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Runner stories

Brave Like Gabe

Gabe Grunewald in a Brooks Beasts top

Gabe Grunewald was a cancer fighter and pro runner at the highest levels of the sport. She was also an inspiration who taught many to be hopeful, resilient, and brave. In honor of her passing in 2019, we remember her life and legacy by supporting the Brave Like Gabe foundation in the fight against rare cancers.

Professional runner. Relentless optimist

In 2010, Brooks had the honor of signing one of the most vibrant young talents on the track: a senior from the University of Minnesota named Gabriele (“Anderson”) Grunewald. For almost a decade, we watched Gabe compete at the highest levels around the world, winning a U.S. title and crushing 1500m and 3000m races.

Gabe crossing the finish line of a race

In 2009, Gabe was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma. In 2014, she won the 3000m at the U.S. Indoor Championships. We will forever remember her smile as she crossed that finish line.

Gabe lived two lives for ten years: one as a runner, and another as a cancer fighter. She was first diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma as a student athlete at University of Minnesota in 2009. At times she was so sick she couldn’t run a step. But Gabe remained a tenacious competitor.

The next year, she was runner-up in the NCAA championships. In 2012, she placed fourth in the Olympic Trials. And in 2014, she won the 3000m at the U.S. Indoor Championships. We will forever remember her smile as she crossed that finish line.

In addition to her accomplishments on the track, her friends and family, and her training partner husband Justin Grunewald, Gabe leaves behind her enduring, determined, and beautiful positivity.

Gabe and her husband looking at each other on a bridge

Gabe and her husband Justin were longtime training partners, going back to their time at the University of Minnesota. Justin is an accomplished runner and an important part of the Brave Like Gabe foundation.

"Brave Like Gabe” is the name of her foundation dedicated to fighting rare cancers. It’s a more than fitting name, because her life wasn’t just about running — it was about helping others find opportunities to live full lives, despite their own hardships.

Her legacy is much more than being a runner.

Gabe smiling while talking with a group of people
Gabe rocking a scar across her abdomen while at practice

For most, the only clue Gabe was sick was a long scar across her abdomen — the result of major surgery in 2016 to treat a recurrence of cancer in her liver. Though the scar was visible, Gabe’s wide smile and large laugh commanded all of our attention.

Gabe Grunewald’s legacy lives on as the Brave Like Gabe foundation. Follow the link to learn more about what she stood for, as well as how you can stand with her cause.

Remembering Gabe

Gabe Grunewald’s legacy lives on as the Brave Like Gabe foundation. Click here to learn more about what she stood for, as well as how you can stand with her cause. You can also see our latest Brave Like Gabe collection, which we developed along with Gabe’s loved ones.