“I don’t keep track of my heart rate. I have a pacemaker that takes care of that.”

Insert laughing/crying emoji here.

George Etzweiler first start running as a way of saving his own life. Overweight, out of shape, and going downhill, he vowed to turn things around and to be there for his beloved wife, Mary, whom he married in 1942. Almost 50 years after he started running and now 97, Etzweiler still runs, including competing the annual hill climb of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington (4,700 vertical, 7.6 miles)—but now to honor Mary, who passed away in 2010.

“When I first start running, she was very encouraging. She thought it was great,” he said. “I guess she just brought out the urge to protect and dedicate my life to her.”

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Running became the salve that kept him going. And going…at age 89, he set the record for the race’s oldest finisher…and again at 90…and again. Can he still get to the top eight years later?