Tom Fleming (athlete)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tom Fleming (Thomas J. Fleming) (July 23, 1951 – April 19, 2017) was an American distance runner who won the 1973 and 1975 New York City Marathon.[1] He was also a two time runner-up in the Boston Marathon in 1973 and 1974 and finished six times in the top ten in the BAA marathon. Fleming was the winner of the Cleveland, Toronto, Los Angeles, Jersey Shore (3 times) and Washington DC marathons in the 1970s. He set a personal best of 2:12:05 in the Boston Marathon 1975, and was renowned for running 110 to 150 miles per week to train for road racing.[2] He was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal in 1977.

He was quoted as saying "Somewhere, someone in the world is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win."[1]

Running career[edit]

Fleming was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. He grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey and began his life-long interest in running as a student at Bloomfield High School.[3]

A longtime resident of Bloomfield,[4] he was the coach and founder of the three-time USA National Cross Country Champions Nike Running Room in Bloomfield (1990, 1991, 1992).

For 12 years, Fleming was the meet director for the Sunset Classic 5 mile road race in his hometown of Bloomfield. This race raises money for special needs children in the Bloomfield Public Schools.[5] The race was renamed in his memory in 2017 as the Tom Fleming Sunset Classic.[6]

Fleming was a teacher and head coach of the varsity cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field teams at the Montclair Kimberley Academy. On April 19, 2017 Fleming died from a heart attack while coaching a track meet. He was 65.[7][8]

In May 2013, Fleming was inducted into the American RRCA Distance Running Hall of Fame, and in July 2014, into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, New York. In November 2017, Fleming was one of five people inducted by the New York Road Runners into its Hall of Fame.[3]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the  United States
1973 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 2nd Marathon 2:17:46
New York City Marathon New York, United States 1st Marathon 2:21:54
1974 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 2nd Marathon 2:14:26 [9]
1975 New York City Marathon New York, United States 1st Marathon 2:19:27
1978 Cleveland Marathon Cleveland, United States 1st Marathon 2:15:02 [10]
1981 Los Angeles Marathon Los Angeles, United States 1st Marathon 2:13:14


  1. ^ a b "10K Truth". 10K Truth. 2005-10-28. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Jongsma, Joshua. "New Jersey native Tom Fleming inducted into NY Road Runners Hall of Fame", The Record (Bergen County), November 2, 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017. "Days before his favorite marathon, longtime Montclair Kimberley Academy coach Tom Fleming joined a prestigious group of running icons. The Bloomfield and Glen Ridge native, a two-time New York Marathon champion, was posthumously inducted into the New York Road Runners Hall of Fame during a ceremony Thursday at the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion in Central Park.... Fleming, born in Long Branch and raised in Bloomfield, attended Bloomfield High School, where he began competitive running."
  4. ^ Stewart, Phil. "Running Times' 1979 Boston Marathon Coverage", Running Times, July 1979. Accessed October 8, 2017. "The frontrunner this year (as last year) was twice-runnerup Tom Fleming of Bloomfield, NJ, whose race strategy was simple: "I just figured to run as fast as I could for as long as I could, and see if they could catch me." For the first half of the race, nobody even tried."
  5. ^ Sunset Classic Archived June 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Jongsma, Joshua. "Bloomfield Sunset Classic renamed for Tom Fleming", The Record (Bergen County), June 30, 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017. "The sun hasn’t set on remembrances for Tom Fleming, an iconic track coach in Essex County.The latest came at the annual Sunset Classic in Bloomfield on Thursday night, renamed after Fleming this year. The Tom Fleming Sunset Classic included a kids run, a 1-mile and a 5-mile race that started on Foley Field."
  7. ^ 2-time NYC marathon champ dies coaching middle school meet
  8. ^ Longman, Jeré (2017-04-21). "Tom Fleming, 65, New York City Marathon Winner, Dies". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  9. ^ "World Marathon Rankings for 1974". Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  10. ^ "Cleveland Marathon - Cleveland OH/USA website". 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-08-31.