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Lionel Fox

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We attribute this event to a very famous local Canterbury Christchurch runner - Lionel Fox. Lionel Ernest Fox (29 September 1912 – 1 April 1978) was a New Zealand long-distance athlete who represented NZ at the 1950 British Empire Games. 

 

Lionel won his first race when he had just joined his local harrier club in 1930. The following year at age 19, he represented the West Coast of the North Island at the National Cross-Country championships. In 1934 he transferred to Christchurch and made the Canterbury team for Nationals that year and for a further 6 years.
 

Between 1935 and 1956 Lionel managed to win 8 local A grade medals in the iconic Takahē to Akaroa relay but his proudest moment was representing New Zealand in the Empire Games in the Mens Marathon in 1950.

 

In 1949 Fox was one of the founders of the Olympic Harrier and Athletic Club in Christchurch. This club merged in 2011with the New Brighton Athletics Club and is now known as the New Brighton Olympic Athletic Club.

 

By 1970, Fox had completed at least 50 marathons and in the 10 starts at Nationals, he won twice, had one second placing, three third placings and a fourth and a fifth place.

 

His ending came the way he would have wanted it. He turned up to the season's first club run in 1978, and only managed a short distance before feeling unwell; he died shortly afterwards.