This past weekend, Chicago was host to 36,000 runners for the annual Chicago marathon. 36,000 at $90 each is a lot of money. Big marathons are big business these days.
A good article from the Associated Press asks whether these big marathons are losing their charm and are just becoming money making machines. The numbers of people entering the races is growing at a nice steady rate and with the growth comes more cash and credit cards out of hiding.
Sure the money raised by the entrance fee goes towards the race cost and associated charity groups, but think about all the money that the race entrants and families bring with them for outside of the run.
The article discusses how more than half of the runners are from outside of town and as such, tourism takes a huge upswing during the race. From hotels to breakfast buffets, the city is packed like a pickle jar.
The article points out that beyond the money injected into the local economy, “marathoners also tend to have more spending power than average, and so are ideal targets for many companies’ goods and services, hawked at the fitness expos held near the marathon date.” Lots of money exchanges hands and no doubt organizers are looking for additional ways to exploit this for larger revenues.
It’s an interesting article and worth a read, especially as we get on our way into marathon and race season.