Abigail “Abby” Anderson, 29, younger sister of the late track star Gabriele Grunewald, was struck and killed by a woman driving a truck while walking near the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie soccer stadium in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on Saturday evening.
The news was first reported by Guy Still, assistant manager at WCCO/CBS Minnesota, via Twitter.
We're learning that Abilgail Anderson, the sister of Gabe Grunewald, was struck & killed by a suspected drunk driver over the weekend outside of ELR stadium on UMN STP campus.
Abby ran the NYC Marathon in 2019 in honor of her sister Gabe Grunewald.
— Guy Still (@mplstvguy) August 16, 2021
According to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, as reported by the Star Tribune: “A pickup truck driver hit a parked car and then the woman, sending both vehicles and the pedestrian through a chain-link fence. The truck made a U-turn and ran over the woman again while getting back on Cleveland Avenue. The driver was taken to Regions, where a blood sample was collected to test for any drug or alcohol use. The driver’s identity has yet to be released, and authorities did not say whether the motorist was jailed.”
Authorities were dispatched to the scene around 7 p.m. and helped transport Anderson to Regions Hospital where she later died from her injuries.
Anderson’s father, Kim Anderson, told the Star Tribune on Monday that his daughter was going to the soccer field to see her boyfriend coach a match, adding that the family does not know much yet about the crash other than it’s a criminal investigation involving “inattentive driving” by a woman.
Anderson, who lived in Minneapolis, was herself an avid runner, who posted frequently about her grief following Grunewald’s death in 2019. Grunewald was a middle-distance Olympic hopeful, as well as the 2014 indoor national champion in the 3,000-meters. Grunewald died at age 32 from complications of adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC), an incurable cancer with which she was diagnosed in 2009 when she was running for the University of Minnesota.
Later in 2019, Anderson raced the New York City Marathon to raise funds and awareness for Brave Like Gabe, the foundation her sister started to support rare cancer research.
Growing up in Perham, Minnesota, Anderson said Grunewald was a big influence on her—from traveling to far-flung cross-country meets to cheer Grunewald on to Anderson running herself, at her sister’s encouragement.
“When I run now, it’s just a reminder where I come from and it’s an echo of Gabe’s impact on my life,” Anderson said, in an interview with Women’s Running in 2019. “In my grief and not really knowing what to do with all these emotions and frustrations, going out for a run and having that control and release has been a huge part of the healing process. I’m just trying to take a cue from Gabe and find a positive thing I can do when I don’t really have control over the situation around me.”
Anderson remained involved in the Brave Like Gabe foundation. An artist, she recently designed the shirts for the 2021 Brave Like Gabe 5K, which annually raises money for the development of improved therapies and a cure for adenoid cystic carcinoma.
Anderson also worked as a pediatric nurse, treating patients with neurological disorders—she was studying to become a nurse practitioner. Sometimes her 12-hour shifts made preparation for the marathon tricky, but she remained dedicated.
“Not a lot of people in my running career believed in me as much as Gabe—she would even get mad at me in college when I didn’t do well and say, ‘You’re better than this,’” Anderson said. “That’s a big motivating piece for me. I’m finally believing in myself the way that she wanted me to.”
Along with her parents Kim and Laura Anderson, Abby Anderson is survived by a twin brother, Benjamin, and two older brothers, Zachary and Caleb.
This story will be updated.