Michael P. Fleming Has Extra Motivation to Run Next Marathon

When he ran marathons in the past, it was the personal challenge of getting into condition and completing the race which motivated Michael P. Fleming. However, when he runs in the 45th Marine Corps Marathon next October in our nation’s capital, he will have a little extra motivation this time.

Michael plans to run the October 25, 2020 race as a tribute to his son, a recent South Texas College of Law graduate who will report to Officer Candidates School in January and start training to become a Marine Corps JAG officer.

“I know what he’s going to be going through,” Michael said of his son, who will face a rigorous physical fitness program at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. “So, I’m going to run the Marine Corps Marathon in October, and I’m also going to do the half-marathon in May.”

‘I Don’t Look Like a Marathon Runner’

Running a marathon is actually nothing new for Michael. He ran his first one more than two decades ago in Dublin, Ireland.

“I always wanted to train and meet the challenge of running a marathon, but I had never run more than five or six miles before in a race,” he says. “I wanted to pick a marathon and make arrangements that I knew I couldn’t back out of. So, I chose Dublin, and we took our entire family.”

Michael has gone on to complete seven more marathons in the years since, including two more races in Ireland and a race in Ottawa that he finished in just under 4 hours and 15 minutes – his personal record to date.

“I don’t look like a marathon runner because I generally do them to get into better shape through the training,” he says, laughing. “Mainly, anytime I do this, my main goals are to finish my training without any injury and finish the marathon.”

Training Starts for ‘Marathon of the Monuments’

As he gets soaked in sweat, Michael can also soak in the scenery when he competes in marathons – and few races can match what he will see on the Marine Corps Marathon course. It has been nicknamed the “Marathon of the Monuments” for a reason.

The course starts in Arlington, Virginia – not far from where Michael’s son will be in officer training – and goes through the District of Columbia, including the National Mall and Georgetown. As he runs the course, Michael will also pass the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery before he finishes by making an uphill climb to the Marine Corps War Memorial.

To prepare for the 26.2-mile course, Michael began his training in mid-November. He plans to follow the same program that he has used in the past. It involves running medium distances Monday through Thursday, with Friday being the only day he takes off. On Saturdays, he runs a short distance. Sundays are for long runs.

“Every two weeks, on Sunday, you increase your long run by two miles, and you time it so that when you are three weeks out from the marathon, you do a 20-mile run,” Michael explains. “If you can do a 20-mile run, and you’ve done all of those other runs leading up to that, then you are probably going to finish the marathon.”

“It’s not a training program to get a super-fast time, but if you can do at least a 20-mile run, then you should be able to push through those last six,” he adds.

To check his training progress, Michael plans to run in the Marine Corps “Historic Half” marathon on May 17, 2020 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

“It will be a special challenge to complete both of them,” he said.

Who knows? Maybe a young officer-in-training will join him.

“After he goes to OCS, he goes through basic training, so we won’t know where he’s going to be at that time,” Michael says. “But if he’s free, I hope he can do it with me.”