New Jersey running legend Tom Fleming collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack while coaching his Montclair Kimberley Academy team at a meet Wednesday in Verona. He was 65.
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. He also finished second twice in the Boston Marathon, won the Jersey Shore Marathon three times and won in Cleveland, Washington D.C., Toronto and Los Angeles during a terrific running career that led to him being inducted into the Road Runners Club of America Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2013 and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, N.Y., the following year.
Fleming, a longtime resident of Bloomfield, N.J., began his running career as a junior at Bloomfield High School, graduating in 1969 after finishing second in the Group 4 state two-mile run. He then was a four-time NCAA College Division All-American while at William Paterson, graduating in 1973, winning the conference championship in cross-country all four years.
But it was in the grueling 26-mile, 385-yard marathon that Fleming earned his greatest success.
In a release sent out Wednesday, headmaster Tom Nammack called Fleming “an extraordinary teacher, mentor, coach and colleague.”
On its website, MKA announced Wednesday night: “Due to the loss of a beloved member of our faculty, Tom Fleming, the Middle School will not be in session for students tomorrow, Thursday, April 20.”