A record 5,100 runners registered New Year’s Day for the Air Force Marathon while the event’s multi-million dollar economic impact has jumped higher than past years, too, organizers said.
The prior one-day record reached 4,178 registrants on Jan. 1, 2012.
Marathon Director Rob Aguiar expects to set another record this year with an early sell out. Last year, the marathon sold out in May. This year he predicted it could happen by the end of April.
“It seems the last few years we’ve been not only selling out but selling out quicker,” he said.
Organizers offered a one-day discount online Tuesday to attract runners to sign up early for the Sept. 21 marathon, half-marathon and 1oK race at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Sept. 20 5K competition at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
As the number of registrations have risen, so too has the economic impact of the race estimated at $15.3 million last year, about a $2.6 million jump from the prior year, according to Kathleen Young, executive director of the Greene County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Attendees spent the money on hotel stays, restaurant meals and similar expenses related to overnight or several day visits, officials said.
The growth in revenue was partly fueled by raising the number of runners to 15,000 last year because of demand, or 2,000 more than in 2011, Aguiar said.
“Eventually, hopefully, one day we can go above that because I know we could get more registrations than that,” Young said.
The series of races, now in its 17th year, needs more than 2,100 volunteers to manage the event.
Word-of-mouth, outreach at sports expos and the popularity of running has fueled the growth of the Air Force’s marathon and the sport, Aguiar said.
“I believe that marathoning is growing all over,” he said.
Last year’s run attracted participants from all 50 states and 15 countries, from Japan to the Federated States of Micronesia.
For more information or to register, log onto www.usafmarathon.com.