Gabe Grunewald Will Compete In USATF 1500 During An Off Week From Chemo
After being diagnosed with her fourth bought of cancer in March, Grunewald continued to train with the goal of hitting the U.S. standard of 4:09.5 and gaining automatic entry into the national championship. On Friday, USATF announced that Grunewald was accepted to compete through the descending order list.
Among her long list of inspiring accomplishments, Grunewald raced after her first round of chemotherapy on June 6. The 30-year-old began treatment on Monday and competed in the Music City Distance Carnival on Saturday where she finished 12th overall in 4:28. On Instagram, Grunewald shared that she received a second infusion two days ago, which concluded round one of chemotherapy. The week of the championship in Sacramento will be an off week for treatment.
Prior to Music City, Grunewald hit a season's best of 4:12 at the USATF Middle Distance Classic in May. Her 4:11 season's best from the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials allowed her to enter this year's championship on the descending order list. She has raced six times this year.
After the Trials last summer, Grunewald found out that the cancer had returned in the form of a large tumor in her liver. While her competitors were racing at the Olympic Games in August, she underwent surgery to remove over half of the organ. The doctors hoped that the procedure would eliminate the cancer from her body as it was a recurrence of the rare disease known as adenoid cystic carcinoma. She was first diagnosed with and recovered from the disease in 2009 while competing for the University of Minnesota. The cancer returned in 2010, and again she persevered.
But in March, she received heartbreaking news. The cancer returned to her liver in the form of several tumors. Although her disease is now at a point where there is no standard of care, Grunewald is exploring new treatment options--chemotherapy being the most recent.
The fourth diagnosis is only elevating Grunewald's voice as an inspiring cancer survivor. She chronicles her treatments, her training, and her progress on social media with the hope that her experience will inspire other survivors to dream big.
"It's important to not feel alone in these hard situations," Grunewald told FloTrack in May. "It's cool to have people open their mind to the fact that they may be going through cancer, but they can't give up on their life and their dreams."
Grunewald will continue her heroic season in the first round of the women's 1500m on Thursday, June 22.