Carrie continues a month of interviews all around the Brave Like Gabe Foundation in honor of her late friend Gabe Grunewald!
This week, Carrie chats with Gabe’s best friend: elite runner Ladia Albertson-Junkans! They chat about Gabe a lot (naturally), but they also chat about Ladia’s running career, her experience running the Olympic Trials and the Western States 100 miler, and how to find hope when life seems so dismal.
Recorded June 4, 2020
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Ladia really loves to run–any distance, any terrain, any weather, any time of day, she’s down. Many of her favorite running memories are with her best friend and running “sole” mate, Gabe Grunewald, a professional runner and rare cancer advocate who lived with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) for 10 years before she passed away in June 2019 at age 32. Ladia and Gabe met for the first time at the 2004 Minnesota State High School Track & Field Championships when they were both seniors competing for different schools and Ladia realized 15 minutes before her race that she had forgotten her spikes (classic). Ladia was frantically running around the staging area asking if anyone would lend her some spikes. Gabe was the only one who offered. (They were a half size too big so Ladia still raced in her sneakers but that’s besides the point.) When Gabe and Ladia both showed up for the University of MN cross-country training camp that fall, the friendship was sealed. After college, Ladia did some racing on the roads before transitioning mostly to trail and ultra distances. She even completed 100 miles last June (which she herself still cannot believe) in honor of her BFF Gabe.