Simon collage

Meet another member of the American Heart Association’s Minnesota Run with Heart team: Simon Gruber!


Simon Gruber



Hometown/Current City


Number of Marathons


Favorite Race Completed

Get in Gear Half Marathon, the farthest I’d ever run until a couple weeks ago.

Favorite Location To Train

I’ve done a lot of my mid-length runs around Calhoun/Harriet/Isles, but my long runs have been taking me down to lake Nokomis and Hiawatha and I really like it down there.

Favorite Running Pump-Up Song

I actually don’t mind starting out a run to a pretty relaxed song. Hopefully the ‘pump-up’ songs will come on later when I need the push! But I’m using an iPod shuffle so I have no control.

My favorite is “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk. The Kanye-updated version (“Stronger”) is also a great motivational song for me, but it’s tough to admit that I like a Kanye song.

My Running Secret

I know nobody’s gonna like this, but I actually like running on a treadmill every couple weeks. I let the weather dictate when that trip to the Y will come. I like it because I use it to gauge my strength, and it’s a good way to evaluate the gains you’ve been making in training. I can see if it’s easier to maintain a faster pace for a few miles, and if I can keep up that pace longer. I also like to set goals to keep myself going for a while. It’s easier to resist walking or slowing down the treadmill too much than it is to not slow down or walk when you’re outside.

Biggest Motivation for Long Runs

Just knowing how important it is for success. Every book I’ve read and person I’ve received advice from has emphasized the long run. It is also really fun to be running farther than I ever have before every couple weeks.

How has heart disease touched you?

Several of my family members have been affected by heart disease, but we are fortunate not to have any early-onset heart disease in the family as far as I know.

While I was an undergraduate student I knew I liked science and was initially attracted to chemistry, but I really figured out toward the end that I liked the biological sciences because of the relationship to human health. I got a job in a lab at U of MN working on a project to develop new drugs for heart disease in collaboration with a small biotech start-up company. I really liked it and started graduate school working on the same project, and now I’m almost done!

I’m sitting at an AHA conference in Las Vegas right now trying to figure out my future career path, but I know that I want to keep studying heart disease.

Why is running important to you?

I just think it’s a great way to stay healthy. I feel good after every run almost, no matter how I felt at the beginning, and I do some of my best thinking while running.

Motivated? Inspired? Please support Simon’s goal with a donation to the AHA!