98-year-old State College man runs to top of Mount Washington, but he isn’t done yet
STATE COLLEGE – We hear the term "age is nothing but a number" quite often but a man in State College is proving it. Despite being in his late 90s, George Etzweiler just finished climbing the highest mountain in Northwestern U.S.
The 98-year-old shows no signs of slowing down, he says it’s as simple as putting one foot down after the other.
“I love to see him go out the door three days a week, headed to the mountains to go running,” daughter Shirly Fye said.
At the age of 98, former Penn State engineering professor George Etzweiler just became the oldest man to ever race up Mount Washington. He ran in the 57th Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.
"Amazing, I can believe it,” Etzweiler said. “All I do is just sit and shake my head and wonder how could I still be going now."
It took him four hours and five minutes to reach the over 6,000-foot peak.
“I’m always thrilled to see him come around the last turn,” Fye said. “He’s in sight, which is probably about 500 yards, and it’s very steep that last stretch of the run.”
But this is nothing new to Etzweiler. This is his 13th time finishing the 7.6-mile race in northern New Hampshire. Overall, he’s walked the mountain about 20 times.
"The first time I ran Mount Washington road race was in 1989 when I was 69," Etzweiler said.
To prepare for his races, he typically runs about three times out of the week. Then he will do more intense training with friends a month ahead of the event. Sometimes he practices his runs at Tussey Mountain.
He enjoys running, and tends to do it often with family and friends nearby.
Etzweiler started getting in shape when he was working at Penn State, while his wife was sick. He wanted to be healthy enough to be able to move around and help take care of her. So, within a few months, he lost 20 pounds and began aiding his wife. Shirley says her mother later died.
Etzweiler has been running since the age of 49 and shows no signs of stopping.
He says it’s not about racing or winning for him, it’s just something he started and won’t stop.
"I just kept going, I don't think I ever decided anything except to start," Etzweiler said.
Etzweiler says he'll pick back up with his routine 5-mile run later this week. He hopes to do the race again in 2020... When he'll be 100.
In the meantime, he has plans to run in the arts festival race in State College on July 15.