May 16, 2014 10:20 PM by Bart Bedsole - firstname.lastname@example.org
CORPUS CHRISTI - The largest relay in America gets underway early Saturday morning.
Beach To Bay has once again attracted tens of thousands of people to the area, but even if you don't run, there are plenty of reasons to cheer on those who will pass the batons.
It's also a huge moneymaker for local businesses.
Beach To Bay brings more money to town that almost any other annual event.
Race Director Doug McBee says, "I've heard estimates of 2 or 3 million, for just a 1-day event. That's pretty darn big."
San Antonio Runner Courtney Schwind says, "To get this many runners in one location at one time, it doesn't happen very often."
"I mean it's right up there with our busier holiday weekends, such as Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Spring Break," says Ashley Higson, Communications Director for the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"I always refer to it as the adult Spring Break," adds McBee, "I think they just come down really to have fun, and enjoy the town for the whole weekend, because all of our reservation people are telling me they're staying for the whole weekend."
Ricardo Samudio, who is in town from San Antonio to support his wife, has plans beyond the race.
"Go the beach, you know, hit up everything on SPID," he says.
On Shoreline Friday evening, workers tied on the finish line banner before propping it up into place.
Beyond that is a virtual tent city for runners.
And while running is still the driving force behind Beach To Bay, the rewards go well beyond the finish line.
"They also donate a large amount of money to charities here, so it's a great thing for Corpus Christi in general, and I think it also helps put corpus on the map, it gives us a lot of exposure. So overall, I think it's a very important event for the city," says Higson.
Higson says an estimated 5,000 hotel rooms are booked this weekend as a result of the relay tomorrow.
That alone is impressive, and that obviously carries over into restaurants, shopping, and more.
1 hour ago
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