Magnolia Marathon to provide a big boost to the city's economy

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Upcoming attractions and downtown events could mean a big boost in dollars for the city.

"Hotels; they're either eating at our restaurants, they're buying fuel. Various things like that. It's all contributing to our tax base in the city. So it's always a great economic impact that any time any type of tourism event that we can host here in town. That just brings more acknowledge to our coffers," Jeremy Campbell said, assistant general manager for the Hilton Garden Inn.

This weekend's 6th annual Magnolia Marathon will feature 250 runners. Representing over 40 states and several countries worldwide. Olive Garden in conjunction with the race, assisted to provide lunch to the runners before they hit the track for Saturday’s marathon. Olive Garden General Manager Rene Oubre says several other businesses will welcome the athletes and their impact on the city's economy.

"We're going through the roof right now. Right now with all the events we're preparing for the year it's amazing with the Magnolia Marathon attracting people from across the country,” Oubre said. “I think they said it's about 48 different states represented for the race. So it's really exciting to see a lot of different people from across the country coming into Meridian to have fun."

The contenders can enjoy the best that Meridian has to offer before the competition. And feedback from people indicates this race will be one for the books.

"They can expect a challenging course. This is the first year that we've run this course and I'm excited about it because it is a challenge," participant Margaret Little said.

"You know this is a lot of people's first time to the south or even to Mississippi so we want to welcome everyone, roll out the hospitality mat and make them feel as if they're a part of our family," Jeremy Campbell said.

The race kicks off at 7 Saturday morning. The race will end and begin at Meridian City Hall. Registration is open until 7 Friday night at the Hilton Garden Inn.