On the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, filmmakers are telling the story of a Lake Stevens man whose experience in the race and in life they say demonstrates “the tenacity of a region, and of a single man.”
Bill Iffrig came to national attention after a photograph of him knocked to the ground 20-feet from the finish line the day of the Boston bombing began appearing online, in newspapers, and on magazine covers around the country.
“The Finish Line,” a documentary short by Sports on Earth Films tells the story of how Iffrig came to be at the Boston Marathon that day. How he took up running, a little late in life, around age 40, and kept running long after many of his peers.
“Not too many people that are my age are still going doing a running career,” says Iffrig in the film. “Most of the runners that I knew in my 50s or back in my 60s, they’re gone.”
The competition with other runners and himself has kept him going.
“I keep pushing on because hey I’ve got to beat that guy behind me, and the next race I’m going to beat my time a little bit. I don’t even think about the age. If I can go a little faster and take another ten seconds off my time and beat a couple people, it’s just the fun of it.”
Iffrig’s tenacious spirit was on full display on race day April 15, 2013. After being knocked to the ground by the explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Iffrig still got up and finished the race.
President Obama even highlighted Iffrig’s efforts in trying to inspire the rest of the country.
“Like Bill Iffrig, 78-years-old, the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast,” said Obama in a speech, “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.”
Although he lost hearing in his left ear and sustained a muscle injury in his leg due to the bombing, Iffrig has kept up with his running with 10 to 15 mile runs three times a week. He says he may even return to Boston to compete in the 2015 marathon at age 80.