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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jayhawk great Glenn Cunningham to be enshrined

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Former Kansas University track and field great Glenn Cunningham will be inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, it was announced last week. Cunningham, who will be honored in Utica, N.Y. in July, was a two-time national champion for the Jayhawks during his four-year Kansas career (1931-34). He also competed in two Olympic Games, snagging silver in the 1,500 meters at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

Cunningham is nationally known for being one of the greatest middle distance runners in American history. In addition to his silver medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he went on to set a world record in the 800 meter with a time of 1:49.7. In 1938, he set the indoor mile world record with a time of 4:04.4, surpassing the outdoor record by a full two seconds. He is the only performer in the track annals of the Big Six and Big Seven conferences ever to win two American Olympic berths.

Comments

kupopp 10 years, 2 months ago

Congratulations, Mr. Cunningham. RIP. If you don't know the history of his life, please look it up. The childhood injury he suffered, severe burns to his legs, should have kept him in a wheelchair the rest of his life. Instead he became one of the greatest runners of all time, and a credit to the Jayhawk nation. It was an honor for me to have met him.

Displayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

They are just now getting around to enshrining him??? Why has it taken this long???

BainDread 10 years, 2 months ago

The NDR Hall of Fame was created in 1998 and they have not inducted a class every year. Including this year's class of three, only 38 persons will be so honored. We can be quite proud of the fact that three of the 38 are Kansas Jayhawks - Billy Mills, Jim Ryun, and now Glenn Cunningham. And of course Ryun and Cunningham are home-grown Kansans.

BainDread 10 years, 2 months ago

This is the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, not a track-and-field hall of fame. Wes Santee would be a candidate, but not Al Oerter - the great discus thrower.

Thomas Matlock 10 years, 2 months ago

Yes, Oreter was in at least four. Is the kicker that it was during the Big 8 era?

John Randall 10 years, 2 months ago

Yes, OkSt (then A&M) rejoined the conference in 1958, and it was the Big8 until 1996 when Big12 was formed to bring in the Tx orphans of SWC.

Not only was Al Oerter IN the Olympics four times, he won a Gold each time, including twice when barely qualified for the USA team.

Steve Brown 10 years, 2 months ago

He was burned in a one room school house fire and about lost his legs, the doc said he wouldn't walk, Perhaps his older brother died in that fire, not sure.

Later in life he founded a boys home in NW Arkansas similar to Boys Town and gave his life to raising young men with limited options. Some of those men tell an awesome story of his devotion to serving others. One of this college pals asked him one day with his talents he could have done anything, been a titan on wall street, business or anything of his choosing, he replied, "I did, I chose to live humbly and serve those less fortunate."

A Kansas hero of the first order.

1977kufan 10 years, 2 months ago

One of my fondest childhood memories was meeting Glenn and his family at their home (1959-1960). They lived in very, very modest surroundings with a modicum of income on their Kansas farm home. As my familly was leaving, we were followed by 2 of his children. They were running on the dirt path that went to and fro from the access road to their home. They were running barefoot!!!. At that time, our family could not financially help them (I sure wish that I could have, even then). Oh to have been 15 years older and finished with pharmacy school (I completed that in 1972 at our alma mater), it would have been a tremendous joy to give those children running shoes (or any shoes for that matter)!!! God bless you, Glenn.

John Randall 10 years, 2 months ago

1077kufan, you may well have had your hand slapped away had you tried to "help" them. Financial independence and modest living conditions were a matter of pride for many, perhaps most, who were adolescents and young adults during the Great Depression (my parents among them), especially on the High Plains where conditions were as bad as anywhere.

The Cunninghams were never rich by any standards, but certainly far from destitute. Glen managed what he considered 'windfall' earnings from his running career very carefully and bought two fairly substantial ranches – leaving one to his first wife when they divorced, and providing a home and upbringing to hundreds of 'troubled youth' in addition to his own dozen children, who very likely preferred to go barefoot when the weather allowed.

Your patronizing tone brings to mind a saying I first head at a family reunion in the late 1940s or early '50s:

"The greatest among us are seldom those who have the most, but much more often those who NEED the least."

1977kufan 10 years, 2 months ago

KU62, Even the first portion of your reply betrays your lack of interpretative neocortical function. It is 1977kufan and not 1077kufan. However, the most egregious portion of your reply was the comment, "Your patronizing tone brings to mind a saying I first (you typed head and it should be heard) at a family reunion in the late 1940s or early 50s. The greatest among us are seldom those who have the most, but much more often those who NEED the least." THAT IS YOUR MISINTERPRETATION (I KNOW YOU CANNOT MISINTERPRET ANYTHING BECAUSE YOU EITHER ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING BASED ON WHAT YOU HEARD AT A FAMILY REUNION OR YOU PONTIFICATE FROM YOUR "HIGH CHAIR"). What you should have interpreted was a genuine concern to help another family. The intent was a genuine concern for one family or person helping another family. Simply, fellow Kansans helping other Kansans. In your lack of any significant neocortical function, you completely missed that genuine concern. If you care to reply, you might try "excuses" such as - sorry, this is the way I usually interpret other Jayhawk's genuine concern for other people (are you actually from MIssouri and have an intentionally misleading KU62?), or I have Alzheimer's disease (bless those individuals who do have this disease, they to need our help and understanding), I have a cerebral multi-infarct disorder (if that's what it is, I am also sorry to hear about that) or possibly some combination of the stated "excuses". Regardless of your reply and which "excuse" (including any not listed) you utilize, you have a significant neocortical interpretative dysfunction. I hope that you do not have any interpretative difficulty with the use of I in the previous sentences!!!

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