MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Friends, family and fellows runners honored the life of track star and former Gopher runner Gabriele Grunewald with a one-mile run following her funeral Monday.
The 32-year-old professional distance runner died last week after a 10-year battle with cancer. She inspired thousands by continuing to compete through chemotherapy. Grunewald created the Brave Like Gabe Foundation to help other people fighting rare cancers.
Her funeral began at noon at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. A private burial for family and close friends took place following the funeral at Hillside Cemetery.
“She inspired us to see the possible in our own lives, no matter what struggles we faced,” said Ladia Albertson-Junkans, Grunewald’s friend, at the service.
A one-mile run/walk/jog in honor of Grunewald took place following the burial for anyone who wanted to join. Among those who participated included TV personalities Chip and Joanna Gaine. Grunewald befriended the couple when Chip asked her to help him train for a marathon.
"She impacted me in a profound way and today let’s just enjoy,” said Chip Gaines.
Minnesota native and professional runner Carrie Tollefson also attended, saying Grunewald's impact will live on.
“When it was hard for her, she always found the joy in it, so even though today was really hard for a lot of us, we’re all still smiling ear to ear because I just know she’s running free,” said Tollefson.
Following the run, there was a celebration of her life at Insight Brewing.