Marathon triple-delight for Boston economy

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April 12, 2013, 7:51 pm
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(NECN: Peter Howe, Boston) - Preparing to run her third marathon in Boston Monday, Jill Hadley of Huntsville, Alabama, is doing her share – and then some – for the Boston visitor economy, bringing her husband, Brian, and mom and dad as a cheering section.

"We’re going to splurge," said Hadley, who’s the marketing manager at a sporting goods shop called Fleet Feet, as her foursome enjoyed lunch at the Hampshire House bar. Her mother, Janie Koch, said she was looking for to "a lot of good food" and predicted when it comes to spending, "Several hundred – times four" dollars.

Brandon Gillingham, of Pittsburgh, has been up for five previous Boston Marathons as a spectator and race volunteer and this year is back to run his first one, hopefully in less than 2 hours and 40 minutes.

"We’ll hit somewhere different every night, have some fun," Gillingham said, expecting it would probably be an occasion to spend "maybe $700, $800 at least – maybe a little more. We’ll see."

Mike Stark of Charleston, S.C., hadn’t even realized it was marathon weekend when he booked a trip and was sure his contribution to the local economy would be "easily – easily a couple of hundred bucks, and that's probably a low figure. It's going to be quite a bit for sure."

And Sherri Will of Santa Barbara, Calif., celebrating her 21st wedding anniversary, had a plan to open her husband’s wallet: "Some shopping, I’m hoping – that’s why we’re hitting Cheers and the bars first, and then we do the splurging after that," she joked.

Add it all up, and you can begin to imagine how experts at the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau counted the Boston Marathon financial impact last year at $137.5 million, including $92 million spent by runners and guests and $12 million by spectators. Of the over 26,000 runners, 16 percent came in from outside the U.S., not to mention the economic benefit of 1,000 media staff from 200 news outlets.

All the sweeter for Boston’s bars, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses after a grueling long winter: Besides the traditional Patriots Day home game at Fenway Park for the Red Sox, the Bruins are in town Monday night playing the Ottawa Senators – that estimated by the GBCVB to be worth typically $850,000 to $1 million per game, potentially more on a holiday when people can come into town early for a pre-game meal and rounds of drinks.

With videographer John J. Hammann

Tags: Boston, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, Peter Howe, Boston Marathon, Boston economy, Boston Marathon economic impact
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