Thousands of runners make their way towards the Boston Marathong finish line. PHOTO BY GARY GARTLEY/METRO
The 118th Boston Marathon is expected to draw one million spectators and thousands of runners from around the globe, bringing messages of kindness and support, as well as a welcome boost to the Greater Boston economy.
The prestigious road race and its related events, which include the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo and the B.A.A. 5K, will net an estimated $175.8 million in spending impact to the region, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
If the estimate is correct, it will be the most money the marathon has brought to the area since its 1897 inception, though the Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 came close, generating $172 million.
“The spending impact of the 118th Boston Marathon provides a huge economic benefit for our visitor industry and it kick starts our spring tourism season,” said President and CEO, Patrick Moscaritolo.
The 1996 marathon had a starting field of 38,708, which stood for more than seven years as the largest in the history of the sport.
This year, there will be more than 35,660 official participants in Monday's race, including more than 5,330 runners from more than 70 countries outside the United States.
Not surprisingly, the Boston Athletic Association said it anticipates more spectators than ever before - roughly one million - will line the 26.2-mile course, with more than 1,800 members of the media from more than 300 outlets covering the event.
The runners and their guests will spend roughly $103.7 million, spectators will spend $20 million, sponsors and media outlets will spend $14 million and the B.A.A. will spend $10.6 million, according to estimates.
Charity fundraising by marathon participants is also expected to bring in $27.5 million.
The increased exposure follows last year's fatal bombings, which took the lives of three people and injured more than 260 others. As a result, local, state and federal authorities are partnering to increase security measures for this year's race.
Despite last year's tragedy, race organizers have expressed optimism about this year's race.
“The B.A.A. welcomes participants and spectators from around the world who will patronize Greater Boston’s shops, restaurants, hotels, and local businesses," said B.A.A. Executive Director Tom Grilk. "This year, we will all come together to stand as one in celebration of the resilience of Greater Boston.”