Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 New York Road Runner's Hall of Fame

On November 2nd, the New York Road Runner's Organization held their annual induction of elite runners to their Hall of Fame. Since my Coach, Joel Pasternack, was dear friends with Tom Flemming for 48 years, and Tom was being inducted, I was honored when my Coach asked me if I wanted to go. Of course Joel, I would love to go!

I knew Tom from when I was a little girl. My brother Chris ran track for Villanova, and I heard stories of how Tom kicked his but when they went out for a 10 mile run. Back then, I remember Tom was a sixth grade teacher at the local elementary school, where I attended. I remember thinking, 'Wow, that's Tom Fleming - he won the New York City Marathon. He's super fast!' I also remember my dad pushing my brother, "Why don't you call Tom and get a run in." I suspect the fact that Chris, as he put it, had to run a full out sprint to "tag" along on Tom's 10-mile easy run was why he was always a little reluctant to meet up with Tom.

It was a shock to hear when Tom died this past April. I had just run the Boston Marathon, and went with my local running club to see a documentary on the Boston Marathon. When I came out of the movie, I turned my phone on and saw a text from my brother. I immediately called Coach - who was in shock! We all were!

Now, several months later, I was so glad to hear that 
NYRR was going to honor Tom and induct him into the 
2017 NYRR Hall of Fame!

I have a few funny Tom stories - one that stands out in my head was when I came to the track with calf sleeves on. Coach Joel and Tom were kibitzing, Tom stopped, looked at my calf sleeves and said, "What are those." I explained that I just saw Meb run in Chicago (I had run the Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon) and saw that Meb was wearing calf sleeves - so I thought I'd try them out. Tom said, in his very dry tone, "Meb gets paid to wear calf sleeves - that's why he was wearing them!" I was so deflated, but knew - that was Tom - he always kept it real when it came to running. In fact he is famous for a few expressions, one being - if you want to be a better runner, run more!

I absolutely love Meb. I have his book, Meb for Mortals - and even an Eliptigo because I saw how much it helped Meb when he was injured. Recently, I tweeted back to one of his tweets:
- and you can imagine how happy I was when he liked it! That was so cool! What's even cooler was that I saw Meb at the 2017 NYRR Hall of Fame induction. He received the Abebe Bakila award. He was kind enough to take a photo with me!
Meb was presented with this award by Deena Kastor. She had some beautiful words before presenting Meb with this very prestigious award. Deena was also kind, and snapped a pic with Coach and me.
Deena Kastor holds the American Female Record for Fastest Marathon
Coach brought a poster with famous runners - and the elites at this induction would come up to Joel - to see if they were on the board - of course they were! They were honored to sign their names. It was amazing to watch!
Here is Bill Rogers signing Coach's Poster!
And so did 2017 NYRR Hall of Fame Inductee Orlando Pizzolato

Orlando won the NY City Marathon in 1984 and 1985
with a time of 2:11:34 in 1985!
As did Paula Radcliffe! OMG!
Paula Radcliffe! WOW!
Love this pic!
She's a SouthPaw!

Paula Radcliffe holds the Female World Record for the
Fastest Marathon 2:15:25!
Paula introduced Lorna Kiplagat, who was also inducted into the 2017 NYRR Hall of Fame. Lorna also graciously indulged Joel in a poster signing and both of us with a picture

Lornah's Community Outreach and Support for
Runner's Worldwide is truly inspiring!

Lornah Kiplagat is the founder of the African inspired Sports brand for active women called "Lornah " She is also the founder of the famous High Altitude Training Center (HATC) in Iten Kenya, where athletes from all over the World go

But here are two of my favorite photos of the day
Love how Coach is listening to Ryan Hall
This is my other favorite picture - it's of Meb's Dad. He was wiping his eye's and pumping his fist in the air - he is so proud of his son. Meb, we are so proud of you, too!

It was beautiful to watch how proud Meb's family is!
Ryan Hall was also kind and took some time for a Joel/Beth photo!

Ryan Hall holds the American Male Record for
Fastest Marathon: 2:04:58
Tom's daughter Margot received the award on Tom's behalf. She prepared a beautiful speech sprinkled with her Dad's dry sense of humor. I cried when she cried - and Coach was trying hard to hold it together. 

Tom won the NY City Marathon twice, in 1974 and 1975
His best Marathon time is 2:12:05
Congratulations Tom on your induction into the 
2017 New York Road Runner's Hall of Fame!

You will be missed, but your spirit remains strong, 
as will your love for running!
Train Smart!
Run to Inspire!
Run Fearless!
Run for Peace!
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