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Watch the love story of 98-year-old runner from State College

97-year-old man races up Mount Washington

State College resident, George Etzweiler, 97, participates in the 57th Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.
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State College resident, George Etzweiler, 97, participates in the 57th Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.

The last time the CDT wrote about George Etzweiler was in June 2017, just after he completed a 7.6-mile run to the top of Mount Washington. Etzweiler was 97 years old at the time, which kind of gives you your news peg right there, all wrapped up with a nice little bow.

Case in point, Etzweiler has also been featured in the pages of State College Magazine and on runnersworld.com. He's not a celebrity, exactly, but neither is he an unknown quantity. That was the tightrope that filmmakers Kirk Horton and Simon Perkins had to walk in building their new documentary short "For the Love of Mary."

"You can tell George has been interviewed about this a thousand times and as soon as he started talking about his wife (Mary), his eyes just lit up," Horton said.

The completed documentary runs just over 6 minutes long and is available to watch online at the "Trail Runner" magazine site. If you're expecting plenty of gorgeous shots of Etzweiler jogging up the side of Mount Washington, you'll get them splintered in between the epilogue to a 68-year love story.

Etzweiler met Mary when both were still young. They married, raised a family together and after she died of pulmonary fibrosis in 2010, Etzweiler kept running. He's a little fuzzy on why.

Ertzweiler picked up the sport late, at the tender age of 49, and nearly half a century later, can't seem to quit.

"I'm not sure I ever figured it out. Mary certainly supported it. It might have something to do with that," Etzweiler said.

He's training three times a week for the upcoming Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Festival 5K run. When people at Mount Washington ask him when he'll stop, he has a standard reply.

"When I'm 100, I'm going to cross the finish line and drop dead," Etzweiler said.

Horton and Perkins originally planned to film Etzweiler taking the first few strides of the Mount Washington race and then leave, reasoning that the technical obstacles presented by trying to follow a group of runners through narrow roads and paths would be too great. When the time came, they weren't able to tear themselves away.

"It's amazing to see just how positive he is about everything," Horton said.

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