The 2011 Akron Marathon added about $5.2 million to Akron’s economy and created the equivalent of 46 jobs, according to the University of Akron Department of Economics.
In an annual analysis of the event, the UA study found this year’s event brought $1.2 million more into the local economy than last year’s race.
In addition, the marathon recycled 3 tons of material after the 2011 race, six times more than after the 2010 event.
That increase was a result of a concentrated effort by city employees and volunteers, UA’s Green Team, the staff of the Akron Aeros (which hosted the finish line) and ABM Janitorial Services.
Assistant professor Shawn Rohlin, project leader of the study, said the marathon “has an incredibly positive impact on the local economy.”
“The Akron Marathon is a respected world-class event that draws an increased number of participants each year,” Rohlin said.
The 2011 marathon attracted 13,046 participants, of which 8,218 were local and 4,828 were not. The event, which now features a kids’ fun run, a relay and half and full marathons, has grown by nearly 10,000 participants since it debuted in 2003.
“The majority of the economic activity was spent in the main sectors of the economy, including hotels, restaurants, and bars,” the report said.
Data for the study were provided by 2,187 race participants — 53 percent of them out-of-towners — who responded to a survey.
The formula for determining economic impact considers how much new cash people bring into town, as well as money that stays in the Akron area because local participants don’t have to seek out a similar opportunity in another city.
Marathon Executive Director Anne Bitong said the marathon succeeded in its mission of “galvanizing the community through the promotion of health and fitness and stimulating the local economy.”
Mayor Don Plusquellic said he is grateful for the dedication and hard work of event founders Steve and Jeannine Marks for making the marathon a success.
He also noted that the city reaps intangible benefits, evident in the way the city “really buzzes with energy around marathon time.”
“It is really exciting to see all the residents come out of their houses and line Akron’s streets in support of our runners on marathon day,” he said. “These residents are not only cheering from the sidelines, but many of them, along with city of Akron workers and their families, volunteer their time to work the marathon course by handing out water, setting up stations, passing out runner’s goodie bags and cleaning up after the event.
“There is no question that the city is better off with the marathon than without it.”
The 2012 Akron Marathon is scheduled for Sept. 29. Registration will open Jan. 10 at www.akronmarathon.org. The race is sponsored by Time Warner Cable.
Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/paulaschleis.