Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, Half Marathon, and Anthem Star 10K generated a record $835,618 in economic impact in 2019 and contributed $15,750 to nonprofits.
Ten years. Five million dollars. That’s the contribution of the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon as more racers brought more money to the Roanoke Region’s economy.
More than 3,050 runners registered for Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, double marathon, half marathon, relay, Anthem Star 10K, and Carilion Family 1-Miler as well as the new Sunday Slow-K. The event generated a record single-year total of $835,618 in economic impact according to an analysis by the Roanoke Regional Partnership.
Over the past 10 years, the event – which is put on by the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Outside Foundation – has contributed $5,337,676 to the regional economy. “When we started the marathon, we knew it would benefit the community, and we’re pleased with not only how the race has grown but also how it’s been able to contribute to the region as a whole,” said Pete Eshelman of the Roanoke Outside Foundation.
A post-race survey determined the April 13 races created $478,105 in direct new sales activity, plus an additional $357,513 in indirect and induced spending for a total of $835,618 – up 21 percent over 2018. Activity surrounding the event will also support 10 jobs in the regional economy over the period of one year.
Increases represent growing participation in the race, adding a second running event on Sunday, a higher number of overnight stays, and out-of-town attendance of the Down by Downtown Music Festival presented by Wells Fargo, which coincides with race weekend.
“It’s been 10 years, and it’s amazing how impactful the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon is on our region,” said Foot Levelers CEO Kent S. Greenawalt. “Each year we see more and more people visit our area to be a part of this great event. We see increased exposure, increased economic impact, and we continually hear stories of how people move to the area after taking part. That’s what it’s all about.”
The number of runners participating from outside the Roanoke Region accounted for 54 percent of race participants with a 9 percent increase in the number of people who stayed overnight for the race. The average length of stay among overnight visitors was 1.9 nights. The race drew runners from 44 states and seven countries.
This year, $15,750 in proceeds from the marathon went to 19 nonprofits that supported runners before, during, and after the race. Add it all up and the Roanoke Outside Foundation has donated $200,750 to dozens of local organizations as a result of the Blue Ridge Marathon.