Archetypes: Runner Bill Iffrig

The Boston Marathon icon and on staying young

(Annie Marie Musselman)
Photo: Annie Marie Musselman bostom marathon bill iffrig runner age 79 tips fitness

CV: Grew up in Everett, Washington. Married Donna Ayres in 1954. Worked in Everett-area pulp-and-paper mills for 42 years until he retired, in 1994, at 60. Completed the first of 45 marathons in 1976. In April, Iffrig, wearing a bright orange singlet, was nearly finished with his third Boston Marathon when he was knocked down by shock waves from a pressure-cooker bomb. A photographer captured him sprawled on his back, with three policemen standing above him and smoke filling the air, an image that went viral and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. Iffrig got up and staggered to the finish. “I would have crawled there if I had to,” he says. He finished with a time of 4:03:47.


Age: 79
Home: Lake Stevens, Washington
Job: Retired paper-mill worker, Boston Marathon icon

35: USA Track and Field national championships Iffrig has won in his age group.

Up Next: Another fall marathon—location TBD.

On Staying Young: “My parents loved to have a good time and drink too much. My mother died at 64, and my -father died at 67. They both could have lived so much longer. I have a beer once in a while, but I don’t abuse it. I’m going to stick with running. It’s kind of fun to win a lot.”

Filed To: Celebrities / Athletes / Sports
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