MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Between a full marathon, a half marathon and a 5K, nearly 9,000 runners and spectators flocked to the Grand Strand for the Myrtle Beach Marathon. 

Because the course is fast, flat, has an ocean view and is a Boston Marathon qualifier, the race draws in runners from across the country and around the world. 

Even though the race takes up only a few hours of the day, many of the runners and their families made a weekend out of the event, selling out hotels and booking up restaurants. 

“Registrations for this year’s marathon are up about 15% over last year’s,” city spokesperson, Mark Kruea said. “[Tourists are] eating at the restaurants, they’re staying in the hotels, they’re enjoying what Myrtle Beach has to offer.”

Gone are the days when the Grand Strand had a lengthy off-season. Now, the first weekend in March serves as a launching point for what will undoubtedly be a busy spring, summer and fall tourist season. 

“Things begin to get busy in March. There’s something almost every weekend in March, and it really starts with the marathon,” Kruea said. “You’ve got track meets. You’ve got the big car show. You’ve got events at the convention center. Life begins in March with the marathon.”

While the runners and spectators got to enjoy the beauty of Myrtle Beach and some fantastic weather on the Grand Strand, they were also spending money — lots of it. 

“It’s about a $2 million boost to our economy for those two days, and that’s $1 spent one time,” Kruea said. “That’s not rollover money. That’s $2 million worth of one-time money.”

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Taylor Maresca is the weekend morning anchor and morning reporter at News13. She joined the team in June 2022 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Taylor is from Houston. Follow Taylor on Twitter and read more of her work here.