By John Hilliard
BU News Service

With just days left before more than 35,000 runners are expected to pass by his door, Brian Peters doesn’t seem worried.

Peters is the general manager at The Pour House, a restaurant just a few blocks from the race’s finish line on Boylston Street. And with thousands of spectators and runners in the neighborhood, he’s expecting an onslaught during Monday’s Boston Marathon.

“It’s our busiest day of the year,” said Peters, who has worked Marathon Monday for the past 14 years. “Busier than New Year’s. Busier than St. Patrick’s Day.”

The marathon’s organizer, the Boston Athletic Association, says more than 35,000 runners are set to start in this year’s race. That’s about 12,000 more participants than the roughly 23,000 who started in the 2013 marathon.

The BAA also expects about 1 million spectators will watch the race along the sidewalks from Hopkinton to Copley Square. Plus, the event is expected to generate record levels of money through race-related business.

The Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau estimated that the 2014 race will create nearly $176 million in revenues for businesses and charities – that’s about $4 million more than the previous record set during the marathon’s centennial race in 1996.

“We just bring a ton of people in from across the world, and they tend to stay for a number of days, they fill our hotels, they fill our restaurants, they run and they have a great time,” said Bob Luz, chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.

This year’s event will be “business as normal for the marathon,” he said, distinguishing Monday’s race with the abbreviated 2013 marathon that was cut short by a pair of bombings and subsequent manhunt that left four people dead and hundreds more injured.

Luz’ group represents about 1,800 members across the state, including 350 in Boston alone. And they’re prepared for the crush of visitors that will descend on the city this weekend.

“They managed it before, they’ll manage it again. To our membership, this is normal… they have a strong history of how they manage through this,” said Luz.

To accommodate a larger-than-normal marathon crowd, the MBTA will close the Green Line’s Copley and Arlington stations during the race on Monday, along with stations on South, Kent and St. Mary’s streets.

Instead, buses will run on a weekday schedule on Patriot’s Day, said Kelly Smith, an MBTA spokeswoman.

“This means that more customers will be able to take bus service, and many will see more frequent service on the holiday,” she wrote in an e-mail.

The Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau said that this year’s race will raise a total of $27.5 million in charity fundraising by marathon participants.

 

The BAA runs a program that organizes charities in conjunction with the marathon. Groups have to apply in advance to participate, and any runner who fundraises for one of these charities have to guarantee a minimum donation.

This year, that specific BAA program includes 30 charities that are expected to raise a combined $13 million, according to the BAA.

The BAA’s fundraising efforts to support itself have also increased over the last several years. BAA revenues grew from about $6.55 million in fiscal 2005 to about $12.5 million in fiscal 2012, the most recent year for which tax records are publicly available.

During that time, the BAA’s profits have more than doubled, from about $800,000 in fiscal 2005 to more than $1.62 million by fiscal 2012. The BAA ended that year with more than $12.6 million in assets — about $7.6 million more than fiscal 2005, according to those records.

While attention tends to focus on the urban end of the marathon course, the leafy residential towns to the west also stand to benefit from race day.

Marathon weekend visitors will book about 2,000 additional hotel rooms in the area, often with two people in each room, said Susan Nicholl, the executive director of the MetroWest Visitor’s Bureau.

“And why that’s important is if you have twice as many people in each room, you have twice as many meals that are going to be bought in that area,” said Nicholl.

Plus, visitors to the suburbs are more likely to drive and spend more money at gas stations and local stores during their stay, she said.

She noted that once the race is over for the western suburbs, spectators will often go to the shopping mall near the Massachusetts Turnpike in Natick. And local businesses adapt to the influx of customers, too.

“There are some bars along the route that aren’t normally open on a Monday at that time of day, and they do a brisk afternoon business,” she said.

On the eastern end of the race course, in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner, Travis Holwerda is gearing up for his first time working on Marathon Monday as a manager at the Upper Crust pizzeria.

Coolidge Corner typically looks like a block party on race days, with local shops setting up barbeques on the sidewalks and live music playing on street corners.

And with all of those potential customers right outside their door, Holwerda said the shop’s staff will be “on alert.”

“Nobody gets Marathon Monday off,” said Holwerda.

Back at The Pour House, Peters said they get business from pedestrians along the sidewalk and guests staying at the nearby hotels. And once the race is over, runners join the crowd, some still wrapped in thermal blankets given to them at the race, he said.

“They come in, everyone gives them a round of applause,” said Peters.

And someone needs to be behind the bar when they arrive.

“That’s why I’m not running, I have to be here,” he said, smiling.

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