Highlights –  Amazing story of a boy who was supposed to die beautifully shows the incredible power of determination.  Glenn Cunningham, by name The Kansas Ironman, or The Kansas Flyer  (born Aug. 4, 1909, Atlanta, Kansan, U.S.      American middle-distance runner who repeatedly broke world and national records for the mile in the 1930s.    He died on March 10, 1988, Menifee, Ark.
 
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By Arvind Kumar, Jabalpur, MP
 
COUNTRY school house was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove.  A eight-year-old boy named Glenn Cunningham had the job of coming to school early each day so that he could use kerosene to start the fire and warm the room before his teachers and his classmates arrived. one cold morning someone mistakenly filled the kerosene container he used with gasoline, and disaster struck. Teachers arrived found the school house engulfed in flames. Terrified on realizing that Glenn was inside, they rushed in and managed to drag the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building more dead than alive. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.   Terrible fire had devastated his lower half.  From his bed, the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother.  The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die, which was for the best, really–for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body. But little boy neither want to die nor want crippled life. Glenn made up his mind that he would survive. And somehow, to the amazement of the physician, he did survive.  Yet when the mortal danger was past, he again heard the doctor and his mother speaking quietly. The mother was told that since the fire had destroyed so much flesh in the lower part of his body. It would almost be better if he had died, since he was doomed to be a lifetime cripple with no use at all of his lower limbs. His mother refused to let the doctors amputate. Again, brave little boy made up his mind. He would not be a cripple. He would walk. But unfortunately from the waist down, Glenn had no motor ability. His thin, scarred legs just dangled there, all but lifeless.   Glenn was released from the hospital. Every day afterward his mother and father would massage his little legs, but there was no feeling, no control, nothing. Yet his determination that he would walk was as strong as ever.   Bed and wheelchair became his life partner.   One sunny day his mother wheeled him out into the yard to get some fresh air. This day, instead of sitting there, he threw himself from the chair. Glenn pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him.   He worked his way to the white picket fence bordering their lot. With great effort, he raised himself up on the fence.   Then, he began dragging himself along the fence, resolved that he would walk.   He started to do this every day until he wore a smooth path all around the yard beside the fence. There was nothing he wanted more than to develop life in those legs.

Miraculous RUN..RUN..RUN..
Ultimately through his daily massages, Glenn’s iron persistence and his resolute determination, he did develop the ability first to stand up, then to walk haltingly with help, then to walk by himself and then miraculously to run.
…And this is Kansas Flyer – Glenn began to run to school. He ran for the sheer joy of running and being able to run. In college Glenn made the track team where his tremendous determination paid off. He eventually received the nickname the “Kansas Flyer. In 1934 New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, this young man who was not expected to survive, who would surely never walk, who could never hope to run. Determined young man, Dr. Glenn Cunningham, ran the mile in four minutes and eight seconds, the world’s fastest indoor mile!  He was the world record-holder in the mile race from 1934 until 1937. He was a member of the 1932 and 1936 U.S. Olympic teams.   
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If you have endurance, you are bound to win: 
If you stay in the running, if you have endurance, you are bound to win over those who haven’t.
Power of Positive thinking :  An epitome of the power of positive thinking and faith in one’s self, Glenn Cunningham continues to be an inspiration for many, and his story, a brilliant testimony to how one can bounce back even when all odds are stacked against one, to the extent that death seemed the preferable option.This story reflects the mighty power we have and we are much more powerful than we might ever imagine. 

(Writer is Journalist and Motivational trainer)