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Washington's Own Bill Iffrig A Reluctant Hero Of Boston Marathon Bombing

Jessica Robinson
Bill Iffrig

An elderly man from Lake Stevens has become a reluctant symbol of resilience in the face of terrorism. 

An image of 79-year-old Bill Iffrig, blown off his feet in an orange singlet near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, went around the world. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and interviewed for a 12-minute online documentary titled "The Finish Line." 

Credit John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe/AP Photo
The Boston Globe/AP Photo

"The whole place turned into chaos. There was people running all over everything, smoke going across the street and the smell of gunpowder in the air. It was weird," said Iffrig.

But he didn't see any reason not to get up.

"After I laid there a little while, a couple of guys came over and asked me how I was feeling. And I looked around my body, I couldn't see any blood or anything, and I was able to move everything. So I guess [I thought], 'Hey, get up and go for the finish line,'" he said.

Iffrig says he was “damn lucky" he only suffered some hearing loss and a muscle pull on his left side. He became renowned for getting up and finishing the race, and was even mentioned in a speech by the president.

Iffrig says he only started running in his 40s and intends to continue. He might run the Boston Marathon again in 2015, when he will be 80 years old. 

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to