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    Marathon's economic impact tripled, event organizers say

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2001

    Organizers of the Florida Gulf Beaches Marathon say the January event brought $393,000 to Tampa Bay, tripling its economic impact from last year.

    This year, 1,409 people ran the marathon, up from 557 last year. Race Director Chris Lauber said 988 of those came from outside Pinellas County, including 447 from out of state and 64 from other countries.

    The marathon "will never match the economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl," Lauber said, but he hopes the event will continue to grow. Eventually, he'd like to see 5,000 runners.

    Marathon organizers analyzed the economic impact by estimating that the average runner brought one person with them, stayed three days and each person spent about $122 each day.

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