Kent professors complete Akron Marathon study

Katie Nix

Kent State assistant economics professors, Shawn Rohlin, PhD. and Nadia Greenhalgh-Stanley, PhD., completed a study detailing the economic impact of the Akron Marathon, held every fall in Akron, Ohio.

“This is a study I’ve been conducting since the 2010 Akron Marathon,” said Rohlin, an urban economist and former University of Akron professor. “The city [of Akron] wanted a way to justify to its citizens the donation of time and money for the police officers and ambulance drivers used to make the race operate, and so they asked me to figure out what the economic impact could be.”

The study showed an increase of $6,033,925.62 in the Akron area as well as the addition of 60 full-time jobs, which is an increase from the 2011 Akron Marathon’s $5.2 million and the 2010 Akron Marathon’s $4 million.

However, Rohlin said the jobs results can be a tad misleading because the jobs created were not necessarily full-time jobs but the part-time work hours equivalent to 60 full-time jobs.

“These results are based mostly on the part-time hours created,” Rohlin said. “The hours created are equal to having 60, 40-hour work weeks.”

Rohlin said the study was conducted by sending out surveys to race participants and asking them how much they spent on food, gas and other expenses and from there found out how this spending affected local businesses.

The study showed that of the $6,033,925.62 spent because of the Akron Marathon, $2,474,328.94 was considered “direct spending” or money that was spent for hotel rooms, restaurants and travel plans such as gas and air fare.

However, there was also a different type of spending involved because of the Akron Marathon.

“Most of what happened because of the Akron Marathon is called spillover,” Rohlin said. “It’s basically the idea that when you spend money at an establishment, that establishment goes and hires a new employee — whether it be a new waiter or waitress at a restaurant or cleaning staff member at a hotel — and these newly hired people go and spend the money they have now that they didn’t have before, putting money back into the economy.”

For example, of the $6,033.925.62 spentm $3,559,596.68 was considered money from spillover or “indirect spending.”

Rohlin said he enlisted the help of Greenhalgh-Stanley because his master’s regional economics class, which normally helps him complete studies, was unavailable because the race occurred in the fall, and the class was offered only during the spring semester.

These students will instead be calculating the economic impact of the MAC basketball tournament at Cleveland State University, which lasted from Mar. 11 to 16, as well as the Instant Classic Marathon Trail Run in Chesterfield, Va. on Mar. 16.

Greenhalgh-Stanley said, as an urban economist, she is interested in how events can benefit local economies and how events like the Akron Marathon can have a huge impact on the economy.

“This year the marathon had a lot less out-of-town guests come to cheer on out-of-town participants and that hurt the total economic impact on the city this year,” Greenhalgh-Stanley said. “I do think the race will continue to bring in money and will bring in even more money as the recession is over and people resume traveling more.”

Rohlin said he expected the economic impact of the race to increase in the coming years.

“The number of participants is continuing to grow each year so it stands to reason that they will keep coming back and jeep spending their money, and hopefully next year create more jobs to keep aiding the local economy,” Rohlin said.

Contact Katie Nix at [email protected].