Bill Iffrig was 15 feet from finishing the Boston Marathon in April when the first bomb went off.
“I didn’t know what had happened,” Iffrig told KUOW. “You know the bomb went off and outside of the fact that it was loud, I didn’t really know what was going on. I was just befuddled by it. I didn’t know until much later what had really happened. ”
Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was 78 and finishing up his 45th marathon when the first bomb blasted. The bomb was a pressure cooker packed with explosives by brothers, Tamerlan and Jahar Tsarnaev.
A photographer from the Boston Globe newspaper was stationed at the finishing line and captured the moment after Iffrig fell: Air filled with white smoke, three police officers darting in three directions, a row of flags from a dozen countries lining the route and Iffrig, sinewy and strong in a red running tank top, thrown to the ground.
Iffrig’s wife Donna of nearly 60 years was watching the race on television in their hotel room. She saw him fall. But she didn’t see what happened next.
Iffrig got up. He finished the race, clocking in at 4:03. And the image captured by the Boston Globe photographer circled the world.
About an hour later there was a knock at the door.
“I thought it was probably the hospital or someone calling to tell me that he was hurt,” Donna Iffrig said. “And I started crying.”
It was Bill.
“I was so happy that he was okay,” Donna Iffrig said. “We both sat down in our chairs and cried.”
Three people were killed by the Boston Marathon bombings. Another 260 were injured.
Iffrig still runs every day. He said he might run the Boston Marathon again.
“I’m not going next year,” he said. “If I did ever go again, I’d wait. I’ll be 80, you see, in June. So I’d wait until I was 80 years old and come back because I’d have a better chance of not having so much competition.”