WACO, TX- The Waco tourism industry has taken more hits this year than ever before due to COVID-19.
The newest costly blow for the city is the cancellation of the 2020 Silo District Marathon.
For the last few months, even on hot summer days like today, Dale Wallace has been training in hopes of running in the 2020 Silo Marathon for the first time.
“Running a marathon is one of those like bucket list challenges that a lot of people have and so I was excited to be apart of that and even get to do it in what is my hometown,” Wallace told Fox 44.
But, he just got word that that’s not happening this year and like most, that news came with some disappointment.
“Absolutely such a bummer for Waco for me, for everyone involved but at the same time I understand the circumstances in these times. These are tough decisions people have to make,” he said.
Those decisions have costly impact, specifically to Waco’s tourism industry.
“Tourism last year brought in 600 million dollars in economic impact direct economic spending to the city. It also employed more than 6 thousand people so that’s jobs, its spending,” said Todd Bertka, the director of the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau, one of the city’s largest annual economic contributors.
Bertka says all of the event cancellations due to COVID-19 hurt the city’s economy but the impact of the 2020 Silo Marathon cancellation reaches further than others.
“Last year they had i believe over 6,000 runners, so runners and families and friends come in and spend what would be tens of millions of dollars over a couple of day period of time for the community so we feel that,” Berkta said.
Runners and the city alike take the bitter news with understanding saying it wasn’t the best news to start their week, but there’s always next year.
“For the city itself, its a bummer economically and all sorts of reasons but at the end of the day what Chip and Jo have done for the city kind of outweigh what they would’ve brought throught the marathon,” said Wallace.
“If its just simply not the safe time to do these things, we’ll take a step back and we’ll find the right path forward that is safe and can bring folks together at the right time,” Berkta said.
The Gaines family rescheduled the marathon back in March to October because of the virus.
Magnolia is contacting all of the people who have signed up for the marathon and giving them the option to either defer their entry for the 2021 race or get a full refund.
The company says its number one priority is the safety of its guests, staff, and community.
Next year’s race is scheduled for April 23-25, 2021.
Those who want a refund will need to send an email to email@example.com by August 31st.