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PR- 378-06
October 26, 2006


New Economic Impact Study Finds Marathon Adds $188 Million to City's Economy Making It Largest One-Day Sporting Event in New York

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today welcomed the New York Road Runners to Gracie Mansion for a reception celebrating the 37th annual ING New York City Marathon, which will take place on Sunday, November 5th.  Last year's marathon had an economic impact on the City of $188 million, according to an independent study by Economic Research Associates commissioned by the New York Road Runners (NYRR).  Former Mayor David Dinkins, Sports Commissioner Kenneth J. Podziba, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Matthew P. Sapolin, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, NYRR CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg, and actress and marathon participant Cara Buono also attended the event.

"The ING New York City Marathon is not only one of the world's great sporting events, it is also a boon for our City, pumping nearly $200 million into our economy each year," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I thank the New York Road Runners for developing our marathon, which has become a celebration of community spirit that brings people from all corners of the globe to the Big Apple. Only in the most diverse city on the planet can athletes from around the world be cheered by a hometown crowd, regardless of their country of origin."

The ING New York City Marathon's economic impact makes it the highest-grossing single day sporting event in New York.  The results were part of an independent economic impact study of the event conducted by Economic Research Associates and is based upon surveys of 1,000 participants in the 2005 race.  Marathon participants and spectators spend $65 million on hotels, $44 million on food and beverages, $41 million on retail merchandise, $15 million on entertainment, $13 million on transportation, and $10 million on running and fitness gear at the ING New York City Marathon Health and Fitness Expo.  The study also reported that runners are likely to spend more money than the average tourist because they view the race as a commemorative event, and that the 50% of runners from abroad stay in the City for an average of six days.

The marathon has more than 37,000 runners, 2.5 million spectators lining the streets of New York, and a worldwide television audience of more than 300 million.  The marathon is known for the diversity of its participants - 80% of the runners are from outside New York City and nearly 50% come from a foreign country.  Over 200 wheelchair and handcycle competitors will also participate.  The wheelchair race officially began in 2000 and this year's field, which includes a host of Paralympic medal winners, is arguably the most talented ever.  The fastest wheelchair athletes will race through the course at speeds up to 40 mph in their quest for the ING New York City Marathon Samuel Rudin trophy - one of the most prestigious awards in wheelchair racing.

"The study clearly validates the City's investment in the event," said Wittenberg.  "The ING New York City Marathon is a celebratory event that helps showcase all five boroughs of New York City to an international audience.  Each year we strive to enhance the experience for runners, spectators, friends and family and we are proud that the event contributes so much to the City."

"The growth that the marathon has experienced, with the more than 90,000 applicants vying for only 37,000 spots, is truly remarkable and a testament to the uniqueness of this incomparable running experience," said Commissioner Podziba.  "In addition to the remarkable economic impact generated by the ING New York City Marathon, this event will showcase the true spirit of our city as more than 2.5 million enthusiastic spectators line the course to support participants from more than 100 countries throughout the world." 

"The theme for the 2006 ING New York City Marathon is 'One Race - 37,000 Stories,' said Commissioner Benepe.  "From the five-minute milers to the 12-minute milers, all 37,000 participants have prepared for this exciting day.  Although the rigors of 26.2 miles will no doubt be challenging, I am sure that they will feed off of the infectious enthusiasm of the 2.5 million spectators as they cross through five boroughs, across five bridges and run past scores of parks, Greenstreets and rec centers.  I wish all of the runners a safe and successful race."   

"The New York City Marathon provides a wonderful opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in one of the City's iconic events," said Commissioner Sapolin.  "I appreciate the efforts of the city and the New York Road Runner's Club in ensuring that people with disabilities will continue to enjoy the experience of racing in the world's premiere marathon."

NYRR, soon to celebrate its 50th anniversary, is dedicated to promoting the sport of distance running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and responding to community needs. NYRR road races and other fitness programs draw upwards of 300,000 runners annually, and together with its magazine and website, support and promote professional and recreational running.  A staff of 80, assisted by thousands of volunteers, stages the ING New York City Marathon, as well as a road race nearly every weekend plus many track and cross country events. For more information visit  The premier event of NYRR, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 93,000 applicants, two million spectators and 312 million worldwide television viewers.  For more information visit

The Sports Commission ensures the continuation and growth of a healthy environment for professional, amateur and scholastic sports activities in New York City.  In recent years, the Sports Commission has played a role in attracting or creating many new sporting events, including the NFL Kickoff Live from Times Square, the BMC Software NYC Cycling Championship, the AVP Brooklyn Open, the NAUTICA NYC Triathlon, the NYC Half-Marathon, Let Freedom Run and The Wild Onion Urban Adventure Race.


Stu Loeser / Matthew Kelly   (212) 788-2958

Andy Gould   (Sports Commission)
(212) 487-5665

Richard Finn (NYRR)   (212) 423-2229

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