Tuesday, April 16, 2013

78-year-old man knocked down by explosion managed to finish Boston Marathon

The elderly man captured on video getting knocked flat on his back — at the moment the first blast went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday — and John Tlumacki's dramatic photo have become two of the most viewed images of the tragedy.  Now the man's face has come to represent the spirit and determination to overcome this senseless crime after he got up and finished the race.

Bill Iffrig, the 78-year-old man in the orange tank top was knocked off his feet just yards from the finish line when the first explosion detonated, said his legs turned to "noodles" from the force of the blast after running four hours in his third Boston Marathon.

As Boston cops, race volunteers and spectators scattered for safety and to help others, Iffrig was helped up by a race official and managed to cross the finish line.

Last night he told ESPN how he knew he was "going down" when he was knocked over by the explosion and knew it was a bomb.

"It was only....feet away from me," he said.  "It was really loud."

He said he was heading for the finish line and "feeling pretty good" when he heard a terrible explosion.

"The shockwaves must have hit my body and my legs just started going like noodles and I knew I was going down right there," he said.

"My legs just gave out," he told CNN Monday night. He said most of the runners just kept on going, but he went down because he was nearest the blast.

He said he never lost consciousness but described how he "woke up" a little later and saw what he believed to be a part of a bomb nearby.

Mr Iffrig said what he saw was a casing that looked like a coffee can, but added: "Then all this smoke was coming from someplace, and I wasn't able to see too much."

When a race official came to help him, Iffrig struggled to his feet and managed to cross the finishing line.

Hopefully, viewers who watched the footage of the first blast will be happy to know what happened to to Iffrig, who appeared seriously hurt as he crumpled to the ground. 

"After you've run 26 miles, you're not going to stop there," said the veteran of 45 marathons.

Iffrig's words and actions are lessons and metaphors for everyone who is affected by this sort of cowardly violence and when sports and the real world meet. Don't let it stop us from getting up and breaking the tape.


  1. So, in other words, this man decided to finish the race as opposed to doing the smart thing and running for cover or the selfless thing and helping someone else. Let me guess, he's going to be labeled a hero by the media.

    1. Really? because running opposite of the finish line was a better idea seeing as how that was the direction of another blast. Get a life you moron....hmm run towards original blast, run towards another blast, or run across the line for cover, you be the judge. You should have been next to the blast with a comment like that.

    2. I real feel they should have allowed all the runners who wanted to finish, to be able to finish. We need to NOT let this horrible act of violence, terrorize us. If we let it terrorize us, and we run or we hide, then we are doing exactly what the terrorists want. We need to say, screw them, and go about our daily lives.

  2. Mr anonymous you better stay that way. Would you like us to KYN or KYL. Plain and simple A hole

  3. You are a jack ass. In the heat of the moment in a situation like that, people react all kinds of ways. Were you there? Do you know for sure how you would react after a bomb went off a few feet away from you? He decided to get back up and accomplish his goal, what's the problem? How do you know he wasn't "running for cover" as you put it and decided to go in the direction of the finish line. After running 26 miles and being completely exhausted and being 78 years old, it is hard to say how any of us would react. He should be admired.

  4. What an idiot..............hard to believe the comments from Anonymous #1.

  5. Knock off the "Anonymous"(regardless of the number) screen name. Get a real screen name.....like "Brilliant Commentator" or "George Bush" (no, the bomb was NOT GW's fault!) or "Slick Willie" or "BO the Great Spender," etc. As a former marathon runner.....30 years and 50 pounds ago, I can promise you may not have the sharpest mental faculties at the finish line. And then you have bomb effects to contend with? Give the guy a break!

  6. We are all entitle to an opinion...my guess is that 78 year old runner had no idea to the full ocnsequences. If you recall from the video...believe he was the only person that went down...like many I had wonder his conditions..it was a pleasant surprise that he appears physically ok...I can't but wonder the nighmares that will follow for all that were so close...lets hope and pray for all the injured and there families the responsible can be found soon.

  7. Sounds to me like anonymous is a bit of a discouraged individual. I haven't run one race in my life,written a book, or had anything close to the 5 min.s of fame so many crave. That is really fine with me. I don't think it is for anonymous. I'm pleased a 78 yr old survived , finished the race and didn't let anything stop him. Good for him. He was likely not strong enough to help anyone at the time anyway.

  8. Running away would have been "giving-in" to the people who tried to cause this terror. Continuing to run to finish the impressive achievement of completing a Marathon to me, seems the most honorable act. It means not letting the terrorist win!!! I am very impressed with his action and hope that if I am ever tested in this way, I could give the terrorist the Proverbial "Finger" and complete the race also!

  9. Anonymous 1 - so a 78 year old man gets knocked down by the blast of a bomb planted by terrorist, then gets right back up, and finishes the race. That's exactly what we need right now. To show the terrorist that they may knock us down but we will get right back up and keep fighting to the finish line. All you did was prove that you are a jackhole!! Kudos to the old man for keeping on fighting.