In a couple days, the name Bill Iffrig will drift away and be forgotten – that’s if you even learned it in the first place.
If the name Iffrig doesn’t sound familiar, his image – at least the back of him and his orange running bib – probably does.
In the minutes following Monday’s tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon, one of the first, powerful images to filter through the noise of social media was that of Iffrig – knocked to the ground – surrounded by three Boston policeman via Globe photographer John Tlumacki.
The picture said it all: confusion, anger, horror, shock. It’s all there.
What the picture doesn’t tell is that the 78-year-old Iffrig – about 15 feet of the finish line – completed the race despite being dazed by the explosion. Hours later, Iffrig recounted what happened to him to national television cameras, including ESPN’s Steve Levy. What’s striking is how matter-of-fact Iffrig is describing what it felt like to be finishing a 26.2 mile race one second and the next blown off your feet from an explosion.
Iffrig’s story helps serves as a reminder to an old adage: the race isn’t always won by the swift but by those who keep on running.
Maybe that’s a little corny or too motivational poster-y for most cynics nowadays, but it’s a nice thought to keep in mind in light of the awful events that occurred in Boston on Patriots’ Day 2013.