[Editor’s Note: In the men’s division of the 2014 Boston Marathon, run April 21, American Meb Keflezighi, 39, won with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 37 seconds. He was the oldest winner since at least 1930. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya defended her women’s title, with a course record of 2:18:57.]
As Boston transforms its annual marathon into an affirmation of strength, renewal and healing this year, I can’t help remembering last year’s “Fallen Man” who wouldn’t stay down. Blown off his feet by the first of two explosions, runner Bill Iffrig, then 78, was helped up by race attendants in the ensuing chaos, and thought to himself: “Hey, go for the finish line.” That’s just what he did.
The Finish Line is the title of a short film on Iffrig and his love of running just released at Sports on Earth, an online partnership between Major League Baseball and USA Today Sports. You can watch the film below. (It’s about 12 minutes long and starts after a short commercial.)
Related: Key to Boston Marathon Survivor’s Recovery Was Support, Determination
In the film, Iffrig’s perseverance and courage are celebrated by President Obama, who used the runner’s moment in the spotlight to make a larger point about Boston and the country in the wake of the bombing: “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.” The president will lead the nation in a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. Tuesday for the three people killed and hundreds wounded at that moment a year ago.
Iffrig, who suffered a muscle injury in the blast, still hasn’t recovered the hearing in his left ear. Although he won’t run in Boston on April 21, he’s staying in shape with daily runs and monthly races and is thinking about returning in 2015 to celebrate his 81st year.
“I’m gonna do it as long as I can,” he says in the film, “because it makes me feel good and it’s good for my health.”
Credit: Index image: Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
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