One Last Time: After Diagnosis, Steph Bruce Braces for Her Final Races

After learning that a congenital heart defect would end her running career, the much-adored athlete finds strength in community.

Distance runner Stephanie Bruce has earned notoriety over the years, not just for her impressive track record but also for her warm authenticity. As she states plainly on her site, she’s devoted to sharing “the real parts of the journey … my triumphs, and my defeats, with no filter, no BS.”

So, when Bruce received a career-ending diagnosis in January 2022, she didn’t keep it a secret. Instead, she decided she’d make her final year of road running into a farewell tour.

“We’re all just people trying to connect to one another as humans,” she explained. “Sharing my story over time in my career has shown you can connect with people in a powerful way if you are simply willing to.”

Witness her upbeat-but-honest wisdom in this short film from HOKA.

Runtime: 6 minutes

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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