MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Tom Fleming, the New York City Marathon winner in 1973 and 1975 and twice a Boston Marathon runner-up, has died. He was 65.
Fleming died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack while coaching a middle school team at a meet in Verona, New Jersey, the Montclair Kimberley Academy said in a statement Thursday. He was the school’s varsity cross-country and track and field coach and recently taught fourth grade.
Newark Central coach Bruce Berry told NJ.com that Fleming said he felt ill but was still “laughing and joking.” Fleming collapsed after getting out of his car, Berry said. He said Fleming was given CPR for more than 20 minutes and had a pulse when taken to a hospital.
Fleming’s 1975 NYC Marathon victory marked the last year the race was run entirely through Central Park. It expanded to the five boroughs the next year because of the growing number of runners.
New York Road Runners, organizer of the city’s 26.2-mile event, called Fleming an “iconic figure” in the race’s history.
Fleming also won marathons in Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles and Toronto. He placed fifth at the 1976 Olympic marathon trials. He finished second at the Boston Marathon in 1973 and 1974 and six times was in the top 10.
“He was known for his working-class disposition and his quotable remarks, among which he said: ‘Somewhere, someone in the world is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win,’” the Boston Athletic Association, the race organizer, said in a statement.
— Associated Press