Nearly 40 percent of Fort4Fitness participants from out of town

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) –  Twenty-nine states will be represented at the Fort4Fitness races on Saturday. That means thousands of new people are staying in Fort Wayne hotels, and eating at Fort Wayne restaurants. Economic leaders hope this weekend is only the beginning of their travels to the Summit City.

“There’s an impact,” Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Executive Vice President John Urbahns said. “Not just with the vibrancy, but with the money people will spend.”

Nearly 40 percent of the 8,000 Fort4Fitness participants are hitting the road or sky to get to Fort Wayne.

“We do the race most every year as a family,” Detroit-area resident Jeanette Aiello said. “So it’s a great opportunity to come back and visit.”

The race isn’t’ the only thing on the agenda for Aiello.

“We’ll probably grab dinner downtown while we’re out tonight or tomorrow,” she said.

“People are flying in, driving in, staying at hotels and eating at restaurants and spending money, and that’s exactly what we need them to do,” Urbahns said.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc has not done an economic impact study on Fort4Fitness, and does not have immediate plans to do so. Urbahns has seen the growth over the last ten year, and only expects it to help grow the economy.

“They’ll see what it’s all about and hopefully come back again,” Urbahns said.

“We come back other times throughout the year, and visit as well once we see the fun things happening around here,” Aiello said.

The first race of the day, the marathon, starts at 7 a.m. Saturday. NewsChannel 15 will be broadcasting live from Fort4Fitness throughout First News Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.