Gabriele Grunewald

Gabriele Grunewald races at USATF Outdoors between chemo (video)

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Gabriele Grunewald ran the last two laps alone, the rest of the field pulling away from her.

Applause grew, however, and she managed a wave to the Sacramento crowd before crossing the finish line at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series) 1500m first round on Thursday night.

Grunewald then kneeled to the track, but she wasn’t alone for long. The rest of the nine-woman heat came up to her to form a circle. They prayed.

Grunewald called it “a little moment of solidarity” after a whirlwind, difficult year.

She raced at USATF Outdoors in between chemotherapy treatments, battling cancer for the fourth time since 2009. Grunewald was not sure she would be able to make it to Sacramento, spending Sunday in the ER with a 101-degree fever for precautionary reasons.

Her next chemotherapy infusion is Tuesday.

“Running is getting harder for me, there’s no way around it,” said Grunewald, who finished in 4:31.18, 17 seconds shy of advancing to Saturday’s final, where the top three are in line to qualify for worlds. “I know that it’s super bittersweet because I would love to be here at 100 percent competing for a [worlds] spot because I know that’s still in me somewhere, but it’s just not this year.”

Grunewald, who finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic Trials, raced for the seventh time since May 5, after learning in March that her liver cancer returned. She’s done competing for this year but plans to return in 2018.

“I really am just going to be excited to float on a lake this summer in between my chemo infusions,” she said. “I’m trying to be the best example that I can be of somebody who’s trying to persevere through something difficult.

“I’m super grateful for the support, and I hope I can be back in the future and not running on chemo and be cancer free — that’s the goal.”

USATF OUTDOORS: Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview
Broadcast Schedule | Full Results

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Gabriele Grunewald accepted into U.S. Champs, racing amid chemotherapy

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Gabriele Grunewald underwent chemotherapy infusions the last two weeks. Next week, she will race at the USATF Outdoor Championships (Summer Champions Series).

Grunewald, battling cancer for the fourth time since 2009, was accepted into the 1500m for nationals, USA Track and Field announced Friday.

Grunewald had not met the automatic qualifying time of 4:09.50, but she ranked 24th in the U.S. standings in the last year with a best time of 4:11.86. USA Track and Field can extend national fields beyond automatic qualifiers to 30 or more runners.

Grunewald, who just missed the 2012 Olympic team by finishing fourth at Trials, was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer, in 2009 and underwent surgery. It was later found again in her thyroid a year later and her liver both last August, leaving a 13-inch scar across her stomach, and then in March.

Grunewald delayed chemotherapy this spring in a bid to automatically qualify for nationals.

She raced five times on the track with a best time of 4:12.29. Her most recent attempt to hit the qualifying mark came last Saturday, four days after her first chemotherapy treatment. She ran 4:28.88.

“I was feeling pretty good with almost zero side effects from my first infusion so I thought I’d give the US standard one more ‘go’ at the Music City Distance Carnival [in Nashville],” was posted on Grunewald’s Instagram. “It. was. tough! Even though I felt normal on my warmup and during my little workout two days before the race, I just didn’t feel like myself out there. I was okay through about 800 but then the wheels fell off —dramatically and abruptly — after that. I’ve never thought to myself, ‘wow, a lap to go seems really far’ in a 1500, but there’s a first time for everything! It was truly a disaster in terms of running fast but I feel satisfied in giving it a shot.”

Expect to see Grunewald toe the line for the 1500m first round Thursday night on NBC Sports Gold. The 12-woman final is two days later.

Three days after that, Grunewald will begin round 2 of chemotherapy, according to Women’s Running.

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Gabriele Grunewald races at Pre Classic with 13-inch reminder of cancer

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Delaying chemotherapy, American Gabriele Grunewald finished ninth in the 1500m at the Pre Classic on Friday night.

“I’m a professional runner and four-time cancer survivor,” Grunewald told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “I’m still in the fight. I have treatment ahead of me this summer. I’m really just trying to hold onto running because it’s gotten me through so much.”

Grunewald just missed making the 2012 Olympic team, finishing fourth in the 1500m at the Trials, where the top three earned London berths.

That came three years after she was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer.

Last August, Grunewald had surgery to remove cancer from her liver, which left a 13-inch scar across her stomach visible during Friday’s race.

The cancer resurfaced again in March. She’s putting off chemotherapy until later this summer in a quest to qualify for and race at the U.S. Championships in June.

Grunewald needs to clock 4:09.50 by June 18 for direct entry into the U.S. Championships. Her best time so far this season is 4:12.29, but Grunewald ran 4:01.48 back in 2013.

Her time Friday was 4:15.04.

“Lots of rare cancers out there that don’t have cures. Mine’s of them,” Grunewald said. “So I’m just hoping I can find a treatment that will help me out.”

Full Pre Classic results are here.

Pre Classic coverage continues Saturday on NBC and streaming on NBC Sports Gold from 4-6 p.m. ET.

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