately, however, Rod Dixon was regarded as especially outstanding for the length and versatility of his career as a top-flight runner. He set world class times in all events from 1500 m (3:33.9) to the marathon (2:08:59), won bronze medals in the World Cross Country Championships in 1973 and 1982, and was one of the more successful athletes on the US road racing circuit in the early 80s, including wins at the Falmouth Road Race (1980), Bay to Breakers (1982 & 1983) and the Lynchburg, Virginia 10 miler (1981 & 1983). His gradual move to longer distances was climaxed by his 1983 marathon victory in New York City in one of the most dramatic finishes the event has seen, when he came from behind to catch leader Geoff Smith at the 26 mile mark and won by 9 seconds.
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