Roanoke marathon continues to have economic kick
The economic impact of Roanoke’s annual marathon continues to grow.
The seventh annual Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon attracted 1,844 runners, generating more than $592,000 in economic impact according to a participation study prepared by the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission. That economic impact represents an increase of 6.5 percent from last year.
In addition to a marathon, April’s event included a half marathon and a 10K race.
Since its beginning, the event has made a total economic contribution of more than $3.2 million.
A post-race survey found that the April races created $339,911 in direct new sales activity, plus an additional $252,493 in indirect and induced spending.
The economic impact is larger this year as a result of an increased number of participants from outside the Roanoke area, the study says. The number of runners participating from outside the region accounted for more than half of race participants.
The race drew runners from 38 states – in addition to the District of Columbia – and eight countries: Afghanistan, Brazil, Haiti, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom.
“The study shows that this race is steadily becoming a destination event, counting dollars brought to the region from outside the area. In addition, the race helps more people experience the Roanoke Region’s outdoor amenities,” Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership, said in a statement. “That awareness helps reaffirm our reputation as an outdoor destination leading to economic development.”
Survey respondents were asked to report the amount spent on fuel, meals, lodging, miscellaneous retail purchases, and admissions while in Roanoke.
More than 39 percent of all survey respondents reported staying in town for at least one night. Approximately 35 percent stayed between one and two nights. The average length of stay among overnight visitors was 1.7 nights.
About 46 percent of respondents reported traveling with family or friends, with an average of 1.9 additional people in the travel party among overnight visitors. Day-trip visitors traveled with an average of 0.5 others.
The race course started in downtown Roanoke and climbed to the top of Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain along sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway for a total elevation change of 7,430 feet, making it America’s Toughest Road Marathon.
The 2017 races are set for April 22 – Earth Day.
To view the full report, visit www.blueridgemarathon.com/economic-impact-2016.