How MARATHONS Became a Multi Billion Dollar Industry

You are watching Trends. Every Thursday we take a peek at the future to see what’s ahead of us Welcome to! The place where future billionaires come to get inspired. If you’re not subscribed yet, you’re missing out. Hello Aluxers and welcome back. Many of you probably enjoy being active, and some of you probably live for those early morning run around your neighborhood just to breathe in some fresh air and kickstart your day. Maybe running is really your thing and you even train hard to participate in Marathons… today is especially for you guys. In today’s video, we’re exploring how this seemingly inexpensive sport has transformed into a multi billion dollar industry. Let’s dive in! Aluxers you might be surprised to know the origins of modern-day marathon races date back to 490 B.C. when Persians invaded Greece. a greek soldier named Pheidippides ran a distance of 25 miles from the town of Marathon – located near the battlefield – to the city of Athens, to bring news of the Persian defeat. Today, all over the world, numerous marathon races are organized in different formats, with a standard race length typically set at 26.2 miles – with half marathons of 13 miles. Right now there are six Major Marathon races held worldwide in iconic cities like Tokyo, Boston, London, Chicago, New York, and Berlin, under the world Marathon major series; completing all six is a major athletic accomplishment. Apart from these six major races, there are more than 30 international marathons like the Dubai and Paris Marathons that are considered by runners to be the most anticipated events of the year… And it’s not only average individuals and athletes participating in high numbers that make these races so grand but even high profile billionaires and celebrities like Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey are regulars at these events. Most billionaires participating are running for charities – and many corporations will arrange marathons as a way to fundraise for a cause but in recent years these races have also become a commercial event to increase brand awareness and raise profits. Rising awareness of health and fitness – along with how easy it is to just go for a run – is making marathon racing more popular than many other community sports, and participation numbers have increased by more than 50% over the last decade. Top marathon races like the Dubai or London Marathons also come with hefty cash prizes in the ballpark of million dollars – making them even more attractive. This has encouraged many aspiring runners to pursue marathon racing full-time, while also making it a lucrative business opportunity for corporate bigwigs and sports brands. Currently, marathon racing is a 1.4 billion dollar industry – supporting the billion-dollar athleisure market and is expected to keep growing, with more than 17 million runners participating in these races across the US alone, every year. But now, let’s take a closer look at what it takes to organize a marathon, where do the profits come from… and where do they go? Aluxers – if you’ve ever participated in a marathon, chances are you know entry fees can be steep. Sometimes it might even feel like you’re running for your own money because events like the NYC Marathon will charge upwards of $250 just take your spot at the starting line. Interestingly though, these races have become so popular, that those interested are charged about $11 just to be considered for the selection lottery, before even getting the opportunity to participate. But in a way, those fees are kinda justified; organizing a marathon takes months of hard work, from setting up a registration process, orchestrating ample security, first aid tents, not to mention the cash prize winnings. It’s a BIG job. Organizers must decide the exact route, get it cleared by any relevant government bodies and certify the distances with any authorized associations. Arrangements have to be made for providing participants with water, snacks, and medical aid, should the need arise. And even if organizers are lucky enough to secure volunteers to keep things in place, they will often have to hire paid staff, too. Adding to this, all promotions, marketing, swag and certificates given to participants – plus the actual cash prizes only really allow organizers to break even if it’s not being sponsored corporately. Now, one of the biggest, most important costs of these marathon races are the timing systems used to monitor participants through the course typically an RFID-based (radio frequency identification) timing system, which runs upwards of $15000, while hiring a company for timing a race can cost between $2 to $5 per runner. All these costs and efforts considered, it’s clear to see organizers are depending on registration fees to pull everything off which explains why participation costs at some of the world’s most famous marathons has more than doubled in recent years. However, those fees have increased despite other costs actually being minimized by adopting more efficient technologies and entering into sponsorship deals with athleisure brands. Today, Marathon races are clearly catching on with participation at an all-time high – which is great, because the world needs more active people! Helping with that popularity, are un-time themed marathons – like Color Me Rad which typically consists of 5 to 10-kilometer runs while getting covered in powdered pigments. Also, with them being un-timed and much shorter than the standard 26 kilometers, it’s less intimidating, more fun, and draws a bigger crowd all great things for the organizer’s bottom line. But aside from the folks putting on the event, there are several other players who cash-in big every time a marathon pops up. These aren’t just major sports brands like Nike or Adidas providing running shoes, but also multiple small businesses participating in marathon expos to sell specialized running accessories. Marathon expos are filled with vendors selling products like foam rollers, polarized lenses and running snacks – and thanks to the economies of scale prices are slashed by 20% to 50% – as compared to the retail outlets – making them irresistible for the runners. These running accessories have gained so much popularity, there’s even an undergarment company named “Runderwear”, amusing right? Marathon races have also created business opportunities for running coaches and sports companies that now provide specialized training sessions, diet plans and weekly calendars to improve running performance for those in-training. Companies like Adidas have also come up with marathon training apps to monitor individual performance through online plans. There are even some corporations with management encouraging their employees to take up marathon training, as a sort of learning exercise to improve their overall management skills and performance. And Aluxers, while you track your training progress online, we know you’re going to want to keep yourself secure and that’s why we recommend using a VPN. It’s a super easy to use piece of software that protects your data online so that the government or other companies can’t spy on you and you can enjoy the internet you know and love. We partnered with the great folks at NordVPN to bring you an amazing offer. If you go to and sign up using the code ALUX, you will get Get 70% off NordVPN! Only $3.49/mo, plus you get an additional month FREE to see if you find it valuable. Protect yourself today on the internet by going to Even with the importance of health and fitness in sharp focus on Social Media, and growing participation numbers these races are considered to be more of an experience, making them less materialistic and thus harder to capitalize on. While the super hyped-up running accessories designed to improve your marathon experience appeals greatly to first-timers, any seasoned marathon runner, it’s just junk they know they don’t need. Another challenge is also the thing they depend on – registration fees. The steep cost of getting a bib and a place at the starting line is enough to turn some runners off, ultimately putting a cap on potential profits. According to a U.S. running trends report, the number of race participants saw a one percent decline in 2018, as compared to the number in 2017 – the majority of which is attributed to the fact that registration fees are, on average, 60-70% higher than anywhere else in the world. And, even though marathon racing is considered to be an endurance exercise that improves overall health for older or less physically fit runners, it also increases the risk of cardiac arrest in the short-term, especially during the race, which is an added stress and expense to mitigate. Marathon running is all about pushing boundaries; personal, physical, mental, and even spiritual, in some cases. Like anything, corporations will try to use it to turn a profit and there will always be sports brands looking to partner and make gains through their loyal customers – the runners – but the most dedicated marathon athletes will always lace-up for race day, so who knows how big this industry will become in the future. Aluxers, having such a large international audience, we love to hear your opinions. Let us know in the comments. And as a thank you for staying with us till the end, as always, here’s your bonus, Curious to know who is the current richest marathon runner? His name is Eliud Kipchoge and he’s considered to be the greatest marathon runners of our time. The 34-year-old Kenyan long-distance runner has won the prestigious London Marathon three times, bouncing his net worth to a whopping 500 million USD. And apart from all the cash winnings from various races, his income is also supplemented by a sponsorship deal with Nike…. Nicely done. Thank you for spending some time with us Aluxers. Make sure to like and subscribe so you never miss another video. We also handpicked these videos which we recommend you watch next. You can talk to us on all social media or ask a question on our website! Thank you for being an Aluxer and we’ll see you back tomorrow.


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