Best-selling author George Gilder recovering from Mount Greylock Trail races fall
Best-selling book author George Gilder, 76, of Tyringham, is recovering at home from an injury he received after falling during a June 19 trail race at the Mount Greylock State Reservation in Adams.
Gilder wrote a 1981 best-seller titled "Wealth and Poverty" and was often quoted as an author by former President Ronald Reagan. Gilder is a co-founder of the Discovery Institute and writes for publications including Forbes and the National Review.
A regionally renowned road and trail racer, Gilder stumbled and struck his head while descending a race trail. He was airlifted to Albany Medical Center in New York, where he was treated and released.
Gilder said he was at the fifth mile of the race when the accident occurred. The race course is a loop that starts and ends at a designated area on Gould Road in Adams.
"[The injury] looks formidable, but I am fine," Gilder said during an interview with The Eagle. "I have a terrible cut on my head, but there was no concussion. I had astonishingly good medical care."
The Mount Greylock Trail races included a half-marathon and a 3.2-mile race. Gilder was racing in the half-marathon as a competitor in an over 70-year-old category. The event was sponsored by the Western Massachusetts Athletic Club as part of a Grand Tree race series. The races are held at locations throughout the region. This year's race schedule posts 20 events in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Connecticut. All are rugged terrain races.
"I was bleeding all over and skin was flopping," he said. "I can't imagine if I had been alone. I don't think I could have stopped the bleeding with my hands. I couldn't see, my eyes were full of blood. I would probably have expired."
Arthur "Tony" Schwartz of Lenox was also racing and came upon the accident scene immediately after it happened, Schwartz said.
"He was bleeding profusely and it was pretty traumatic for the people who were there," Schwartz said and added that numerous people offered assistance to Gilder.
Schwartz said the runners who'd made it to that point were probably "exhausted" from cresting the course peak .
"I don't know this man but he is impressive," Schwartz said, speaking of Gilder's racing ability.
Gilder said that the runners closest to him were medical professionals.
"It was an absolute miracle," he said. "The two runners next to me were nurses, and there was a runner next to me from Newton. I don't know him but he knew what to do. The nurses knew what to do. I know a lot of people stopped to help. It was an amazing outpouring and I wish I knew who all these people were."
Gilder said he believes the nurses were Jill Lizotte of Coventry, Rhode Island, and Mary Reeve of Connecticut. Mount Greylock Reservation Visitor Services Supervisor Jude Stull and Adam O'Neil, a North Adams Ambulance Services emergency medical technician, provided medical aid to Gilder as well. Stull said that he was happy to learn that Gilder was recovering at home.
"We are all very thankful that he is doing well," Stull said.
Gilder is very involved in running races. He won the over-75 division of the Seattle Half-Marathon on Nov. 29, 2015, which was also his 76th birthday, he said. Gilder is listed in a Seattle Marathon racing guide with a time of 2:03:15. The race draws thousands to Washington; this year, organizers expect over 15,000 total racers to participate.
"I've run in 10 races since then," he said.
While in Thailand last year visiting a newborn grandchild, Gilder won a 9-mile race held in Maesot.
"My daughter [Mellie Gilder, who was part of a championship Lenox High School cross-country ski team] is a doctor there," Gilder said. "My son-in-law signed me up for the race, and I won."
WMAC President Edward Saharczewski recalled racing with Gilder about two years ago in Savoy.
"He does a lot of long stuff, a lot of trails," Saharczewski said. "He was pretty remarkable."
Gilder noted that he's fallen on one other occasion during a recent race and believes that rough trail terrain, which is often littered with roots and loose rocks, may pose too great a hazard for him now. He said that he will likely compete as a road racer in the future.
He is sorry to give up trail racing but added that the decision probably meets the approval of family members, including his 98-year-old mother.
"She thought that the [injury] consequences would be worse," Gilder said. "I looked worse than it really was. I think I'll stick to road races."
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