College of Business Administration studies say Akron Marathon fattens wallets, slims participants
An event can’t attract 15,000 participants and as many as 100,000 spectators without affecting a town’s collective wallet.
Last fall’s Akron Marathon saw $2.4 million spread around town, according to local economists in a report released Wednesday.
With nearly 52 percent of the athletes (and presumably their supporters) coming from outside Summit and Portage counties, that’s how much money exchanged hands in hotels, restaurants, gas stations, stores and other area businesses.
Throw in other indirect benefits — like the local athletes and families who stayed in town that day when another event might have lured their dollars away — and the coffer grows even more.
“This economic impact study illustrates how important holding large events can be to the local economy,” said Shawn Rohlin, who led the economic impact analysis at Kent State University’s Department of Economics. “In total, $6 million was spent or kept in the local economy due to the race.”
The study also concluded that the Akron Marathon was responsible for the creation of 87 jobs last year — a 45 percent increase over the previous year.
While area businesses saw their purses fatten, another study measured how participants slimmed down.
In addition to its iconic marathon, the event features a half-marathon, team relays with legs as small as 3.9 miles, and a one-mile kids fun run — so participants can be of any age and come in a wide range of physical conditions.
The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) conducted pre- and post-race surveys for a Health Impact Assessment and found a quarter of participants reduced their weight to the normal body mass index range.
There were also many reports that summer-long training helped runners improve other health conditions, such as reducing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Based solely on weight reduction, the Akron Marathon saved the region an estimated $1 million to $1.2 million in potential medical costs for 2013, the ABIA concluded.
“Akron and the surrounding communities are the lifeblood of our race, and we are proud of the ever-increasing impact the Akron Marathon has on our region,” Akron Marathon Executive Director Anne Bitong said. “Not only is the race a proven vehicle of economic growth, but it’s also improving our participants’ quality of life. That’s a win-win for everyone associated with the event.”
This year’s marathon will be held Sept. 27.