Mile News

Forgotten Stories of Courage & Inspiration: Glenn Cunningham

June 12, 2009

“It hurt like thunder to walk, but it didn't hurt at all when I ran. So for five or six years, about all I did was run.”

By Leroy Watson Jr., Bleacher Report

It was another bitterly cold morning in Everetts, Kansas, a rural farming town like so many hundreds of communities throughout the American Midwest as the world was waging the Great War, World War I.

The residents in those small towns were not strangers to hard—often back-breaking—work, and from early childhood, they learned to value, even to love, hard work. Chores were doled out nearly as soon as a child could walk.

Such was the life of the Cunninghams: father Clint was a water-well driller who moved his family around a lot in a struggle to keep them fed.

On August 4, 1909, while living in Atlanta, Kansas, Clint’s wife bore him a son, whom they named Glenn. By the time he was six, little Glenn was already working.

He and his nine-year old brother, Floyd, were assigned the onerous duty of walking almost two miles to the schoolhouse (that’s what they still called them back then, and many really were just abandoned houses that were converted to schools) to start the fire in the stove.

That way, the room would be warm by the time the teacher and other students arrived.

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Tags: world record (63) , glenn cunningham (10) , 1936 olympics (1) , 1932 olympics (1)

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