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Cross Country Runners Bring Economic Boost

Hundreds of runners along with their family and fans descend on Terre Haute this weekend for the NCAA Division I championships held at the Lavern Gibson Course. The Terre Haute Visitors Bureau expects their three day stay to have add a nearly million dollar boost to the economy.

This weekend, 38 teams with over 600 athletes descend on Terre Haute. They're goal is to win the NCAA Division I cross country championships. But the city has a much larger goal of reaping the benefits of their three-day stay.

"We'll have somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 plus people here over the weekend," said Dave Patterson with the Terre Haute Visitor's Bureau. "Probably translates over the three days to somewhere around $750,000."

The impact from the championship weekend spreads far beyond the dollars spent by visitors and this weekend.

"Then that secondary impact it would be the people that are employed at those venues or those facilities they in turn, then spend their money at other things," said Patterson.

The Lavern Gibson Cross Country Course is unique to the sport. It was built as it's own facility in order to attract events like this one. That's a quality athletes appreciate.

"It's definitely one of the best courses in the country," said Chris Foley, a runner from the University of Virginia. "It's nice. It's not a cross country course that's set up around soccer fields, poles and random fences."

"It's true cross country where it's rolling hills and kind of grassy terrain that's not golf course material and I think that really sets it apart from other courses," said Abbey D'Agostino from Dartmouth College.

A world class facility didn't come as a mistake. The Terre Haute Visitor's Bureau put a lot of effort to bringing the event back to Terre Haute after it left for another venue last year.

"Social media, we have billboards out on the highways, we have direct mail that go to the schools, we have e-mails that communicate all of the little different things to the coaches," said Patterson.

The Terre Haute Visitor's Bureau expects to find out where the event will be held for the next four years on December 10.

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