Meet George Etzweiler, the 97-Year-Old Runner

Some love stories endure even beyond the lives of their inhabitants. George and Mary’s story is one of those. Married for 68 years when Mary died in 2010, runner George Etzweiler continues to compete in races with her in his mind and heart.

George began running at the age of 49. He says he was overweight and couldn’t stay awake in the afternoons when a friend convinced him to take up running. With Mary’s support and encouragement, George started running. He’s been running ever since.

George credits Mary with being his inspiration. He says that she brought out the protector in him. He did not want to die early and leave her with any kind of problems to deal with.

There certainly is a spiritual feeling when you’re out there alone in the woods. It is rather soothing I guess.

Now, at 98, George says it is getting a little harder to convince himself to get out there. But, “…the rule of our running group is that if I collapse, you make sure I’m dead before you call 911.”

George consistently races in the Mt Washington Foot Race, a run of 7.6 miles with an elevation gain of 4,700 feet. The first time he ran this race, he was 69. Still competing, he has set the record for oldest finisher for the last 10 years.

Every year, he races in the shorts that Mary bought him for running.

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