Gilmor finishes marathon, turns ‘worst’ day into ‘best’ one
Wiltonian Merideth Gilmor was among the more than 50,000 runners from around the world who crossed the finish line at the 45th annual TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 1.
Gilmor’s six-hour, four-minute and 47-second run was a way for her to turn “the worst day of [her] life” into “the best” one.
On Nov. 1 of last year, Gilmor — an active mother, wife and founder of Modern Global Communications — had a stroke, of which she had no family history.
“I was healthy,” Gilmor told The Bulletin last month, “and I had run eight miles that morning.
At the time of the incident, Gilmor was in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts for a wedding.
“I never had anything slow me down before, but as I was crawling into bed after the reception,” she said, “I recall feeling a queer sensation — like I was about to sneeze — and then everything went black.”
Her husband, Mark, later told her that she had been rushed to a local hospital.
“I vomited and suffered a seizure. I had to be intubated to breathe and put into a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling in [my] brain,” said Gilmor.
“My dad came up with my son Colin, who was 9, to spend what they thought might be my last days.”
Since the local hospital in the Berkshires didn’t have a neurosurgeon, Gilmor said, she had to be medically evacuated to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where her husband was given four scenarios based on her CAT scans.
“I would probably be a vegetable, I would probably never walk or talk again, I would never be able to use the left side of my body or see through my left eye, and then the last scenario the doctor [told] my husband was, ‘There could be a miracle,’” said Gilmor. “I was blessed with the latter.”
Gilmor said she regained consciousness in the neurology emergency room and began a year of slow recovery.
To turn “the worst day of [her] life” into “the best” one, Gilmor decided to participate in this year’s TCS New York City Marathon — a 26-mile course through the five New York boroughs.
By running the marathon, Gilmor’s goal was to not only “educate people and raise awareness” of strokes but also “speak to stroke survivors.”
“A number of stroke champions lose hope with their recovery, and I want to tell them to have patience, stay positive, stick with your physical therapy,” Gilmor told The Bulletin prior to the marathon. “You can come back strong.”
At approximately 13 minutes and 55 seconds per mile, Gilmor finished 2,981st in her age group, 18,578th in the women’s group and 46,008th overall.