The Greene County Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates that the economic impact of this weekend’s Air Force Marathon festivities to the region will be $12.7 million.
Fairborn and Beavercreek are the cities that will benefit the most from all the visitors.
More than 30,000 runners and supporters from all 50 states and 20 countries are in town this weekend for the marathon, which starts and ends today at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
An after-party is scheduled tonight at The Greene, capping off a three-day event that also included a Sports and Fitness Expo Thursday and Friday at the Nutter Center, a 5K race Friday night, and a half marathon and 10K today.
“A $12.7 million impact in three days is a significant piece of business with us,” said Allen Stebelton, sales manager for the GCCVB. “It’s right up there with the biggest events in the area.”
Air Force officials said this week they are prepared for the influx of people. All visitors and hand-carried items will be screened, a spokesman for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base said. Visitors are requested to minimize the number of bags and items brought into the grounds.
“Safety and security are absolute top priorities for the Air Force Marathon,” said John Klemack, spokesman for Wright-Patterson Air Force base, in a statement. “We have extensive plans to ensure a successful event. Our base security professionals work hand-in-hand with local community police departments to implement a variety of security protocols.”
The economic impact estimate was calculated based on last year’s data, convention and visitor’s bureau officials said.
Last year’s total attendance was 30,100, with 60 percent of that figure considered non-local — someone who travels more than two hours is more likely to spend money for gas, hotels and restaurants.
The average length of stay is two days, and an estimated 75 percent of non-locals stay in a hotel, which was 13,545 people last year. Additionally, The Greene reported a 13.5 percent increase in sales the day of last year’s after-party — its first year hosting that event.
“An important piece in all this is how many people come from outside the area,” Stebelton said. “They spend the most money.”
Stebelton said the areas that receive the biggest payoff are Fairborn and Beavercreek, but then the economic impact “starts to diminish the further away you get.”
Marathon participants run through downtown Fairborn during the ninth mile of the race.
“It really helps us highlight our community,” Fairborn City Manager Deborah McDonnell said. “Because we’re able to accommodate the marathon itself through our downtown, it helps all of our businesses. Downtown is the heart and soul of our community.”
Another beneficiary is Wright State University, which was expected to have between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors at the Expo. The university also hosted Friday night’s 5K race that drew 2,000 runners.
“It’s not a huge economic impact for us, but it’s a great opportunity to showcase Wright State,” said Jim Brown, executive director of the Nutter Center. “It’s more about community — doing something that’s good and working with the military.”
This year’s Air Force Marathon is the largest ever, with a record 15,000 participants total. It completely sold out in record time.
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