Capturing the nation’s attention and inspiring countless athletes, USA Champion track star Gabe Grunewald’s story continues to inspire runners, especially here in Naperville.
Alex Morris: Gabe Grunewald was a professional runner and she was actually – in her senior year of college at the University of Minnesota she was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, which is a super rare cancer. She’s gained a following over social media through inspiring a ton of people with her bravery despite this terrible disease she’s going through.
Unfortunately, Grunewald passed away two weeks ago at the age of 32. But her life continues on in the form of memories, as well as the hashtag “Brave Like Gabe”. Lighting up social media, runners from across the country are paying homage to the US track star. Taking action in real life, Naperville resident Alex Morris is taking the “Brave like Gabe” moniker to heart.
Alex: Everyone has a bad day and its easy to get caught up in that but to see someone like that, who is going through so challenging and difficult and still be positive throughout that. It’s just so inspiring and a reminder to – It kinda puts things in perspective and a reminder to be brave throughout training and cross country training.
So Morris started a running camp for kids.
The Running Camp
Alex: It was really easy. I just put together a little page and website. Mainly the hardest part has been spreading the word to more people so were hoping to get more campers.
The cost for each camper? A 35 dollar donation to the Brave Like Gabe foundation and the printed receipt as proof. Donating to charity is a big part of it, but sharing her love of running is also what motivates the former Naperville North State Champion runner to give back.
Alex: I’ve always thought about starting a kids running group because I love running and I want to share that with other people too.
And that’s exactly what Morris, as well as her former Huskie teammates do every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday during the 7 week long camp.
With 6 weeks still to go, many of the participants are looking forward to see results.
Clara Reckamp: It was fun and hard because I haven’t run that long distance before
Jack London: We got in better shape, because we ran 2.5 miles.
Tanner Hozien: I liked it very much. One, you get to be around all your friends so you get to socialize but also makes you more in shape so you can make whatever team you want.
With workouts consisting of warm up exercises, running drills and even some occasional yoga, the camp is off and running. Quite literally.
Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman