Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



A Bureau of Business Economic Impact Analysis From the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, December 14, 2012


Copyright 2012 Thompson & McClure


The culture of running in the U.S. is big business. Main drivers for runners center on the desire for health and wellness, competitive spirit, achieving one’s mental and physical best and the sense of community that a running event creates. Each year, throughout the U.S., hundreds of races are run, from small, community 5Ks to major annual races like the New York City Marathon (an estimated annual race revenue of $30 million without economic impact1) or Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race (an estimated economic impact of over $10 million2). These races provide local residents with an opportunity to run races without requiring them to travel to another city. Because of the sheer demands of producing such an event, it also presents an opportunity for the community to be involved, whether through running, volunteering or just cheering on the participants. Both factors increase the quality of life for local citizens, in much the same way that having more local shopping options raises the quality of life.

The Market to Market Relay Nebraska is a unique event within the state, definitely making good on Nebraska’s promise of “the good life”. Having just completed its fifth annual race, the Relay has now grown to include over 3,000 runners each year. The Relay is a 78-mile team run from Omaha’s Memorial Park Old Market to Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket. The course follows trails, paved streets and gravel back roads and culminates in an award ceremony and party in the Haymarket. With a growing number of participants traveling to Nebraska to participate, the Relay has become a tourist attraction which promotes new spending in the state. The economic impact that results is just another byproduct of the Relay, in addition to the quality-of-life benefits discussed above.