The story of Glenn Cunningham

The story of Glenn Cunningham, is one of the most inspiring I will write about in the following!

Earlier years

He was born in 1909. In Atlanta, Kansas. At that time, children had homework almost from the moment they walked stably. When they started school, Glen and his older brother Floyd had the task of getting to school early and lighting a fire, to warm the room before the others arrived. When Glen was 8 and Floyd was 13, an accident happened because someone poured gasoline into the canister instead of kerosene. The children put wood in the stove as every morning, poured gasoline on it, thinking it was kerosene, and when they lit the stove, it exploded and a fire broke out. Their older sister was nearby and pulled them out of school, badly injured. Floyd succumbed to his injuries after a few days. The doctors thought that Glen would not survive either, and when he survived, they told their mother that it was better that he died and that they had to amputate both of his legs. He lost almost all the flesh on his knees and lower legs, all the toes on his left foot, and one tendon was damaged. The mother said, it is enough that he lost his brother, I will not allow him to lose his legs either.

When he came out of the hospital, he was immobile from the waist down, everyone claimed that he would remain immobile for the rest of his life. His mother and father massaged his legs and pulled the leg that became about 6 cm shorter. At the beginning, he did not feel his legs at all, and later the treatments were more than painful.

The beginning of change

One day, his mother pushed him into the yard in a wheelchair, as she used to do. Suddenly, she saw him crawling on the ground towards the fence, not realizing what had happened. She tried to bring him back but he refused and dragged himself to the white fence. He got up and tried to walk. He moved along the fence, dragging his feet on the ground, which in time paved the path near the fence. After 22 months of persistent daily struggle, he managed to walk, but with great pain.

At one point, he noticed that he had pain when walking, and no pain when running. He became famous in his place for always running. He did not cross even two meters of distance without running. At the age of 12, he was already faster than anyone in the area and started competing.

He became one of the most famous American athletes, and according to some, the best American long distance runner of all time. He graduated from college in 1933 as the best student in the class.

These are his athletic achievements:

• He participated in the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and took 4th place in the 1500-meter race;

• At the Olympic Games, 1936 in Berlin, he won a silver medal in the same race;

• In 1933, he received an honorary decoration for various achievements in middle distance running;

• In 1934, he broke the world record in the 1500m outdoor race;

• In 1936 he set a world record in the 800m race;

• In 1938 he set a world record in the 1500m indoor race;


He was nicknamed “Ironman from Kansas”! He died in his 80s, in 1989. He was an example of determination, faith in God, courage and should be an inspiration for all of us! His favorite Bible verse that motivated him to accomplish all of this was:

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall be strong, and shall mount up on their wings like eagles; they shall run, and not stop; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).


“Never defeat only lesson”!




I hope you liked the biography of Glenn Cunningham?

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