St. John’s Prep senior Cullen Dunnigan of Lynn is training for the Marine Corps Marathon that will be held Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C.
Dunnigan, 18, will run in the 26.2-mile event as a member of the U.S. Navy Memorial Team that is raising funds for the Navy Memorial Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
“My grandfather [the late George Dunnigan] served in the Navy and was in Pearl Harbor and his gallant service to our country has inspired my life and my family’s life. I’m dedicating my efforts in memory of my grandfather and all the Navy and Armed Forces veterans living in Lynn.”
A three-year player for the St. John’s water polo team, Dunnigan has been training for the marathon under the direction of his father, Lynn Police Lt. Glenn Dunningan, an avid long distance runner who has competed in the Boston Marathon.
“My longest run to this point has been 18 miles,” said Dunnigan.
Dunnigan noted that his father has been very supportive of his endeavor. His mother, Connery School teacher Elizabeth Dunnigan, and sister, Ally Dunnigan, a Lynn Classical three-sport performer, are also closely monitoring his progress leading up to the race.
“My father is my training partner,” said Dunnigan. “He gives me water when I go for my long runs. He encourages me to run faster and harder. He’s a huge part of why I’m doing this right now and he’s one of the biggest supporters I have.”
Dunningan and his father participated in the Springfield Police Department’s Ride to Remember, a 106-mile bicyle race that honors fallen police officers.
Dunningan’s mother, Elizabeth Dunnigan, a teacher at the Connery School, and his sister, Ally Dunnigan, a three-sport athlete at Lynn Classical, have also been supporting his endeavor.
A member of the National Honor Society who has attained Principal’s List recognition, Dunnigan is hoping to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point and is currently seeking a nomination for the prestigious institution.
“I visited West Point and I Ioved it,” said Dunnigan. “I toured the campus. Our tour guide was great and I definitely think that’s the place where I want to be.”
He is also interested in The Citadel, Norwich University, and Virginia Military Institute (VMI).
Dunnigan attended Shoemaker Elementary School and Pickering Middle School. He played baseball in the Wyoma Little League and one season in the Greater Lynn Babe Ruth organization. He finished second in the Lynn Home Run Derby to Katie Burt.
Glenn Dunnigan said he’s excited about his son’s entry in the marathon and his decision to seek a nomination for West Point.
“I’m very excited about his interest in West Point and a career in the military,” said Dunnigan, a member of the Lynn Police Department for 21 years. “My father was on the U.S.S. St. Louis, the first ship to reach Pearl Harbor, and he served 23 years in the Navy. Even though Cullen’s looking at a different branch, I think he’s been inspired by his grandfather’s service.”
A fundraiser to assist Dunningan’s marathon effort is being held Friday (Oct. 3) at 7 p.m. at Hibernian Hall. Sen. Thomas McGee and Councilor-at-Large Brendan Crighton, who is Dunnigan’s cousin, will join several teachers and police officers who are expected to be in attendance.