Six Weeks After Cancer Diagnosis, Coach Runs Boston

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All of Meyer’s efforts and worries about whether or not it would work were overcome with pride the moment he saw her.

“She’s an amazing athlete and an amazing person,” Meyer said. “Seeing her run over and actually take off her hat and wave it to the crowd was really quite something.”

The support for Muri extends beyond just her team and the marathon, but throughout the entire rowing community. All of the rowers at Harvard now race in tall pink socks in her honor.

Members of the Crimson rowing community nominated her for ‘Crew of the Week’ on popular rowing website Row 2k, an award usually given to an entire team or school. Muri blew the other candidates out of the water, receiving 52.7 percent of the vote.

In her team’s race against Yale, the Bulldogs’ freshman lightweight coach painted the white part of the team’s boat oars pink in her honor. A week later, the Georgetown rowers raced in pink shirts.

The outpouring of support from the rowing community does not surprise Kate Woll, a volunteer coach for Harvard-Radcliffe’s women heavyweight team and long-time friend of Muri’s.

“She meets every athlete that she works with head-on and in an upstanding way and works to make them their absolute best,” Woll said. “It’s not about her. It’s never about her. It’s just about them.”

Muri has named Woll her “care captain,” as Woll has taken the lead in processing requests by members of the rowing community to help and lend support. Woll set up a website to process emails from people reaching out to ease Muri’s months of treatment.

“It makes people feel better that they’re supporting me, and that’s what counts,” Muri said. “A lot of people don’t know what to say or what to do. If they have something that they can do that makes them feel better, that’s good for me, because it really helps to have all that support.”

ACROSS THE FINISH

On the day of the marathon, Biebelberg went into Boston around 7 a.m. for meetings with the rest of the medical personnel. The area beyond the finish line was divided into over 20 zones, with specific medical teams assigned to each zone.

Biebelberg was placed in zone one, the area that was immediately after the finish line. He identified runners who looked like they were in distress or were about to be in distress. If he thought they might need medical care, he would approach them to better assess whether they could continue walking or needed further assistance.

As the day progressed, Biebelberg kept watching the clock. He knew Muri didn’t leave until wave four and he realized that the heat was slowing many of the runners down.

As the day approached 4 p.m., he scanned the runners for bright pink shirts and white hats.

Eventually, he spotted Muri 100 feet from the finish line. When she crossed, he immediately shouted her name and they embraced. For both Muri and Biebelberg, words could not capture that moment.

“We’re all just so happy to know her, to know somebody who is as strong as her and who has maintained a smile and a sense of humor in the face of adversity,” Biebelberg said. “In that respect she’s a great role model not just for her athletes but for anyone going through tough times.”

—Staff writer Eileen Storey can be reached at eileen.storey@thecrimson.com.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: May 7, 2014

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the team on which sophomore Brett Biebelberg served during this year's Boston Marathon. In fact, it was the medical sweep team.

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