Glenn Cunningham

by Kyle R from Sycamore Junior High

Olympics Hero
Cunningham running at Kansas State (
Cunningham running at Kansas State (

Who can be a hero? Anyone who fits in to one of these five categories can be a hero: Hero on the Spot, Survivor Hero, Hero to Others, Hero Within, Hero for all Time. Have you ever heard of Glen Cunningham? He was just eight years old when it was his turn to light the the school house heater. Then boom.

When he was only eight years old, Glenn Cunningham's physicians told him that he would never walk again. He had severe leg burns from the explosion. It was the Cunningham's turn to light the school house heater. It was mistakingly filled with gasoline; they lit it and there was an explosion that engulfed the room with flames. Cunningham not only walked again, but was one of the top-notch milers in the 1930s.

For three years, from 1932 to 1934, he won the Big Six indoor titles and was at the Olympics again in 1936. Then in 1938 Cunningham became the world's fastest runner as he set a new record at Dartmouth College. The record wasn’t recorded because it wasn’t a real track and field meet. Then later in that same year he also received a degree from New York University.

Glenn Cunningham was a hero but do you know what kind? He was a hero within because to be a hero within you have to find strength when it is the most troubling times and then give yourself the courage and will to succeed. When he was burned the doctor wanted to amputate the his legs but Glenn wouldn't let them because deep down Glenn knew he would walk and run again someday.


During World War two he entered the Navy and made new physical training programs for the soldiers. Cunningham was only in the navy for two years. Cunningham received much praise over a long period of time but his most satisfying experience was Elkhart's Glenn Cunningham day, held in 1933, when he returned from Europe after winning 11 straight races.

Page created on 8/7/2008 10:03:32 AM

Last edited 8/7/2008 10:03:32 AM

Related Links

Glenn Cunningham - hero within
Glenn Cunningham - USA Track and Field Hall of Fame

Related Books

Author Info

Kyle Rispoli