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Ogden Marathon pours money into city, Weber County

Monday , February 05, 2018 - 5:15 AM4 comments

OGDEN — In two days, last year’s Ogden Marathon generated more than $1.2 million for the city’s economy.

That’s what an Ogden Weber Area Convention and Visitors Bureau report, presented to the city council last week, found.

The report says the 2017 Zions Bank Ogden Marathon featured 6,291 athletes from 41 states and 11 countries. More than 1,600 people volunteered during the two-day event, accumulating 12,155 work hours. 

RELATED: Registration now open for 2018 Ogden Marathon

The 17th running of the race accounted for an estimated direct economic impact of $1.28 million, according the the visitors bureau assessment. Those dollars were direct transactions made in Ogden from racers and spectators who came in from outside the community. 

Jenny Scothern, executive director of the marathon’s Get Out and Live! Foundation, said the money is generated mostly from things like hotel stays, restaurant visits, gas, groceries and others.

“We feel like that’s a pretty conservative estimate too,” Scothern said. “Economic impact is a significant part of what we think about with the marathon and the GOAL Foundation as a whole.”

Combined GOAL Foundation produced events from last year — which included the marathon, a five-event winter race circuit, the El Doce mountain bike race and the Mountain to Metro trail run — hosted nearly 10,000 athletes with a $1.4 million direct economic impact, according to the report. 

In 2017, the foundation also played a support role in the Sweaty Yeti Fat Bike Race, the Tour of Utah and the XTERRA Pan Am Championships — events that generated another nearly $700,000.

RELATED: Why was Weber County excluded from the 2018 Tour of Utah?

Both Scothern and Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the marathon is the centerpiece of Ogden’s outdoor recreation scene. The city owns the marathon, but contracts the GOAL Foundation to produce it. The foundation was created to capitalize on the momentum of the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City and included several events in Ogden.

“Part of the original mission was for GOAL to be a vehicle to bring in high quality outdoor recreation events,” Scothern said. “To help brand Ogden as an outdoor mecca. The marathon, obviously has been an enormous part of that.” 

Outdoor recreation as a driver of the economy and tourism has been a keystone of Caldwell’s vision for Ogden. Whether it’s marathons, cycling, skiing, kayaking, hiking, climbing or fishing, the mayor believes Ogden’s distinctive landscape holds a treasure trove of economic and tourism opportunity.

RELATED: Marathon more spectator-friendly

The visitors bureau report said there was $250.6 million in direct travel spending in Weber County in 2017. The county’s local tax receipts from that spending was $7.9 million.

Caldwell said the marathon is “one of the best vehicles we have to showcase our unique natural environment” and further the outdoors push.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/MitchShaw.StandardExaminer.

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