Runners from all 50 states ran in Charlottesville Saturday morning with a mission to complete 26.2 long miles. As runners crossed the finish line, Charlottesville businesses looked forward to a marathon day in sales.
More than 2,000 medals were handed out at the finish line Saturday for the marathon, half marathon, and 8K races.
For Charlottesville half-marathon runners, 13.1 miles can be a blur, but they can't seem to forget one detail.
"I remember going by the wineries - Oakencroft - and there was one huge hill, I do remember that one," said runner Eddie Mikell.
But soon after they crossed the finish line, runners - and their guests - raced straight to businesses on the downtown mall.
The stores were packed with patrons for the 11th annual Charlottesville Marathon weekend - something they've waited for all winter long. Runners said the weather made it a great day for the race - and businesses agree.
"I think a lot of Charlottesvillians will agree that the downtown mall is somewhat of a ghost town in the winter and we really do just wait for this all season long," said Jennifer Finazzo, manager of Sal's Caffe Italia.
Race organizers say they've done studies on the economic impact of the Charlottesville Marathon over the decade. Between no empty rooms at hotels and no empty tables at restaurants, they estimate profits to be in the millions. Businesses say events like the marathon gives them a much-needed boost.
"All the special events, especially Paramount shows, and just different festivals going on the downtown mall really affect business," said Brian Jones, general manager of Petit Pois. "We've been waiting all winter long for the spring time weather and we're ready to go."
And business didn't seem to die down at any point along the downtown mall Saturday.
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