Ruth's Running

From Diane Meuser's submission to "UltraRunning Magazine":

Ruth Michler, of Denton, Texas was killed in a tragic pedestrian
accident while waiting to cross a street in Boston on November 1, 2000.

Ruth was a visiting mathematician at Northeastern University. She had completed the Chancellor Challenge 100K Road Race on October 8, and the Cape Cod Marathon on October 22 of this year. Her previous ultrarunning accomplishments included the East Texas Ultrarunners 50 K trail run, first place woman in the Cross Timbers 50 Mile Trail Run in 2/98, and successful completion of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run in 8/99 in 29:26.

I met Ruth at a mathematics talk she gave at Boston University two days before her death. I was eagerly looking forward to hearing a talk by a woman mathematician (fairly rare), in a subject area I was interested in (rarer still), and was most astounded to learn that she was also quite an accomplished runner, having completed 30 marathons and the above ultra races all while still at the relatively young 33 years of age. I will certainly miss having the opportunity to run with her and I'm sure the ultrarunning community will miss her as well.

Diane Meuser, Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics, BU

e-mail from Prof. Junzo Watanabe of U. Tokai-Japan:

It was 1996. And it was the 100th Boston Marathon. All the time I was trying to find Ruth in the marathon race. (Which street was it?) But to be honest I was thinking it was impossible to find her, because there were so many runners and they were going very fast, and no one could tell what time she would come. In addition to those things I had met her for the first time only some days ealier. Also if she was running on the other side of the street, it was hopeless because it was too far. But sudderly she was just there, so I cried "Ruth", as loud as possible. Clearly she heard me, as she turned and waved her hands. For a short time she ran backwards for me.

She and I also discussed some mathematics. She wanted to know a good reference for some lemma that she was going to use. To my happiness it was my lemma. All the time in these five years I wished to discuss mathematics with her again. But it does not seem possible any more.


Return to Commemorative web page for Dr. Ruth Michler

Created: Nov. 13, 2000. Last modified: Nov. 13, 2000. URL: