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The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

Teacher Becomes Triple-Marathoner

Mary Fleming’s Racing Goal Makes Impressive Record
Mary+Fleming+explains+her+journey+with+running.+Photo+by+Saer+Hollingsworth+
Mary Fleming explains her journey with running. Photo by Saer Hollingsworth

Berlin, New York, Chicago. Not only are they bustling hubs of activity and culture, but they are also the hosts of half of the Six Majors – some of the most prestigious marathons in the world. 

Mary Fleming, Civics, Economics, and AP U.S. Government teacher completed three of the Six Majors in six weeks.

“So, a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to run the six world majors,” Fleming said. “And so this year, I was accepted into Chicago, and I was able to get into Berlin as well.”

Despite the short notice and the intense training conditions of the summer, Fleming was presented with an opportunity that was too precious to pass up. 

“During the time that I got accepted into those I actually received the entry into the New York Marathon on behalf of teen TCS teachers, which is an organization that pays for 50 teachers around the United States to run the New York Marathon or Chicago marathon,” Fleming said. 

Once Fleming was informed this information she began to make a game plan to prepare her next couple of weeks as a runner.

“So this meant three marathons in six weeks. So I had to take advantage of it, because New York is extremely hard to get into, and it’s such a distinguished race. I’ve been training since June of this year. So I had to run it at like three and four o’clock in the morning during the summer just to beat the heat. My training program lasted about 16 weeks. And it was inclusive of about four days of running and two days of strength training. That’s a lot. It’s a whole lot.”

Long hours spent running and training was well worth it thanks to TSC Teachers, an organization that pays for 50 teachers from around the United States to run the New York or Chicago marathons. 

The experience was absolutely amazing. They treated teachers like we were VIPs. It was a big deal.

— Fleming

From medal engraving to massages, the teachers that were selected had access to anything that they might need prior to the race.

“They escorted us on a bus that had cops directing, what do you call it, well it’s kind of like a motorcade or whatever. And they personally escorted us through New York to the starting place. And then when we got to the start area, we were able to go into a heated tent, which is important because it was like 40 degrees in New York that morning,” she said. “I mean, they had a tent for specific teachers and TCS members to go in and there we had free food and just all kinds of VIP treatment. We got the opportunity to take pictures at our own setup, whereas other people had to do it further away and there were lines and everything. We were able to just walk up and do it.”

Running hasn’t always been Fleming’s athletic focus.

I’ve always been an athlete, I even played basketball for Central, but I didn’t necessarily love running,” she said.

Fleming started walking after her doctor suggested getting out and walking to combat her anxiety, and eventually, Fleming began her running journey.

“I joined an organization called Black Girls Run, and when I worked with Black Girls Run I did the Couch to 5k program and it’s been running ever since.” Fleming said, “It’s the way I manage stress, so I’ve been running for about 10 years.”

Apart from serving as an escape for Fleming, she has also found new forms of support through the sport. 

“This is by far the most supportive race I have ever done,” she said. “There were kids on the sides reaching to get high fives and just cheering me on. It’s the ‘Go teacher!’ that really keeps you going.”

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About the Contributors
Saer Hollingsworth, Reporter
I am a sophomore, and I am thrilled to be on Tiger News. I am looking forward to interviewing new people. Outside of school I enjoy reading and going to the movies with my mom. I hope I get to meet more people and have fun on the news staff.
Ava Kate White, Reporter
I am a sophomore and this is my first year as a member of Tiger News. This year I look forward to getting to know the school and student body better. Outside of Tiger News, I like to perform in musicals, hike, practice guitar, and find new musicians to listen to. I am very happy to be on staff and look forward to a great year!

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