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Minnesota Championship Runner Gabriele Grunewald Dies at 32

WDIO and KSTP Sports
Updated: June 12, 2019 02:51 PM

Minnesota championship runner Gabriele Grunewald died at the age of 32 Tuesday, according to her husband, Justin Grunewald. She was known by many as Gabe.

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The runner's husband posted on Instagram Tuesday, "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. (Gabriele Grunewald) 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."

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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

A post shared by Justin Grunewald (@justingrunewald1) on

Grunewald's husband said she was moved to comfort care at a Minneapolis hospital Sunday.

The 32-year-old distance runner was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma — a rare form of cancer in the saliva glands — in 2009 while running for the University of Minnesota's track and cross-country teams. Following surgery and radiation therapy, she went on to finish second in the 1,500 meters at the 2010 NCAA championships. Her maiden name is Anderson.

She then ran professionally through 2017 despite more surgeries and treatments for cancer in her thyroid and liver. She was the 2014 U.S. indoor champion in the 3,000 meters.

In 2013, Gabriele was the women's winner for the Minnesota Mile in Duluth. Her time of 4:21.3 is still the fastest women's time.

Her husband Justin has won multiple Fitger's 5K's and went to medical school in Duluth. Both the Fitger's 5K and Minnesota Mile are part of the Grandma's Marathon series of races that are held throughout they ear.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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WDIO and KSTP Sports

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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