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Wanderer Barilla Does Not Stop

George Barilla moved to Doylestorn from metropolitan New York last year and started running for the Wanderers in the spring. George, now in his 50’s, was a strong marathoner prior to his illness running well under four hours. However, in 1997, George suffered a serious stroke. But he has come a long way back and now is running regularly in road races in the mid-Atlantic region. George competed in the Winter 10k along Kelly Drive on March 3 in wretched weather conditions posting a time of one hour and 37 seconds. In mid April, George competed in the Hackleberry Hill Climb 15k in New Jersey where he finished in 1:34:35.

George Barilla (right) and
Rock Steady at the Winter-10K
on Kelly Drive on March 2nd.
Earlier this month, George visited his daughter and grandchildren in Mobile, Alabama, where he ran in the Old Mobile 8k (his time by the was was 42:33). The race director asked George to write about his stroke for the Port City Pacers running club. Here is what George wrote. "I was in Mobile for the Old Mobile 8K and Jon Adams told me about Fred Crook having a stroke.  Jon asked that I talk about my experience with a stroke that I had in 1997. I didn't have any heart disease. My stroke was caused by a hole in my heart that caused blood clots. The blood went through the hole instead of to the lung to get oxygen so I ran in oxygen debt all the time. No doctor had ever detected the hole all my life. About 30% of people are walking around without knowing they have holes in their hearts. Some have very small ones, mine was large and it still could only be detected with an echocardiograph. The neurologist said I had been getting smaller strokes all my life, some that took me months to feel right again. The doctors misdiagnosed what it was. Most doctors wouldn't think to check a runner's heart but that's a mistake."

"With the final big stroke I was paralyzed over half of my body and couldn't talk or understand anyone.  I came out of it well considering how bad it was. I learned that active people like runners recover better after a stroke. Also, having good body levels of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin C help protect the brain cells during a stroke. Of course, it doesn't hurt to pray also!  Aerobic exercise after a stroke helps get oxygen to the brain and it heals faster. If you are like I was and ran but felt too tired and out of breath, you might want to have your heart checked out."

A quick post script. George's latest performance was on May 17 at the Crater Armed Forces Day 8 miler in Fort Lee, Virginia (George was there visiting his son who is in the military). George took third in his age group and won a trophy. His time was 1:07:37 on a course that was very hilly and run on trails as well as roads.

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