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Bill Iffrig, subject of iconic "Boston Globe" photo:  "The shock waves hit my whole legs just started jittering around...I knew I was going down"
April 15th, 2013
10:06 PM ET

Bill Iffrig, subject of iconic "Boston Globe" photo: "The shock waves hit my whole legs just started jittering around...I knew I was going down"

Update: Since the conducting of this interview, "Sports Illustrated" has selected Tlumack's photo – featuring a fallen Iffrig – as the cover for it's upcoming issue.

As a tragic bombing in Boston leaves three people dead – including an eight-year-old boy – and more than 100 injured, on Monday "Piers Morgan Live" invited a collection of eyewitnesses and experts to share their individual insights and context.

As hundred of runners approached the finish line of the world famous Boston Marathon, a deafening explosion sent the event, and the day, into chaos.

In position to capture his traditional celebratory photos, John Tlumacki instead snapped an image that conveys an entirely different emotion:

Joining Piers Morgan, the "Boston Globe" photographer described the circumstances that lead to his picture:

"I was focused on a couple children coming over the finish line. And then the blast occurred, and everybody was just screaming," he explained.

"That runner who you're describing fell in front of me and then the Boston police officers that were near him started drawing their guns. It was just a panic on people's faces."

The gentleman to whom Tlumacki refers is Bill Iffrig, a 78-year-old veteran of 45 marathons. He too talked live with the host, explaining the course of events from his perspective:

"I got down to within 15 feet of the finishing apron and just tremendous explosion, sounded like a bomb went off right next to me," said the man from Lake Stevens, Wash. "The shock waves just hit my whole body and my legs just started jittering around. I knew I was going down and so I ended up down on the blacktop."

Watch the clip, and listen further, as Tlumacki describes some of the specific injuries he witnessed first-hand, going so far as to refer to it as "carnage."
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Filed under: The Big Story
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Martrese

    It was seeing Bill go down in the video that had me most upset about this. My 65-year-old father is a marathon runner, as are my brother and me. We know the feeling of being 15 feet from the end of 26.2. I so hoped Bill was OK.

    April 15, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sm

      I hope so too, God Bless1

      April 15, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • shepherdgregory

        II'm clearing the tables away,bottles under the bar,and ducking down just below the eyes.

        Go get 'im,sm...

        April 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JTH

      Bill was fine. He got up from the street and walked 6 blocks to his hotel. He then later appeared on CNN for an interview.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Bob M

        The real question is: did he finish?

        April 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • KH

      As soon this tragedy was aired to the pulblic – before we knew 3 people died – the first footage we see is a blast and a marathon runner falling. I was also worried about this gentlemen (now known as Bill). I pray for the families of the 3 that left us yesterday and those that are still in the hospital. I am personally thankful to hear that the runner we all saw fall is alright. My heart is still very heavy.......I hope to hell we find out who did this and give them the justice they deserve.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • shepherdgregory

        I hear you,KH:I wonder if we have another McVeigh out there,a renegade,def'ly a dirty bomb:ballbearings,nails,etc.inside.

        Tense time in London:Margaret Thatcher funeral tomorrow,and Marathon Sunday.

        April 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • mkat2

        We know who they are...... they are the sons of Satan regardless of nationality.

        April 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • may40

        Hate to disappoint you shepherdgregory but they are reporting (certainly not on this liberal site) that the technique used was found in an Al Qaeda magazine.

        You must be shocked and horrified?

        April 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Retired Army Officer

        May40....... the magic quote is:
        "similar to those believed the source of two explosions in Boston on Monday were published two years ago in Inspire".

        This means that this link is available to pretty much every person in this country with a computer for the past two years. He11......even YOU had the ability to make and plant these bombs.

        My point? Nothing in that USAToday story and nothing you have posted discounts the possibility of a 'home-grown', McVeigh type killer being responsible.

        April 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oscar

      3 people died and ur most upset at a runner who fell down becuase near the finish line because he and you share a commonality of running marathons?

      April 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rick Reber

      Bill was my scoutmaster and neighbor when I was growing up...He is/was a very kind , giving man and I am so glad he is still alive and kicking...way to go Bill...R L Reber

      April 16, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DJ

      Will run with my sister, Martrese, any day of the week. Nice work as always!

      April 16, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Leila Clark

    My mom, who died 2 years ago, was a marathoner from age 70 until age 81 and I just teared up when I saw this awful incident on the afternoon news. My condolences to the families who lost their loved ones, to those so terribly injured and anyone who witnessed this. "All we are asking is give peace a chance."

    April 15, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • shepherdgregory

      Nice to hear from you,Leila,your mom sounds amazing starting marathons that late in life,good for her.

      April 15, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ed

      Peace never happens by chance. Only when evil is made to pay a price it can't afford – then and only then does peace come about.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • James

        Ed, that is one of the saddest comments of the day. Really? Peace can only come by making evil pay a high enough price? Good luck with that approach! It hasn't worked in our relationships with with the Middle East and elsewhere around the world, and it does not work within our own borders. "Getting a bigger hammer" will never bring peace.

        April 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. donnaherold

    Why is no one paying attention to the apparent Facebook account that was set up 2 days ago indicating thoughts and prayers to the families of the Boston Explosions? What's wrong with your journalism? Can you not validate the site! At least get the police or FBI to look at it? This is nuts!
    Btw my twitter handle is @Donnajcherold n I sent the photo of the Facebook page to AC so did Dispatchdemon. I don't understand this! Someone check into it n let us now!
    Tank you!

    April 16, 2013 at 12:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • mwave

      Silly. Are you also saying this is a conspiracy?

      April 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • donnaherold

        Thanks for all the riveting comments! No not sure of anything! That was the reason for posting. I was notified and it's been passed on to someone much more qualified and concerned with this than any of you. Evidently there are officials who do think this is worth looking at closer. Remember the comment about nothing being to small or irrelevant. Ya that comment.
        Sorry for the inconvenience of you who have replied and not forced to read it, but chose to.
        Not going to justify anything to any of you. You can go away now. It's done!

        April 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fur Ball

      Speaking of nuts. Would you please not jam up the airwaves with your drivel?

      April 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DC1973

      Do you know that it takes about 45 seconds to change an existing Facebook page's name?


      Well, now you do.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mwave

      Did you know that one of the Sandy Hook Truther claims was that there was a pre-existing FB page? That these kids of things feed mistruth is obvious, it's a distraction, that's all. Just hoping you aren't here to push that agenda. Thx.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • donnaherold

        Im most definitely not trying to distract from the agenda! And frankly, by suggesting this, is offensive! Im also aware a site name can be change in seconds! The difference between the two sites is this site link was removed aprox 2 hours after the bombs went off. I merely felt it was important to bring it to someone's attention, as the FBI have said, nothing is to small or insignificant!
        My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this horrific act. We had friends running in that marathon, so please don't assume my intent is anything more than turning over something I found to be disturbing!
        I've been contacted, it's been handled. I'm done, now kindly leave me alone!
        Thank you!

        April 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • mwave

      Ok, thanks. Just asking because that's the kind of thing we don't need. I hope you see that as a fair question. I appreciate your response.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      Donna, Bwahahahahahaha... Because you READ it somewhere.. right... ???

      April 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • diana horton

        @rick. i think everyone should be able to comment with out having someone to make fun of them or put them down.
        donna has a right to express her thoughts. this was a awful thing that happened in boston. however i see you are not the only one on here and all should stop the b.s.

        April 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      I can't confirm this but I was told a fb group with under 200 likes can change their name.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jackie d

      in response to the discussion of the "facebook page" created a few days before the event took can create a page and change the name of it, therefore making it look like it was created a few days before the incident took place. same thing happened with the sandy hook massacre. damn conspiracy theories.

      April 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sam

      Because people are getting sick and tired of this Facebook nonsense.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nichael McCurdy

      She gotta stop reading those emails. And what's up with all the !!!!!!!!! ?

      April 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mike

    Bill is a great man, I know him personally, he was a cross country coach at my High School. i am glad he is ok, but my heart goes out to those who cannot say the same

    April 16, 2013 at 2:00 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Veikko

    In the end it does not matter if the person or people who did this were pro-gun or anti-gun, pro-abortion or anti-abortion, pro-feminist or anti-feminist, pro-this or anti-that. It does not matter what they did try to achieve with their act if anything. The way they chose to proceed their cause was not acceptable. As an organized society we have ways to deal with unacceptable behavior and we should stick to them. At the same time we should support the victims in any ways needed and refuse to be terrorized.

    April 16, 2013 at 3:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. CJD1965

    I'm so proud of this guy. 78 and still running and in great physical shape. I feel bad for him that the memory of such a great day has been tarnished for him by this explosion.

    April 16, 2013 at 7:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. louis

    security national first. Maybe north korea terrorist here. BE CAREFUL.

    April 16, 2013 at 10:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve in mo

      Scary thought about that, or even Al-Qaeda, means they've found a way to communicate and plan without detection. And worst of all would be NK sleeper cells going unnoticed.

      Still, way to early to speculate about anything. Could just as easily be an American extremist act, like a white supremacist group or lone wolf, or OWS affiliation, or who knows? Too early to tell.

      April 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Michael

        There may be some thugs involved in OWS, but actual terrorist attacks would be more in line with the Tea Party. They're constantly threatening secession/civil war/revolution whenever elections don't go the way that they would like.

        April 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • sm

        Yep! The far Right " TEA TARTY" is Seperatists and anti – American!!!! Hey Sarah!

        April 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jason B

        Michael, prove that. Who involved? How do you know? You don't know, it could be ANYONE. But typical kneejerk liberal reaction, blame the Tea Party that you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about beyond the CNN, MSNBC, Huffpo, NYT LIES! I'm not willing to concede it wasn't someone involved with them, but not going to single anyone out without proof. But nobody with the Tea Party has ever called for anything more than peaceful assembly; OTOH – proof has repeatedly shown OWS affiliates more than willing to destroy; in fact many want open revolution, just like the French Revolution, some even posting that here on other threads.

        It's just too early to tell or say anything.

        April 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • sm

        Yep Jason the Tea Party have been calling the rest of America losers and not worthy of living for more than four years! Rush Blabbermouth " I never abused pain pills", Sarah "im an Idiot", Hannity ' Lame Duck Whinner", and Bill " lets just calm down and avoid the Poor, their worthless" O'Whiley! The majorityOne Though!!! Ha!

        April 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • JTH

      @Michael That is ridiculous. I seem to remember all kinds of whining and crying when John Kerry lost.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. rob-in-austin

    This guy is one tough bird but I got to say I feel bad how he has been propped up in front of camera after camera when he has to be feeling some post traumatic stress despite what he says. We should be getting this cared for, not parading him around television. In the few interviews I heard, some last night, he was obviously still dazed, he said this morning that his ears still aren't right. Just doesn't seem like the right thing to do, hopefully he is also being cared for right now as well.

    April 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. DS

    I'm sorry that this 78 year old guy got blown off his feet towards the end of the finish yesterday. Someone helped him to his up and he crossed the finish line but I am getting tired of seeing his face plastered all over the news. He is okay. How about the names and stories of some of the victims?

    April 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ike

      Despite not being seriously inured, he was still a victim. I'm sure I speak for a lot of people who watched that video when I say I'm glad there are stories about him. I wanted to know he was alright. That doesn't take away from my caring about others who were injured or killed.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jp

    you guys can talkk politics and argue all day but woever did this is obviously sick, and i doubt it was an american. what i would like to know is how they planted bombs that big and no one noticed at all? and they said people have been threatening to bomb the race to begin with, wheres the security? Do people not notice anything? when they were going to bomb times square someone saw this guy was acting mad sus so they reported it. i just want to know how they got bombs that big so close to the marathon with no one saying anything

    April 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JTH

      They are saying that the bombs were in a 6 liter pressure cooker. Do a Google image search for one. You will see it's not that big. They were placed in a duffel bag. Can you imagine the volume of duffel bags at a race with 27,000 registrations and likely double or triple as spectators? Securing an event like this is not possible.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. American

    The blogging on here is borderline amusing. SM is illiterate, and it has turned into a pro-this or that discussion.

    People we live on a planet that is larger than the US. Speculation clouds our thoughts and the clarity of facts. Wait and see what is revealed. If it was outside terror, they will reveal when they are done to claim their glory. If it's home grown terror regardless of organization or belonging they may not be finished and can easily assume the sleeper posture, leaving the ability to do more damage laying in wait for their next target.

    Prayers to the families affected and for our Nation to heal. Together we stand, Divided we fall.

    April 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve in mo

      Well said. 🙂

      April 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • sm

        Illeterate, stop it! I'll go toe to toe with you or anybody on any subject. I'll get to your true personality and see if your a taker, giver, or useless!

        April 16, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve in mo

        Forget it sm, I'm done with you...reprobate minded fool

        April 16, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • sm

        Thanks man! I'll be talking too you soon

        April 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • sm

      Come on mr. literate. lets get down and dirty in some issues and see who you really are! Speak!

      April 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • shepherdoosiehowser

        I don't think you're illiterate,SM–you're the best contributor on here–you just haven't been whipped enough,but Mildred has
        The Rod Of Correction as we speak(and some refreshment),so if you'll just take up the position–Mildred,this might hurt me...

        April 17, 2013 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ceetee204

      " Together we stand, Divided we fall."
      My questions are;where do the citizens of America stand on this issue?Was this real or a false flag event?What are the ramifications of this event?
      I ask because from the outside looking in,it seems everybody is still not 100% in concert.
      And now your words have an ominous tone to them.Together we stand,Divided we fall...indeed.

      June 18, 2013 at 3:07 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. screwthem

    lets just kill every single one of tghem freaks...why dont they get in army fatugues and take on our marines??,,,yea i thought so u cowards...

    April 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • x1plus1x

      Who exactly do you mean by "tghem freaks"?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Curtis

    Why does a tragedy like this bring out the worst in some people. Like 9/11, conspiracy theorists are working overtime to come up with a story that fits their twisted views. The left and right are at each others throats blaming the other side for what happened. Let's stop reading between the lines and wait until the facts come out.

    April 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Just the Truth

    Until this nation turns back to God, this will continue to happen.

    April 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • x1plus1x

      How can you possibly know this to be true???

      Furthermore, why would you worship a god that kills children?

      April 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • aconventgirl

      JusttheTruth......spare us your nonsense!

      April 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Derek

        Just The Truth is just trolling.

        April 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Misha

    This photograph perfectly captures a terrorizing moment of shock and then immediate response. Amazing.

    April 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  16. david

    did u guys see the women cop from the left site when the second bomb when off she run run away back word she wasn't going to help ,,what a shame

    April 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ike

      Oh, I'm totally sure that's what happened. Were you there watching her? Don't be a dick.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve in mo

      So what? Everyone, regardless of their job or responsibility and even training, occasionally fails and lets themselves be overcome by their weakness. Only thing that mattered is if she stayed and helped, and I'm guessing she did. She deserves forgiveness for momentary weakness.

      April 16, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  17. steve

    all the sickening pacifist lib comments make me sick
    never would defend this country no matter what

    April 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • daniel

      Nothing more disgusting than the right-wing ghouls taking advantage of this tragedy to belittle "libs" and further divide our country.

      April 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Emmi

    I hope this man will be okay. My prayers are with the others, who were hurt and killed.

    April 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Judy

    After repeatedly seeing the clip of the man falling, I am really glad to see this interview and know he is ok. It was terribly disturbing that the news media (all of them) kept playing this one scene. We are praying for Martin Richard's family – especially his dad.

    April 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  20. D. Swanson

    It all boils down to this.... someone holds no respect for the dignity of life. Someone has no value for life. That person is filled with hate, and not with love. We don't care what color he/she is, what religion he/she is, what nationality he/she is. He/she is our brother/sister in this world, and has done a heinous and awful thing. We all hurt and grieve this action. Let's not escalate it to something other than just that.

    April 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RunnerZ

    What an attention hog!!! Him and his UGLY Orange tank top have GOTTA GO!

    April 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  22. shepherdorkagorytea&grumpets

    six of the best for SM!!!!!!

    April 17, 2013 at 7:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Melissa H

    One of the first things I noticed (& have waited to hear about) when I saw the video that shows Bill falling, is that he appears to deflect or catch a white object/projectile with his left hand. He actually reached out to the left,with his palm out. I cannot get that out of my mind...Is it something relevant to what happened? I honestly thought that his hand would have been seriously injure ...or worse.

    April 17, 2013 at 11:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
  24. ceetee204

    Here's a couple of small factoids either accidentally or on purpose,that have not been explored.Time of the initial blast/explosion was 2:49 E.D.T. and this reflected on the marathon clock as 4:09:43.Bill G. Iffrig is credited (through the official B.A.A. website ( ) as having finished the race with a time of 4:03:47.How could he have finished the race before the blast?Not only that,how about the Boston Globe coverage of the event.They show a man crossing the line a moment before the blast,he is identified through his bib number (19793) and using the official website again,we see that he finished with an official time of 4:08:27.What the heck??Please piers, make some sense of this.Thanks.

    June 18, 2013 at 2:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Rose Feldker

    Rattling nice pattern and fantastic content material, nothing at all else we need :D.

    August 20, 2013 at 10:37 am | Report abuse | Reply

    (A nurse who) obtained strangled certainly not described it towards the law enforcement, and we weren't allowed to make any on the general public conscious on the violence that we . come up versus mainly because then we could wind up in courtroom.

    November 25, 2013 at 4:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
  27. In Home Personal Training Long Island

    What a tragic weekend in the world, They stuck and event that people were attending to better themselves an event were people were running for causes. The people that were hurt were supporting the runners. The people they killed had nothing to do with the so called cause that drove
    them to kill. What a waste!
    One down one to go!

    December 8, 2013 at 12:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Sharda Mohair

    My partner and I have never had any problems with FeelTHePressure in well over eight years, I recently began using their THermoTec service {|

    August 3, 2019 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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