A motivator for the ages


Coach Tom Hathaway left Perry Township with a lasting legacy which proves to have resonated over the years, according to ones he has inspired.

People he knew and worked with throughout his life were left with a collection of livening memories to keep them inspired even now.

Mr. Herman Bueno is now the SHS boys cross country coach and was coached by Hathaway.

“We saw him probably more than we saw our parents really,” Bueno said. “…He was motivating enough that we would do anything in a workout to not disappoint him.”.

Mrs. Kathy Casey, a student and lifelong friend of Hathaway was especially close with him and his wife.

My relationship with Mr. Hathaway was more than a coach. He was a dear friend, father figure, and beloved coach,” Casey said. “He was and still is one of the most influential people in my life, he is someone you just can’t shake.”

After running in the first inaugural Running South of SHS at the ripe age of 79 years old, Hathaway passed away later that year.

The director of this year’s event , Mr. Jason Wiesmann, didn’t know Hathaway personally but still knew of the impact he left on ones around him.

“Hathaway was a long time teacher and coach in Perry Township for over 40 years, and a lot of people looked up to him,” Wiesmann said. “He was a very influential man.”

 Hathaway devoted 46 years of his life to coaching cross country and track at Perry Township Schools, predominantly at SHS. Running over 100 marathons and a myriad of other races, he did so while simultaneously coaching children and adults all around Indianapolis.

He was a very humble man and probably sacrificed a lot of his own races to talk with others instead of fully preparing for his,” Casey said. “He was the god of distance running.”

After retiring from Perry Township, Hathaway continued on to help others train for numerous other races in the Indy area as well as continuing to coach at the University of Indianapolis.

Throughout his lifetime, Hathaway ran a marathon in every state across the U.S. His efforts in those marathons helped him to advance into the 50 States Marathon Club.

However, Hathaway’s legacy doesn’t stop there. Being such an influential character, those who knew Hathaway were compelled to commemorate him in some way. While doing so, his friends and loved ones managed to incorporate one of the most prominent aspects of his lifestyle into his tribute. Thus was born many aspects of Coach Hathaway’s Running South as it’s known today. Just some of the changes he inspired include the addition of a plaque underneath the flag pole in Perry Stadium in his honor and the actual route runners take while participating in the event. The route is the same one Hathaway used to run regularly.

Some like Casey and Bueno who had a close and personal relationship with Hathaway continue to keep aspects of their relationship and his legacy in their regular daily life.

I took his place when he retired at Indiana Central,” Casey said. “And when he passed I had a pin made in his likeness that all my kids wore.  The kids knew how much he meant to me and would be so upset if they did not have their pin for a race.”

Before his passing, Hathaway also had annual traditions established with several of his former athletes.

“Everybody on the three teams, ‘70, ‘71 and ‘75 kept thinking, ‘He’s not going to be with us forever.’” Bueno said. “So we had a dinner every year with him and his wife.”

Casey also had a tradition she kept with Hathaway and his wife.

“Every Christmas we had a running joke,” Casey said. “They gave me a box of chocolates and I gave them a big tin full of flavored popcorn.”

Casey says she and Mrs. Hathaway still keep up that tradition to this day.

Running South is an event open to ones of all ages which consists of a 10 kilometer race, a five kilometer race, a one mile run or walk, a quarter mile Kiddie Romp and a Health Fair.

Casey says she believes that since Wiesmann took over the race, more emphasis has been put on Hathaway and what a great person he was.  

It brings me strength to see his little face on the plaque and to tell him hello.” Casey said. She attended the event, but unfortunately Bueno was unable to due to a meet. With a number of athletes coached by Hathaway that continued on to Carmel, Noblesville, Warren, Brebeuf and many more, Hathaway’s influence carried on and still positively impacts others to this day. He lives on through his friends and loved ones who continue to uphold his legacy, leaving him with one which stretches all across Indiana and maybe even further.