Marathons in Japan have been largely cancelled and postponed due to COVID-19 ©Getty Images

A study has estimated that the cancellation of Japanese marathons and road races due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an economic loss of ¥710 billion (£5.21 billion/$6.74 billion/€5.75 billion).

Published by Katsuhiro Miyamoto, a professor of theoretical economics at Kansai University, the report is based on the cancellation or postponement of 460 marathons and road races in Japan from the autumn of 2020 to the spring of 2021.

For races with more than 2,000 participants, the study's calculation included linked losses such as reduced spending by vendors due to decreased income, as well as the loss of entry fees and accommodation costs, according to Japan Running News.

The Tokyo Marathon, the largest in the country and one of the World Marathon Majors, is estimated to lose around ¥29 billion (£213 million/$275 million/€235 million) in 2021 as it might again be an elite-only race.

The loss from the cancellation of the Osaka Marathon, initially scheduled for November, was estimated at ¥18 billion (£132 million/$171 million/€146 million).

Its 2019 race attracted 33,000 participants from across the nation, making it the second-largest in the Tokyo 2020 host nation.

Another cancelled event, the Kobe Marathon, is expected to face losses of ¥7 billion (£51.4 million/$66.5 million/€56.7 million).

This year's Tokyo Marathon was limited to an elite field ©Getty Images
This year's Tokyo Marathon was limited to an elite field ©Getty Images

"As an economic loss, the cancellation and postponement of marathons represent a negative stimulus to regional economic revitalisation," said Miyamoto.

According to R-bies Inc, a Tokyo-based race entry operator, more than 130 of the races in its system scheduled for after the end of September have already been cancelled.

"Even if races are able to go ahead, there is a risk of major deficits," added Doshisha University professor Hiroaki Ninomiya, a specialist in sports economics.

"Moving forward, rather than just going ahead with an event no matter what, it will be essential to develop income streams other than entry fees to make races profitable."

The study's figures do not include races that have been cancelled or postponed between February and September 2020.

This includes the 2020 Tokyo Marathon on March 1, which was limited to an elite field only due to the early threat of the virus.