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At 99, George Etzweiler Ready to Lead Senior Team in 50-Mile Race

on October 24, 2019 12:02 PM


BOALSBURG — Many folks both locally and beyond know George Etzweiler’s name by now. He has been making waves in the running sport for many years now. And for a guy who started running at age 49, he’s clocked a lot of miles over the past 50 years and is still going strong.

Part of the 99-year-old Etzweiler’s secret may be his focus. As captain of The Old Men of the Mountains relay team, he puts together a team of eight senior runners to take on the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon in Rothrock State Forest. They’ve done it 12 years so far. But he doesn’t just recruit the other seven runners of his team, all of whom must be age 65 or older. He strives for the highest average age possible, only reaching into the lower age echelons when he has to. 

This year’s team roster mirrors last year’s, with one change. Pamela Murphy, the lone woman on the team, will replace Paula Jech, who is in Hawaii. 

Etzweiler met Murphy, 66, recently in Lewistown, where both were running the Goose Day 5K. “When she found out that Paula would not be here this year, Pamela said, ‘You’d better add another woman to your team.’” And he did.

The 2019 Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon takes place on Sunday, with the ultra division starting at 7 a.m. and relay at 8 a.m.

This year Etzweiler, retired Penn State electrical engineering professor, has been training in his usual venue, the scenic upward, switchback-laden Lauren Run Road, just up the road from Tussey Mountain, where the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK race starts and finishes. He has been running the route three days a week with teammates Stephen Liadis and Jay Maynard. Two other days, Etzweiler works out at a local gym.

Etzweiler’s recent training also includes his June run of the all-ascending, 7.6-mile Mount Washington Road Race, where he even beat last year’s time by a full minute. Each of the two races seem to keep him in shape for the other.

Proceeds of this year’s Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK will support Centre Volunteers in Medicine, a State College based medical and dental clinic that provides access to primary and preventive care for qualifying individuals living or working in Centre County who live in surrounding counties.

Event details and registration information are available at or by calling 814-238-5918. To learn about volunteer opportunities, send an email to [email protected]. For more information about Centre Volunteers in Medicine, visit


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