Tom Fleming started running marathons as a teenager, including the inaugural New York City Marathon, in 1970, where he placed second in 2:35:44. The New Jersey native won the race in 1973, running 2:21:54 to top a strong field and win an around-the-world ticket from Olympic Airways. He won again in 1975, the last year the race was held entirely in Central Park, and his time of 2:19:27 remains the only sub-2:20 ever run on that course. He recorded his lifetime PR of 2:12:05 in 1975 in Boston, where he’d placed second in 1973 and 1974.
Fleming trained ferociously, logging up to 200 miles a week, inspired by the words he posted on his bedroom wall: Somewhere in the world there is someone training when you are not. When you race him, he will win. Always a fierce competitor, Fleming was nonetheless well-loved by his rivals for his conviviality and good humor.
After retiring from competition, he founded and coached The Running Room, an elite team that won national cross country championships in 1990–92, and later served as the longtime head coach of varsity cross country and track & field at Montclair Kimberley Academy in New Jersey. Fleming was a member of the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. He passed away April 19, 2017 at age 65.
|1970||New York City||2:35:44|
|1973||New York City Marathon||2:21:54|
|1975||New York City||2:19:27|