Remembering Gabriele Grunewald: Runner Dies at 32 Years Old
Gabriele Grunewald, one of the top U.S. middle-distance runners, died Tuesday after a public battle with cancer at the age of 32, her husband, Justin Grunewald, confirmed Wednesday to the Associated Press.
"It was one of the most peaceful passings I've seen. Everything she did was timed in her own time and perfect," he told AP. "Everything she did was timed in her own time and perfect."
Lovingly referred to as "Gabe," the athlete was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma–"a relatively rare form of cancer that most commonly develops in the salivary glands or other regions of the head and neck"–in 2009. Following her diagnosis, the then-23-year-old underwent surgery and chemotherapy and finished second at the NCAA Championships the next year.
Her impressive running streak didn't end there. Grunewald became the U.S. indoor 3,000-meter champion in 2014 and was apart of the starting line at 1,500-meter U.S. track and field championships in 2017.
"Though it would take quite an effort to make the final, I don't think it is impossible," Grunewald said before the race, according to KNTV report. "If I feel good, I hope to mix it up. There's also a chance I feel lousy, in which case I hope I can just enjoy being out on the track as a competitor for a few minutes. Either way, I'll be happy to be out there."