The travel industry is catching on that runners are good for business.
A republished Detroit-based newspaper article about half- and full-marathoners traveling the world to get in a new run included some interesting statistics:
- “Marathon tourism is on the rise, coinciding with the huge increase in the number of people who now run—29.2 million in 2005, up from 20.6 million in 1995.”
- “The average runner has a household income of about $95,000 and has had at least four years of college.”
- “About half of marathon tourists take spouses or friends with them when they travel …. Most are professional people. Most are Type A personalities who want to keep busy on a trip besides running. And most are good travelers who don’t complain.” Said one tour operator: “As runners, they run in snow, rain and mud, and they don’t mind carrying their luggage once in a while.”
The gist of the article is that not only is this a novel way to see the world (to non-runners, at least) but these recreational athletes bring in a lot of business for the cities that host running events. I often have been told that, next to the Super Bowl, the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon brings in more tourism revenue than any other sporting event in San Diego.
Speaking of which, another business article, this one in Business Week, highlights some similar statistics about runners’ affluence, putting the average incomes a little higher (around $98,000) from a Runner’s World survey. It also focuses on the financial gains to be made from a growing cottage industry: professional race organizations now putting on many of the major marathons. It singles out Elite Racing and its Rock ‘n’ Roll franchise as one success story. A growing number of cities are now hoping to start up half or full music-oriented marathons in their areas to compete with the 350 marathons already out there.