Glenn Cunningham

Glenn V. Cunningham (Aug. 4, 1909 - Mar. 10, 1988) was an American distance runner and athlete considered by many the greatest American miler of all time. He received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States in 1933. Cunningham attended the University of Kansas.


Cunningham set a world record for the mile and indoor world records for the 1500 meters and the mile. He was on the 1932 and 1936 Olympic teams. In the 1,500-meter final at the 1936 Games in Berlin, Cunningham ran faster than the world record but was beaten by New Zealand's Jack Lovelock and received the silver medal. Cunningham retired from running after the 1940 Olympic Games were cancelled.

Born in Elkhart, Kansas, Cunningham was nick-named the "Kansas Flyer", the "Elkhart Express" and the "Iron Horse of Kansas". Cunningham was so badly burned in a schoolhouse fire when he was eight that doctors recommended amputating his legs, but his mother wouldn't allow it. The doctors predicted he might never walk normally again. However, his great determination led him to gradually regain the ability to walk.

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