Opinion: Grunewald On Running at the University of Minnesota

When you cut this program, you take away the dream of a walk on. A walk on that will change the world, instill hope in the world, raise millions of dollars for cancer research and do it all with so much grace that you'd never know they were sick <3. 

Where would I be without Gopher Track and Field?

I didn't go to school to become a doctor.

I didn't go to school to become a partner.

I went to school to run.

I am super lucky. At 34 years old, I still remember getting that call on my home phone from coach Steve Plasencia telling me he wanted me to stay home to be a Gopher.

I could have gone and run for a lot of random universities and represented a lot of random states but the pride I felt being asked to represent Minnesota was indescribable.

Years later, I met the love of my life Gabriele Anderson (Grunewald) fast forward through the toughest year of my life and I currently get to be the chair of an incredible foundation Brave Like Gabe while practicing medicine a few miles from the U of M campus.

I studied hard and got into medical school.

I got to be a part of Big 10 Championship teams.

I cried with my teammates, I sweat with my teammates, I did everything with them. My teammates included future Olympians, future doctors, future lawyers, my future wife.

A tiny part of me is grateful for Mark Coyle's short-sightedness in attempting to cut this program because I've got to reconvene with my teammates and remember what each of them means to me.

I will not stop this fight until I get to go to the new beautiful track facility and watch my current and future teammates compete for Big Ten Titles.

Justin Grunewald
Former University of Minnesota track athlete, now MD and Chair of Brave Like Gabe