As millions of people around the country were glued to their television and computer screens during last week’s Boston Marathon they were witness to the first explosion going off as several runners were nearing the finish line.
One of those runners, Bill Iffrig, 78, of Lake Stevens was seen falling to the ground just before reaching the finish line and after running for just over four hours.
Just seconds later another blast was felt a few short blocks away.
For the last three years, Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Washington, has journeyed the 3,075 miles, from his corner of the world, to Boston, Massachusetts to run in the marathon.
Pictures of Iffrig and the explosion immediately went viral. Concerned neighbors and friends were relieved to hear Iffrig had minor injuries and would be all right.
Tyler Tarailo, one of Iffrig’s long time neighbors, has known Iffrig, and his wife, Donna, since he was a small boy.
“I was happy to hear Bill is alright,” said Tarailo. “He is a really good guy, always there to help. I am excited for him to come home. It’s kind of weird not seeing him across the fence, out working in his yard, smiling and waving.”
Iffrig has been running most of his life and fellow runner Vance Armstrong, who grew up in Everett and was also a runner said of Iffrig, “Bill Iffrig was a Viking runne—tough as nails, dedicated to miles of training rain, hail, sleet or sunshine.”
Iffrig has been on the cover of several newspapers and magazines and has made guest appearances on news stations and even “Piers Morgan” answering questions about that tragic day.
That toughness and endurance has shown through this past week as this almost 80-year-old man not only survived a bomb blast but also the media circus that has come with it and then came home and mowed his yard.
The Lake Stevens Journal will be sitting down with Iffrig this week for a more in-depth interview. Watch next week’s paper for that interview.