“As a runner, Gabe was a kicker, always full of run at the end.”
|Jun 13||Public post|
It’s a sad week to be a women’s running fan. On Tuesday night, beloved pro runner Gabe Grunewald died of cancer at age 32, and the whole running community is feeling the loss. There are certainly enough tributes to Gabe from recent days to fill an entire newsletter, but you can read a few of them below, along with a handful of other updates. If you’d like to donate to Gabe’s foundation to support rare cancer research, you can do that here. Runners in a few cities, including Portland and New York, have also organized upcoming group runs in Gabe’s honor.
Brave like Gabe
Over the past several days, Gabe’s husband Justin posted heartbreaking updates on his Instagram account as Gabe’s condition worsened, and the entire running community has shared their fond memories of her on social media. Gabe has been very open for years about her experiences with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer, while continuing to compete at a high level, and it’s clear she will leave a lasting legacy on the running world.
There have been many excellent stories published about Gabe in the past 24 hours (you can read Outside’s here), but I loved this one from Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden: “As a runner, Gabe was a kicker, always full of run at the end. Her coaches always tried to get her to stick her nose in the race a little earlier. She stuck her nose in this one from the gun. Even more, she dragged the rest of us along.”
Mini but mighty
The New York Mini 10K—the oldest women’s-only race—took place this past weekend in Central Park. In a competitive pro field, Sara Hall took the title after battling it out with Steph Bruce in the final stretch. In a piece I edited for Outside, Fritz Huber wrote about the history of the event and its role in the evolution of women’s running. The race was first conceived in 1972 as a “mini distance event” more suitable for women than a full marathon (oof), but has since developed into a highly competitive showing of some of the very best athletes. As Fritz put it: “There’s a gratifying irony in the fact that a race that was originally conceived as an abridged version of the marathon now regularly features several of the best marathoners in the world.” Indeed.
Semenya won’t quit
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there have already been more developments in the Caster Semenya case since last issue. Earlier this month, Semenya filed an appeal against the new IAAF regulations on female athletes’ testosterone levels, and the Swiss supreme court has temporarily suspended those rules. This means that for now, Semenya is cleared to compete in her usual events again, though it’s unclear how long this will last. For more context, you can read the Outside piece on this development (also by Fritz) here.
Allyson Felix’s Nike story
I mentioned the New York Times’ reporting on Nike and pregnant athletes in a previous issue, and a few days later Allyson Felix also spoke out and shared her story. If you missed this when it first came out, I highly recommend taking the time to read it. “What I’m not willing to accept is the enduring status quo around maternity,” Felix wrote. “I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth. I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?” (Lindsay Crouse, who produced this story and the other related coverage, has also been posting frequent updates on Twitter about the outcomes of her reporting on this issue.)
Eunice Kirwa suspended for doping
A few weeks ago, 2016 Olympic silver medalist Eunice Kirwa received a provisional doping suspension. It’s no surprise that several top American women were devastated by the news (though perhaps not shocked) that two-thirds of the Rio podium was dirty. (Gold medalist Jemima Sumgong was already suspended for doping in 2017.) Shalane Flanagan and Steph Bruce, among others, took to Twitter with their disappointment:
Chris Chavez@ChrisChavezJemima Sumgong and Eunice Kirwa holding hands after going 1-2 in the Olympic marathon in Rio. They are now both suspended for EPO. https://t.co/L2NhBbKj7k https://t.co/nD1Fhh6TIg
A few other related stories I’m reading: The ultrarunning domestic workers of Hong Kong. The ascent of Shelby Houlihan. Phoebe Wright’s personal history at Penn Relays. The rise and fall of feminist sports coverage. Emma Gee is the only out LGBTQ athlete at BYU.
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