When 78-year-old runner Bill Iffrig, the runner in the orange singlet -- or the Fallen Man, as this website called him in a blog post written just minutes after the bombing -- was knocked off his feet by an explosion a few yards from the finish of the 2013 Boston Marathon, he was unwittingly thrust into an international media spotlight. Video images of the bomb's shock wave buckling Iffrig's knees and sending him sprawling beamed around the world in an instant. The iconic photo of Iffrig on the ground with three policeman hovering over him became the signature image of the event and landed on the cover of that week's issue of Sports Illustrated.
But those pictures recorded a mere fraction of the story. And they certainly didn't reflect the whole of Bill Iffrig. What they didn't show was what happened next: Iffrig, a retired mill worker from Lake Stevens, Wash., got up, checked himself for blood, and finished the race. Despite losing hearing in his left ear and suffering a right quadriceps injury, the runner got up and put one foot in front of the other, and did what he came to Boston to do. He finished fourth in his age group.
Iffrig is no mere runner. He has won some 35 national age group championships at various distances despite the fact that he only discovered running relatively late in life, in his late 30s. He has logged more than 46,000 miles on the roads and trails near his home, and says he runs for the feeling of accomplishment he feels when a run is over.
In The Finish Line, the latest short documentary from Sports on Earth Films, filmmakers Jason Reid and Adam Brown present a complete portrait of a man whose image came to represent a city and an event struck by tragedy, and whose actions after the bombing, and in fact during his entire life, demonstrate the tenacity of a region, and of a single man.