Tom Clifford

aka “Father Tom”

The Low-Down on Tom Clifford

Always interested in teaching people how to be fit and work hard, Tom started as a personal trainer in a small, local gym. He’s always given 110% (and then some), and credits his work ethic and outlook to God and his family—mom, dad, brother and sister—who all taught him that to achieve your goals, you’ve got to give it everything you have. As a competitive athlete in college and beyond, he knew how important group training was for motivation. He began developing structured running programs and leading a variety of running practices all around town.  Tom’s faith is at the forefront of his career and family.

What He Coaches:

Running, Triathlon, Cycling, Level 3 Athletes

Guilty Pleasures:

Cold Stone, Cookie Dough, Beer. (Shall I continue?)

Top Songs on his Playlist:

Known as a music junkie, Tom says that if it makes him feel good, he loves it. One minute you’ll find him blaring some 80s metal, next he’ll be bouncing to some 50s Do Op. He’s got Tom Petty, Metallica, Heart Breakers, and Mumford and Sons on his diverse playlist. When asked about Kesha, he grinned and said “Maybe.”

Qualities Tom Admires In His Students

Tom‘s so impressed by people who work hard and have a knack for listening: “There’s nothing better than seeing an athlete you’ve coached really believe in their potential.”

Defining Moment In Tom’s Career

Remember Christa Iammarino? The Wilmington runner who qualified for the Olympic Trials with an “A” standard? Tom started working with Christa back in 2010 when she won her first-ever marathon—the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon. Tom says: “She nailed it. She absolutely nailed it. And we worked so hard to get there, but she was just so dedicated. It’s any coach’s dream to have an athlete reach that caliber. I am just so proud of her.”

The latest is Brittany Perkins Olympic Team Trials qualification for 2020 Marathon Trials in Atlanta.

Best Part About Being A Without Limits Coach

Tom’s proud of all of the Without Limits coaches: their dedication, sincerity and overall passion for being able to facilitate an athlete’s growth. But it’s more than just the running, swimming and cycling. Watching them grow as people—more than athletes—is the best part.

Olympic Trials Qualifiers

Ann Marie Pierce – 2023 “A” Standard 2:36:17
Christa Iammarino – 2012 “A” Standard 2:38
Peyton Thomas – 2020 “B” Standard 2:42:21
Brittany Perkins – 2020 “B” Standard 2:44:15
Erin Hogston – 2020 “B” Standard 2:44:28

Chat with Coach Tom

Latest Achievements

Tom has coached 5 olympic trials qualifiers Since 2012

Tom was selected for the WIlmingtonBIZ 100.  The WilmingtonBiz 100 is a new Greater Wilmington Business Journal initiative to recognize the top 100 Power Players, Influencers, Innovators, Connectors and Rising Stars impacting Southeastern North Carolina’s business landscape.  Tom was a top innovator.

Tom and the Without Limits team are super proud of being part fo the Ainsley’s Angels team.  Tom pulling Dustin Scholer in the Wrightsville Beach Triathlon


Tom wins the IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina race after a 2016 disqualification for a missed buoy in the swim.  Tom PRed with a 4:02:52.

Accomplishments & Accolades

1 Mile 4:09
3000m 8:22
5k 14:39
8K 24:52
10K 30:52
15K 47:50
13.1 1:08:21
26.2 2:27
70.3 4:02:52
  • Without Limits won the Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • USATF Level 2 Certified Coach Specializing in Endurance
  • USA Triathlon Certified Coach
  • Captain – Eastern Michigan University Cross Country/Track
  • USA Triathlon All American
  • IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina Champion 2017 4:02:52
  • Top 20 men at NYC Marathon 2013
  • Top 70 men at Boston Marathon 2014
  • Top Amateur at Steelhead 70.3 2012
  • 3rd Age Division WORLD 70.3 Championships Clearwater, FL.
  • Coached 5 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifiers in the Marathon
  • Coached over 40 athletes to the Boston Marathon
  • Coached 3 athletes to their USA Triathlon Pro-Card License
  • Coached 14 athletes to a sub 5 hour 70.3
  • Coached Kona Qualifiers