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NYC marathon champ dies while coaching
22 April 2017, 01:19 | Gladys Abbott
NYC marathon champ dies while coaching
Tom Fleming, a two-time victor of the New York City Marathon and iconic figure in American distance running, suffered a heart attack and died Wednesday evening while coaching Montclair Kimberley's track and field team at a meet in Verona.
Fleming died of an apparent heart attack at a track meet in Verona on Wednesday afternoon, the Montclair Kimberley Academy said. He had a pulse when he was taken to Mountainside Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Fleming's running career included wins in the 1973 and 1975 New York City Marathons, the second win in the last race before the event moved from Central Park to the five boroughs of New York City.
Newark Central coach Bruce Berry tells NJ.com Fleming collapsed after getting out of his vehicle.
"An integral part of our school's community, Tom had been at MKA for 18 years, most recently holding the position of fourth-grade teacher and the varsity boys and girls head coach in cross-country and track and field..."
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Fleming's 1975 NYC Marathon victory marked the past year the race was run entirely through Central Park. As a senior in 1973, Tom entered the Boston Marathon, and passed the defending Boston Champion Olavi Soumalaninen of Finland, to secure the runner-up spot with a time of 2:17:03. He raced a strong fifth place at the 1976 Olympic Marathon trials, and finished fourth at the famous Fukuoka Marathon in Japan in 1977 (then the unofficial World Marathon Championship).
Fleming lived in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and began his competitive distance running in his junior year at the town's high school. "When you race him, he will win, '" the Boston Athletic Association, the race organizer, said in a statement.
As news continues to spread, friends, colleagues, former athletes and fans of the sport have shared their thoughts and memories about Fleming, who was described as "a man of the sport" by his former high school coach Paul Williams.
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