KU Track Legend Cunningham to be Inducted into Distance Runners Hall of Fame

May 21, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas track & 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 from 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.

The Olympics furnished only a part of Cunningham’s great string. The first NCAA track champion in Kansas history, Cunningham won back-to-back titles in the mile during the 1932-33 seasons. He won no less than 10 National AAU championships, six times indoors and four times outdoors, with all but one coming at 1,500 meters. Cunningham and former Jayhawk track star Wes Santee are honored each year at the Kansas Relays with the running of the Glenn Cunningham and Wes Santee 1,500-meter runs. Cunningham still holds the Kansas Relays 1,500 meter record at 3:53.3, which he established in 1933. He was also the first man to be mentioned prominently for the magical four-minute mile.

The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, July 7, at Mohawk Valley Community College in conjunction with the Boilermaker Expo. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. in the auditorium located in the Information Technology Building. Admission will be free and open to the general public.