Lake Stevens Marathoner Recounts Boston Marathon Explosions

Apr 16, 2013

A 78-year-old runner from Lake Stevens was finishing the Boston Marathon just as the explosions went off. Bill Iffrig talked about his experience with KUOW’s Weekday today.

Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens, Wash. had fallen to the ground after an explosion near the Boston Marathon finish line when a second blast drew the attention of police on Monday.
Credit John Tlumacki / Boston Globe

  The images of the senior runner being knocked down by the first explosion and then getting up to finish the race have gone viral.

Iffrig says he was about 20 feet away from the end of the race when the shockwaves buckled his legs.

“I’m wondering 'hey, maybe this is the end, maybe it’s happened to me,'" Iffrig says. "But anyway I started coming back to life there, I started moving around a little bit, everything seemed to be working all right, and at that time guys were coming over and talking to me and asking if I was ok. So finally they helped me up and we continued on and I went up and crossed the finish line cause I was so close to it.”

Iffrig says it was important to him to complete the marathon.

“Oh yeah, after you spend the whole day out there you know, 26 miles, and then, the thing on my mind for the whole day was to finish, so I naturally wanted to do that, and I didn’t have anything that was bothering me, no reason why I shouldn’t.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says Iffrig is a perfect metaphor for the nation.

“You know we take these blows and get back up and finish the race. That’s a pretty good inspirational message for the country," Inslee says. "And we might have get the Iffrig award to award him for the state of Washington. It really is an inspirational story for the country.”

Inslee says he has deep admiration for Iffrig. The Governor also says there is no evidence of any threat directed toward the state of Washington.

For his part Iffrig says he’s not sure if he’ll run another marathon.

“Oh, I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.”

Copyright 2013 KUOW