ST. GEORGE — The recent St. George Marathon contributed over $10 million into the local economy, according to a study from Utah Tech University’s College of Business. The study provides a breakdown of various factors like how much money was spent on lodgings and shopping and what activities outside of the race proved to be the most popular for visitors.

Runners involved in the the 2023 St. George Marathon, St. George,, Utah, Oct. 7, 2023 | Photo courtesy of the city of St. George, St. George News

This year’s race — the 47th iteration of the event which is also counted as a Boston Marathon qualifier — was held on Oct. 7. The study estimates that nearly 7,700 out of town participants were drawn to southwest Utah for the race, along with 21,000 for their supporters who stayed in the area for an average of 2.5 days.

Of these participants, over 50% were first-timers while nearly 20% were event veterans who had run in the marathon more than six times.

“The St. George Marathon is our signature annual event,” St. George Mayor Michele Randall said in a press release from the city. “Not only is it a great unifier for our community, but it is always good for the bottom line of local businesses.”

Overall, the study estimates that nearly $10.4 million was infused into the area economy over the 2.5 days marathon athletes and their supporters visited the area.

The campus of Utah Tech University is shown in St. George, Utah, July 14, 2023 | Photo by Haven Scott, St. George News

Leading the study was Dr. Kristy Grayson, an assistant professor of marketing at Utah Tech. She led a team of business students in surveying athletes, supporters, volunteers and vendors. Surveying occurred during the Marathon Expo and at the marathon finish line to estimate the economic impact of the event for the City of St. George.

The economic impact figure considers the number of attendees, whether they traveled from outside the region to attend the event, and includes estimates of amounts spent on lodging, local restaurants, shopping in stores and other activities in the area.

Below is a breakdown visitor spending over the 2.5-day period by marathon visitors were in St. George, based on data from the study.


A runner makes it to the finish line of the 2023 St. George Marathon, St. George,, Utah, Oct. 7, 2023 | Photo courtesy of the city of St. George, St. George News

This category brought in $3.5 million and excludes locals and those staying with family and friends. An average rate for lodgings during this time per night was $257, “which likely increased both the average cost of lodging and limited the supply of rooms in the area due to tourist demand,” according to the study. People staying with friends or family proved to be the most popular form of lodging during the event.

Lodging breakdown:

30% – Hotel or motel
36% – Friends or family
31% – Vacation rental
1% – Camping/RV
2% – Other


This part of the study breaks down how visitors spent their money. They are estimated to have spent $369 a day which accounts for various needs and activities excluding lodging. Combined with lodging, the daily expenses are estimated to have been $626. During the 2.5 days they were in Southern Utah, the study states the following:

Lodging: $3.5 million (excludes local people and respondents staying with friends and family).
Transportation $1.7 million.
Food & Beverage: $1.4 million (excludes locals and those staying with friends and family).
Shopping: $836,000 (excludes locals and those staying with friends and family).
Activities: $1.2 million.

A graphic showing what activities out of town visitors spent most of their time and/or money on outside of the St. George Marathon | Graphic courtesy of the city of St. George / Utah Tech University, St. George News


Outside of the marathon, the top activities enjoyed by visitors included hiking (21%), shopping, and visiting Zion National Park (at 12% each) and going to area state parks (11%).

Other activities included going to spas, playing golf, visiting museums, going to the theater, biking and ATV/Jeep riding.


According the study, participant sentiment toward the marathon was extremely positive, as a majority (67%) would recommend the St. George Marathon to a friend or acquaintance.

“Not only is the St. George Marathon a beloved tradition, attracting visitors from nearly every state in the country and several different countries, but it also serves as a powerful means to support our city,” said Michelle Graves, assistant parks and community services director. “The numbers are amazing and shows how important this event is to St. George.”

The St. George Marathon has been running since 1977 and is counted as the 15th largest marathon in the United States.

Click to download the study of the economic impact of the 2023 St. George Marathon on southwest Utah, courtesy of the city of St. George and Utah Tech University, St. George News

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