The cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated is a powerful tribute to all those connected to Monday’s explosions near the Boston Marathon’s finish line.
The runner on the ground is Bill Iffrig, 78, of Lake Stevens, Wash. His story has been well-covered in local and national media, including this story from The Seattle Times. (And yes, he was on the front page of our newspaper Tuesday morning.)
What also sticks out in my mind is the interview Iffrig did with CNN’s Piers Morgan Monday night. The retired carpenter and avid marathoner shared first-hand what he felt in those moments following the first blast. He was offered a wheelchair but opted to cross the finish line — about 15 feet from where he fell — on his own two feet. Horrific events turn everyday people into heroes and role models.
Watch the interview below, then scroll down for a couple other thoughts:
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It’s not just Iffrig’s stoic nature in the interview that soothed my anger over this senseless act. Here’s a guy who ran right past an explosion, yet he got right back up and kept on moving. He was lucky to get out of there with a minor injury to his leg. Iffrig says fear won’t prevent him from attempting more marathons, even if he admitted to Morgan there’s no guarantee something as horrific as Monday’s acts of terror won’t happen again.
He certainly didn’t ask for the hoopla surrounding that instantly iconic photo of him struggling on the ground, but the attention is well-deserved. The veteran athlete experienced a human moment. He’s OK. Maybe the rest of us will be fine, too.
We should feel proud to call Bill Iffrig a runner from Washington state.