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Marathon Raked In $219M for Chicago: Study

The annual 26.2-mile run contributed more than $219 million in business for Chicago

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    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09: Thousands of runners participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

    Besides 45,000 runners, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon brought in more than $219 million in business activity last year, according to a new economic impact report.

    The annual 26.2-mile run contributed about $88 million to the main sectors of the tourism industry and $131 million in indirect activity, an independent study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory found. 

    The marathon equated it to 1,520 full-time jobs and $74.58 million in wages and salary income.

    That's music to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's ears.

    “The Chicago Marathon is a spectacular event which brings tens of thousands of people to Chicago, fills the city’s hotels, and fuels economic activity and excitement throughout the city’s many neighborhoods," Emanuel said in a statement.

    And the race is on track for another banner year.

    Marathon officials said the 2012 event sold out in a record-setting six days. Of the participants, 10,000 indicated they're visiting Chicago for the first time.

    “Its continued positive impact on hotel occupancy, dining, the cultural community, nightlife and more cannot be taken for granted," said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago. "The global awareness the Marathon has generated is certainly beneficial."