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Runner Gabriele Grunewald delays chemo for U.S. Championships

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Middle-distance runner Gabriele Grunewald reserved this month for racing.

Next month, chemotherapy.

Grunewald delayed her latest cancer treatments a few weeks — with her doctor’s consent — in a quest to qualify for the U.S. Championships at the end of June in Sacramento, Calif.

Should she reach the time standard, she fully intends on taking the starting line — no matter how she may feel in the midst of chemo for a disease that’s gone from her salivary gland to her liver.

“I’m trying to keep my life normal, and not let cancer dictate everything I do,” said the 30-year-old Grunewald , who finished in 4 minutes, 12.29 seconds in the 1500m at the USA Track and Field Distance Classic on Thursday, narrowly missing the qualifying time for nationals of 4:09.50. “So I’m just taking it a week at a time, one race at a time, just trying to live as much of my life as I can in a meaningful way.”

Her next chance to achieve the standard for nationals will be at the Prefontaine Classic this weekend in Eugene, Ore. She’s also contemplating racing at the Adidas Boost Boston Games on June 2, which would happen to be right around the time she’s scheduled to undergo the first of up to six rounds of chemo.

“If this is the end (of competitive running) for me, I want to get in a couple of more races,” explained Grunewald, who could be added to the field at nationals if it isn’t full. “I don’t want to drop everything just because I have cancer.

“I do think that I have some good running in my legs right now.”

The former University of Minnesota standout got a late start on training this season, but those frigid runs over the winter in Minneapolis made her stronger and stronger. And that’s with a healing 13-inch scar across her stomach, the one from surgery last August to remove cancer from her liver.

It’s a cancer that resurfaced on a follow-up scan in March — the latest chapter in her ongoing battle with the disease.

In 2009, Grunewald was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer in her salivary gland, which led to surgery. A year later, it was found in her thyroid and she had that removed, along with receiving radioactive iodine treatment.

Then, for the next several seasons, she was symptom-free, and racing better than ever:

— Fourth at the 2012 Olympic Trials, narrowly missing the squad for the London Games

— A 3000m title at the 2014 USA indoor championships

— Personal-best times in the 800m, 1500m, mile, 3000m, two-mile and 5000m

There was also this race, one of her more memorable performances: Finishing the 1500m in 4:01.48 on July 19, 2013, in Monaco. The three Americans who wound up in front of her that day — Jenny Simpson, Brenda Martinez and Shannon Rowbury — would later comprise the Rio Olympic team for the event.

“That was a race where there was a glimmer there, of what’s possible for me,” said Grunewald, who recently chronicled her journey with a blog . “But things haven’t turned out as perfectly as I’d hoped.”

Early last August, a month after finishing 12th at the Olympic Trials, her husband, who’s just finishing up his residency in internal medicine, gave her a hug and noticed her stomach felt different.

A tumor in her liver. She had surgery on Aug. 26 to remove the growth, with doctors feeling optimistic they got it all.

Her recovery was slow, though, with a four-mile run causing pain because of the incision. Around December, she ran eight miles, which was a big step as she began feeling more and more like her old running self.

“No matter what, when I’m on a run, I feel hopeful about the future,” said Grunewald, who’s not ruling out an attempt to make the 2020 Tokyo Games.

This spring, another obstacle: Finding out cancer returned to her liver — small tumors that couldn’t be treated through surgery. She will have a consultation for a biopsy next week and start chemo — something she’s never gone through — soon after.

“I was so excited to get back into fitness, to come back this year, to accomplish some of the goals that I wasn’t able to do last summer — and this came up,” Grunewald said. “The nature of my disease is it’s somewhat unpredictable. It really can come back whenever.”

A few more trips around the track this month — to keep her mind off what awaits and to see what she can do.

“I’m definitely scared, but I’m hopeful that maybe, even if I can’t 100 percent get rid of it, perhaps it can co-exist with me,” Grunewald said. “I’m just trying to hang on to running, because running has helped me so much.”

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Berlin Olympic Stadium may stop holding track and field events

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Berlin’s Olympic Stadium — where Jesse Owens won four gold medals and Usain Bolt broke two world records — may soon be done hosting track and field under renovation plans.

Plans were announced on Friday for the iconic venue to be converted into a soccer-specific stadium for Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin.

The famous blue track could be gone after it hosts the 2018 European Track and Field Championships.

On Saturday, Berlin mayor Michael Mueller said the renovation could still allow for a removable track to keep the option for hosting track and field at the stadium, according to a Berlin newspaper.

The Olympic Stadium was built for the 1936 Berlin Games, where Jesse Owens won the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump in the face of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. A street just outside the stadium was renamed Jesse Owens Allee in 1984.

It was renovated before hosting 2006 World Cup matches and then held the 2009 World Track and Field Championships, where Bolt set the current world records in the 100m (9.58 seconds) and 200m (19.19).

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Justin Gatlin wins despite running slowest 100m since 2010

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KAWASAKI, Japan (AP) – Justin Gatlin won the 100m at a Golden Grand Prix event on Sunday in 10.28 seconds.

It matched Gatlin’s slowest 100m time in a final against a full field since 2010, when he clocked 10.28 seconds running into a strong headwind in his second race of the day in Finland, according to Tilastopaja.org.

“Glad to open up my season here with a good time,” said Gatlin, who finished fourth in his opening 100m race of the season on May 5. “I’ve been a little bit injured, and haven’t been able to train as hard as I want to, but I’ve been working on my finish and it helped out today.”

Gatlin crossed the finish line just .03 seconds ahead of Japan’s Aska Cambridge. Shuhei Tada, also of Japan, was third in 10:35.

Cambridge, who anchored Japan’s silver medal-winning run in the 4×100 relay in Rio last summer, missed a chance to qualify for the world championships in London in August. He will have another opportunity at the national championships in June.

Aaron Brown of Canada won the men’s 200 with a time of 20.62, edging Dedric Dukes of the United States by .09. Kenji Fujimitsu of Japan was third in 20.93.

Ivet Lalova-Collio of Bulgaria powered to victory in the women’s 100, clocking a time of 11.40 to beat Tawanna Meadows of the United States by .04. Tianna Bartoletta, also of the United States, was third in 11.47.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.