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Big Sur Marathon Pumps $30M Into Local Community

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Aug. 4, 2011
Photo: Running USA

Photo: Running USA

A first-ever economic impact report provides key information about the contributions.

From: Running USA

CARMEL, Calif. – (August 2, 2011) – A newly published study of the 2011 Big Sur International Marathon reveals the event’s strong economic impact on Monterey County. Race weekend spending and marathon-related income accounted for $18,139,252 in spending and indirect expenses. Combined with Big Sur Half Marathon results of $8,742,666 from a 2010 study, along with estimated figures from the annual Mud Run, the non-profit organization’s total economic impact approaches $30 million in annual event-related spending.

“We’ve known our events have a significant impact on the local community through the sheer numbers of out-of-town runners we draw, but now we have the positive data to support our claims,” stated Wally Kastner, race director for the non-profit Big Sur Marathon organization. “Our event, which is ranked as one of the top three marathons in the nation by Runner’s World magazine, coupled with an unequalled volunteer organization and total community support, is now measurable in dollar impact.”

Both the 2010 half-marathon and 2011 full marathon studies were conducted by Scott Minto, director of the Sports MBA program at San Diego State University. The Sports MBA program at SDSU has performed economic impact analysis reports for numerous endurance events, including marathons and half-marathons in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Nashville and Virginia Beach.

“Of the economic impact studies I’ve overseen for various sporting events, the Big Sur International Marathon is notable for its extraordinarily high average income among race participants,” Minto said. “With an average annual household income exceeding $156,000, this is clearly a special event that draws an affluent participant base.”

The economic impact analysis included key factors such as the number of runners and the full travel party size, the hotel spend and average stay, daily spending, municipal taxes and fees, revenues and local spending by the Big Sur Marathon organization, local Expo vendor sales, rental car expenditures, and indirect and induced impact from the event.

Lodging figures for the full marathon totaled an estimated $3,100,850, while the half-marathon lodging figures totaled $1,216,336. Collectively the two events accounted for an estimated $4,317,186 and 18,496 room nights. Daily expenditures by out-of-town visitors included dining, groceries and beverages, as well as retail shopping, ground transportation and entertainment. Marathon daily expenditures were $4,776,410 and half-marathon expenditures were $2,413,323. Below is a breakdown of the combined top-line figures calculated:

  • Direct Spending = $15,329,845
  • Indirect & Induced Impact = $11,552,073
  • Taxes & Fees Generated = $1,324,678
  • Total Hotel Room Nights = 18,496
  • Total Visitors = 20,311

Total Economic Impact = $26,881,918

The indirect and induced figures account for an important percentage of the overall economic impact results. Indirect economic impact is an estimate of the total value of services and supplies necessary to support the tourism-related businesses that serve out-of-town visitors for the event. Induced economic impact is an estimate of the labor income generated by event-related spending.

Of the 9,109 participants queried for the 2011 Big Sur Marathon, 2,587 responded to the online survey, a 28.4% response rate. The 2010 Half Marathon had a similar high response rate of 23.7%.

“The impressively high response rates for the post-race surveys, in addition to providing a statistically significant sample size for analysis, demonstrates that event participants are very committed to follow-up from the event,” said Minto.

The non-profit Big Sur Marathon organization will be sharing these findings with city and county officials within the coming months. In addition, the staff will further publicize the “Runner Friendly Community” designation that was awarded to the Monterey Peninsula by RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) this past spring.

Kastner adds, “Though the Big Sur course and logistical constraints prohibit further marathon growth, we will continue controlled growth of both the half-marathon and Mud Run which will further increase our economic impact. We also plan to enhance our operational support of running and fitness events throughout the community.”

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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