Brooks Pays Tribute to Its Late Runner Gabriele Grunewald After She Loses Her Battle With Cancer

Brooks-backed runner Gabriele Grunewald has died after a long battle with cancer. She was 32. To pay tribute to its former sponsored athlete, the brand shared a heartfelt farewell on social media.

The post starts with a list of her running accomplishments after signing with the brand in 2010 when she ran for the University of Minnesota, a list that included taking home the gold in the 3000m at the U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships in 2014.

“Her smile crossing the finish line is what we’ll remember most from that race,” the brand wrote in the post.

Although she was competing at a high level, she was battling a tougher opponent away from her sport: adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer.

“She would compete during her remission periods, never missing a beat, with her husband and training partner @justingrunewald1 [Justin Grunewald] by her side,” Brooks wrote. “Through running and life, Gabe inspired all of us with her tenacity and ever-positive attitude. The entire Brooks family is heartbroken, and our condolences go out to her family, friends and everyone she touched with her story. Gabe, your light will forever guide us. In everything we do, we’ll always strive to be #BraveLikeGabe.”

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In 2010, we 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. In 2014, she took home the gold in the 3000m at the U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships; her smile crossing the finish line is what we’ll remember most from that race. Off the track, Gabe was fighting a rare and aggressive form of cancer: adenoid cystic carcinoma. She would compete during her remission periods, never missing a beat, with her husband and training partner @justingrunewald1 by her side. Through running and life, Gabe inspired all of us with her tenacity and ever-positive attitude. The entire Brooks family is heartbroken, and our condolences go out to her family, friends and everyone she touched with her story. Gabe, your light will forever guide us. In everything we do, we’ll always strive to be #BraveLikeGabe. Gabe founded @bravelikegabe, a foundation raising funds for rare cancer research. If you would like to donate to or learn more about the foundation, visit: bravelikegabe.org.

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Grunewald’s husband, Justin, also shared a touching moment about his wife on social media late yesterday.

“At 7:52 I said ‘I can’t wait until I get to see you again’ to my hero, my best friend, my inspiration, my wife. @gigrunewald I always felt like the Robin to your Batman and I know I will never be able to fill this gaping hole in my heart or fill the shoes you have left behind. Your family loves you dearly as do your friends,” he wrote.

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At 7:52 I said “I can’t wait until I get to see you again” to my hero, my best friend, my inspiration, my wife. @gigrunewald I always felt like the Robin to your Batman and I know I will never be able to fill this gaping hole in my heart or fill the shoes you have left behind. Your family loves you dearly as do your friends. When @chipgaines made the final push in his #chipinchallenge I could feel your happiness building and could also see that this made you ready to head up to heaven. Chip thanks for helping her to go up so peacefully with no suffering. To everyone else from all ends of the earth, Gabriele heard your messages and was so deeply moved. She wants you to stay brave and keep all the hope in the world. Thanks for helping keep her brave in her time of need 😪🙏🏻 #keeprunningonhope #bravelikegabe 📸 @pixelcrave 📷 @kohjiro_kinno

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In March 2018, the company partnered with its runner’s Brave Like Gabe foundation, which supports rare-cancer research. The support included creating a logo for her, providing T-shirts and bibs for her inaugural charitable 5K and helped get her the press she needed to get her message out to the masses.

In September, the middle-distance runner spoke with FN about her biggest accomplishment in fitness.

“I’ve had cancer four times, and throughout each of those experiences, I’ve been able to run through them. I’m proud of how fast I’ve run, but I’m mainly proud that I’ve been able to push through those cancer treatments and surgeries, and keep running,” Grunewald said.

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