Gabriele (Anderson) Grunewald's impact will forever be remembered in the town of Perham and now it will have a physical impact on runners and bike riders in town as the Perham Bike Path has been dedicated in her honor and named the Brave Like Gabe Running and Bike Trail during a ceremony at Arvig Park on Aug. 24.
Grunewald's brother, Zach Anderson, and father, Kim Anderson, were on hand for the ceremony and spoke about her battle with cancer, her love of running and her impact on the community and the running world.
"I remember Gabriele running out here you know, and it was just a great reminder that life keeps going," Gabe's father Kim Anderson said in a television interview with WDAY. "Parents enjoy it because kids need to run in order to be active and healthy."
A former standout at Perham, All-American at the University of Minnesota and national champion professional distance runner; Grunewald passed away in June following a 10-year battle with cancer. For much of her career, she raced with this rare disease known as adenoid cystic carcinoma.
"You forget how much the family is still grieving and for them to be out here, it's just awesome, Perham cross country coach Jeff Morris said. "To know that their daughter's spirit lives on is incredible."
"Looking at this meet today is just another step forward in the progress of her career," Gabe's brother Zach Anderson said. "She used it as a microphone for people with rare diseases or cancer and she would be really happy with that."
After the first ever Brave Like Gabe Earlybird Invitational, the cross country and Perham community came together to honor Grunewald and dedicate the trail in her honor. Perham Activities Director Erin Anderson, cross country coach Jeff Morris, Wadena-Deer Creek hall of fame coach Terry Olson, Zach Anderson, Kim Anderson and Mayor Tim Meehl spoke on Grunewald's legacy.
"Means a lot to know that she'll be remembered," Grunewald's brother Zach Anderson said. "I don't know how many countless steps she took on the path but to have the ability to look at the path now and remember her is a big deal."
"To just embody that permanently is just a fantastic thing" Grunewald's father Kim Anderson said.
It's the strength she displayed while battling cancer that sticks with fans.
"She's really what every athlete and person should strive to be," boys varsity winner and Perham runner Brandon O'Hara said.
Following the dedication ceremony, Grunewald's family and friends took a lap on the newly dedicated trail.