“Anyone can become a champion through hard work, a consistent BIG effort, and having achievable dreams.”
Tom Fleming, legendary runner
Tom Fleming, widely admired as one of world’s best marathoners, recently passed away while doing one of the things he loved best: training young people and igniting their love of track and field. He was my good friend and mentor Mike Tully’s coaching colleague and a true inspiration to those lucky enough to know him.
Over his career, Tom won a host of marathons in New York, Cleveland, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. More than a sports legend, he was also an outstanding teacher and motivator. He was known for his passion for running — it fueled amazing his 100- to 150-mile-per-week training regimen; at times, he ran 200 miles a week while training for a race. Here are three quotes from Tom to inspire and encourage us:
“Most of the time, I don’t feel like running until I start running” — We all know the feeling: We should be writing, but we don’t feel like it. There’s a simple solution: Start writing and pretty soon, you’ll feel like writing and you’ll keep writing. Overcoming that initial inertia seems difficult, but once you put yourself in motion, that resistance melts away and you are off and running. Just as a runner puts one foot in front of the other, as writers, we need to put one word down and then another and another.
“Somewhere, someone in the world is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win” — A legendary quote from a legendary runner. It reminds us that pursuing our writing goals takes persistence and steady, relentless practice. If we want to achieve our writing goals, whatever they are, we need to stay hungry and focused. One way to do this is to think of other writers burning the midnight oil while we’re doing something else.
“If you want to become a better runner, you have to run more often. It is that easy” — I love this! If you want to be a runner, then run. If you want to be a writer, then write. Running has become a huge industry: There are running magazines, videos, a zillion different running shoes, different diets — you name it. The same holds true for writing. But in the end, it’s all about lacing up your running shoes and running — or putting your butt in the chair and writing. All too often, we make things so complicated — it gives us an excuse not to do what we need to do. But in the end, it’s all about constant and continuous practice, whether we want to run a marathon or improve our craft.
Wise words from a wonderful mentor — write on!