Economic impact of Roanoke marathon grows 26 percent

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The economic impact of the annual Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon and Half Marathon in Roanoke grew 26.3 percent this year, according to a new survey.

The race, billed as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon,” made an economic impact of $476,370 this year, according to a survey by the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

The total included $295,678 in direct sales activity and $180,691 in indirect and induce spending.

“The races and the visitors they attract reinforce awareness of the Roanoke region’s outdoor amenities and reaffirm that our growing reputation as an outdoor destination lead to economic development,” Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the partnership, said in a statement.

The race included 1,684 runners that came from 38 states, Canada, Germany, England and Ethiopia. About 67 percent of runners were from Virginia.

The participant survey said 44 percent stayed in a hotel in the area for at least one night, and 36 percent stayed between one and two nights. About 46 percent of respondents said they traveled with family or friends.

The race starts in downtown Roanoke and runs to the top of Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain on sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The course includes an elevation change of 7,234 feet.

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