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Nobby & Rich : I am not a big expert on the Dixon's although I know Rod (not well).
Regarding background to John, Yes ! He was an excellent athlete as a Junior and was also part of the 1975 Cross Country Team that won the Woirld Champs in 1975. He made other teams as well.
John was part of a group of Juniors who, and I say "probably", trained along Lydiard lines in the mid/late 1960's. The best being Rex Maddaford who of course went on to finish 9th in the 1968 Mexico Oly 5k (one of a few low altitude athletes to make that final).
Rod came along a little later but really did not run well until he ran a 4:07 mile as an 18 year old.
I know for a fact (from old friends in common)that Rod really "came of age" in terms of pushing his body to the limit when he ran an outstanding relay leg in the prestigious "Takehe to Akaroa" relay in 1969. I believe that it was about then that he got his act "together" and stated training consistently with his brother.
He made the 1971 NZ Cross Country Team and then made preparations for 1972 aimimg at making the NZ Team for Munich.
This is where John "sacrificed" his own "career aspirations" as in the NZ 1500m Champs of 1972 he acted as "rabbit" for his brother and ran awesomely well for 1200m to set Rod up for the run home. Rod and Tony Polhill were locked together for the enire last 100m. They both ran 3:41. Tony just getting the nod if I am correct.
I watched that race and it was held in foul weather conditions, pouring rain and quite windy. That morning I had taken Bill Baillie out for a 20 mile run and we remarked at how bad the weather was looking for later in the day and that hopes of qualifiers would be dashed. We got it wrong !!
2 weeks later John again paced Rod for 1200m at Mt Smart and Rod ran another 3:41 (soft track), he beat Tony but both ended up being selected for Munich and of course as History tells us both made the final with Rod 3rd.
I know Rod and John trained around the Hills of Nelson and after the race at Mt Smart John consulted Bill Baillie about moving to Auckland to Train. Bill said he felt they would be better off in the familiar surrounds of Nelson rather than come to Auckland. All the "support systems" (ie family etc)were down there. There were no such "systems" in Auckland. They took Bill's advice.
What actual training the guys did but I do know that the long Sunday run was very much part of the NZ running culture at the time. The Dixon's were very much part of that Culture.Also they trained on countryside very much like Jack Foster trained on although they ran on the raods more. But the hills were just as tough !.
As for meetings with Arthur I am not sure of detail but would say there was a strong likelyhood of them happening.
I am not familiar with John's best times but they will be realtively quick as he made those Cross country Teams when we were at our Strongest.
Hope this helps.
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