CORNING – A record field of runners will take part in this Sunday's 33rd annual Wineglass Marathon, and local business owners are just as excited as the participants.
Nearly 6,000 runners are signed up for the event. That includes 2,500 runners who will take part in the full marathon from Bath to Corning on Sunday morning, another 3,000 runners who have signed up for the fourth annual Wineglass Half Marathon, and about 800 expected for the third annual Wineglass 5K on Saturday.
Those runners, along with family members and supporters, are coming from 43 states and seven other countries — Canada, Mexico, China, Australia, Ecuador, United Kingdom and Bulgaria.
It all adds up to a tremendous economic boost to the area for the weekend.
"It's actually the busiest weekend of the fall season for us," said Mike Sorge, owner of Sorge's Restaurant, 68 W. Market St. in Corning. "The impact is huge. It's felt by hotels, restaurants, gas stations. People are shopping, spending money. The key thing is the longevity of the event. People know what to expect when they come to Corning. A great percentage bring their families. It's a huge weekend. We look forward to it."
In 2014, Competitor Running named the Wineglass Half one of "25 Half Marathons Worth Running" while Livestrong.com put the Wineglass Full Marathon at No. 3 on the 16 World's Best Marathons list.
"The growing popularity of the Wineglass is evident in the growing international appeal of the race," marathon co-director Sheila Sutton said in a news release. "It is a testament to the beauty of the course and the hard work of our countless volunteers that make the marathon such a success."
"The marathon is also a great way to usher in the fall foliage season, which is a big tourism draw for the region," said Coleen Fabrizi, executive director of the Gaffer District.
"It's tremendously important. The Gaffer District kicks off the summer season with GlassFest," Fabrizi said. "In the fall, to have an event such as the Wineglass Marathon to really impact revenue for downtown businesses and throughout the region — it's a tremendous and very important event. We're rolling out the welcome mat and making these people feel welcome."
Dee Reid opened a new Market Street business, Heels & Hobos, about five months prior to last year's Wineglass Marathon.
After seeing the influx of potential customers into downtown Corning for that event, Reid, whose business offers shoes and handbags not normally found in the area, is looking forward to her second marathon weekend.
"It's a great event, just wonderful. With close to 6,000 runners who will all have family members and supporters and children, it's a great win for Market Street businesses," Reid said. "We'll be open. If they have their runner's vests, they can get a discount on purchases. It is a fun weekend, a relaxed weekend. It's nice to see them out supporting local businesses as well."
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