Destination marathons, ‘fun runs’ impact tourism’s bottom line

November 5, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Nearly 17,000 runners are expected for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday (Nov. 7).

The economic impact is estimated in the millions ($2-3 million potential). Jonathon Day, a Purdue University associate professor of hospitality and tourism management, said the event gives tourism a boost for Central Indiana.

Runners and spectators patronize shops, restaurants, hotels and related businesses over the course of a single weekend.

“Destination marathons provide tremendous economic benefit to host communities. The Boston Marathon, for example, rivals the economic impact of an NCAA Final Four. Athletes travel from all over the country and world to participate. The impact on tourism is extraordinary,” Day said.

The economic boost is not limited to large, international events. Smaller, holiday-themed running events during November and December also boost spending for communities across the state.

“The turkey trots and reindeer runs may attract fewer participants, but the tourism impact adds up. It is an increasingly popular form of recreation that enhances community quality of life while creating local economic benefits from visitors and tourism,” Day said.

Writer: John Hughey, 765-494-2432,

Source: Jonathon Day, 765-496-2084,

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