Monday, September 2, 2013

The Biography of Glen Cunningham

Glen Cunningham was a runner.  However at one part in his life, it was doubtful he would walk:
"Cunningham's legs were very badly burned in an explosion caused when someone put gasoline instead of kerosene in the can at his schoolhouse by accident when he was eight and his brother Floyd was thirteen. Floyd died in the fire. When the doctors recommended amputating Glenn's legs, he was so distressed his parents would not allow it. The doctors predicted he might never walk normally again. He had lost all the flesh on his knees and shins and all the toes on his left foot. Also, his transverse arch was practically destroyed. However, his great determination, coupled with hours upon hours of a new type of therapy, enabled him to gradually regain the ability to walk and to proceed to run. It was in the early summer of 1919 when he first tried to walk again, roughly two years after the accident" (Wikipedia)
However Cunningham was not content with just being able to walk.  He continued to develop the strength in his legs by running.  He had a favorite scripture: Isaiah 40:31: "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
Cunningham became so good at running, he was able to attend college as a runner, University of Kansas. 
He participated in the Olympics of 1932 and 1936 taking fourth and '32 and silver in '36.  His specialty was the mile, and he held the world record at one time.  "Cunningham's goal-unachieved was a four-minute mile. Many people tried that before and failed. Several theorists proclaimed it was impossible physiologically for humans. Runners tried running steady and fast-paced the whole time. Others tried to go steady for the first half then give it all they had. Cunningham tried many different ways. His greatest success was a strategy, developed from childhood, of running his fastest right from the beginning and then throughout every race."
He retired from running in 1940.  

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