The Bank of America (
) Chicago Marathon is one of the largest running events in the
world, drawing over 40,000 runners from across the world
. Only the New York City Marathon draws more runners. Friends,
family, and running enthusiasts come from all parts of the globe to
watch the participants' 26.2 mile journey through 29 Chicago
neighborhoods. The Chicago NBC affiliate
the number of spectators to an estimate of 1.7 million for the 2014
That number is more than likely to increase for the event on
Sunday, October 11
- maybe even reaching the 2 million spectator mark. Many of the
participants and spectators are not from the city. According to
data for the 2013 Chicago Marathon per a
, over 10,000 of the participants, or 23% of the field, were from
outside the US, coming from 129 different countries. Mexico was the
top country with 2,375 participants, and Canada was second with
Regarding participants from other US states, the previous
article mentions that Indiana, Michigan, New York, and California
were the top 4 states with the most participants outside of
Illinois. Those numbers were 1,360, 1192, 1155, and 1,074
The amount of out-of-state, both national and international,
individuals involved with the Chicago Marathon generate serious
tourism-related revenue figures. According to a
performed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's
Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, the 2013 Bank of
America Chicago Marathon generated "$253.49 million in total
business activity to the Chicago economy," which is an "equivalent
of 1,742 full-time jobs and $85.94 million worth of wages and
salary income." Furthermore, the economics lab reported the
marathon itself "directly contributed to an estimated $101.8
million distributed among the main sectors of the tourism industry,
in addition to another $151.7 million in indirect activity."
Whether this "equivalency" directly contributed to full-time
jobs for workers after the marathon is rather debatable. However,
local business owners, hotels, gratuity-reliant jobs, and the city
of Chicago via sales tax revenues, did and will see more moneys
pumped into the local economy - primarily in the downtown
neighborhoods of The Loop, West Loop, and River North.
The Chicago Marathon each year does provide an increase of
monies into the local economy from non-Chicago residents, and if
that $250 million is reinvested into the community, it will promote
more growth and opportunity for many individuals.
Another way the Chicago Marathon impacts the community is
. The marathon hosts thousands of runners who will run on behalf of
a charity of their choosing. In 2014, there were over
10,000 charity runners
whom participated in the marathon on behalf of over 190 charities -
local, national, and global.
A close friend of mine is a charity runner for a local
, Chicago's largest no-kill animal shelter, so I am rather familiar
of how the process works. When an individual runs for a charity, he
or she gets a guaranteed spot in the marathon and do not have to
enter the lottery.
To receive this guaranteed spot, the individual must collected a
set number of funds for the charity. In the case of running for
, pre-lottery members have to raise a minimum of $1,000 and post
lottery members have to raise $1,500 in order to have their spot
secured. Some charities will also reimburse the runner the marathon
registration fee once their goals are met.
At a minimum, the 10,000 charity runners raising $1,000 each
generates $10 million for local, national, and global charities.
These millions of dollars are directly impacting many communities,
especially Chicago ones. The funds generated from these charitable
donations help improve the lives of loved ones, improve the local
neighborhood, or even generate some jobs for these
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a many official and
. There are a few sponsors who should be seeming positive bumps in
revenue from the spectacle that is the event. Nike (
) is an official sponsor for the marathon. They have a
line of apparel
specifically for this year's Chicago Marathon. It is safe to assume
that the majority of runners and spectators will be purchasing a
Nike "2015 Chicago Marathon" shirt to commemorate the event.
Gatorade Endurance, a Pepsico Inc. (
) brand, is the official drink of the Chicago Marathon. Along with
another Pepsico product, Aquafina, being a supporting sponsor, it
is safe to assume that tens-of-thousands of gallons of Gatorade and
water will be consumed during the marathon. If Gatorade Endurance
provides the needed nutrients that prevent runners from cramping
and dehydration as it claims to do, then it will have lifelong
customers who continue to use the product to train and
All the international and non-regional participants need
transportation and a place to stay for the weekend. Hotel giant
) is another official sponsor, and has multiple locations in the
Loop and River North neighborhoods. Not only will the prices for
the rooms be raised due to marathon, Hilton Hotels are probably at
capacity, or very close to it. American Airlines (
) has international flights and a hub at O'Haire International
Airport, so expect the company to have filled flights until a few
days after the marathon.
In all, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a life changing
experience for the runners and a memorable trip for hundreds of
thousands of individuals to one of the best cities in the United
States. Even for a brief moment, local businesses can generate
extra revenue to help massage the pain of slower business during
the brutal winters. Millions of dollars will be raised for great
causes, and the corporate sponsors will buy some good publicity
supporting the event; maybe obtain some loyal customers in the
Yes, we locals do not enjoy the road closures, crowded L trains,
and tourists walking around Michigan Avenue with a selfie stick,
completely unaware of their surroundings. But in all, the Chicago
Marathon is an exciting event for everyone involved.
(Sources for the photos are
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