Gabe Grunewald never thought she would be a professional runner, much less a national champion after overcoming cancer twice.
The highlight race of the late Grunewald’s career has to be the 2014 U.S. Indoor Championships 3000m in Albuquerque.
In the final lap, she passed Jordan Hasay (who went on to become the second-fastest U.S. female marathoner in history) and three-time Olympian Shannon Rowbury (now the American record holder at 1500m) for the victory.
(Grunewald’s feet and Hasay’s feet made contact, which led to Grunewald later being disqualified and then reinstated two days after. The complicated episode was covered extensively at the time but does not diminish her accomplishment.)
“It’s been a long journey for me,” Grunewald told Paul Swangard on NBCSN after the race. “I hope that, in my career, that I can inspire other cancer survivors to continue to go after their dreams.”
The setting was special for Grunewald. She had raced at a nationals for the first time four years earlier in the same venue.
“It went terribly,” she said. “I lost a shoe, finished way in the back [10th place]. It put a dream in my head to come back here some day to see what I could do to become a champion.”
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