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Local businesses prepare for Marathon tourism dollars

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Jul 11 2013 07:46:47 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 11 2013 10:25:26 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

“From food, to gas stations, to hotels…it’s a boost all around to everyone,” said Ruby’s Inn Sales Director Vicki Voegelin.

Voegelin has seen first-hand how the upcoming marathon brings a business boom to Missoula’s hotels. Ruby’s Inn is completely booked up this weekend, and many of the rooms are going to marathon runners.

“They’re very excited and intense and focused,” said Voegelin.

On the other side of town, the Runner’s Edge is stocked up, prepared for out-of-town runners looking for last-minute things.

“I remember when they planned this thing back in the early 2000s. I said ‘Hey, if you bring a marathon here, it will be the best thing for the running community. It will be the best thing for this running store,’” said sales associate John Pitcairn.

Pitcairn has seen the running community grow each year, and with it, the Runners Edge’s customer base.

According to a study completed on the 2012 Missoula Marathon, marathon visitors spent roughly $1.2 million in the Missoula-area last year. The event is showing no signs of slowing down either.

This year’s 1,500 cap for the full marathon filled quickly, and it was the first year that a cap was put into place.