MONZA, Italy (AP) — Eliud Kipchoge was 26 seconds from making history on Saturday but the Olympic champion finished just short of becoming the first person to run a marathon in less than two hours.
Kipchoge ran the 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers) in 2 hours, 26 seconds, beating Dennis Kimetto's world mark of 2:02:57 set at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.
The 32-year-old Kenyan did break his personal best time of 2:03:05, which was set at the London Marathon last year.
Organizers first listed his time as a second faster, then changed it to 26 seconds off the 2-hour mark.
The attempt at Monza's Formula One race course did not go down as an official world record, sanctioned by the IAAF, due to variables like pacers entering mid-race and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.
And, after three years of planning, a sporting goods company's audacious attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier remained just that, despite the aid of a shoe that designers say will make runners four percent more efficient.
Two-time Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa, from Ethiopia, and Eritrean half-marathon world-record holder Zersenay Tadese were also part of the Breaking2 project, which started at 5:45 a.m., but finished well of the pace.
Desisa was dropped after 50 minutes, with Tadese falling back shortly afterwards. The duo still completed the 17 laps of the 1.5-mile Monza track.
That left just Kipchoge chasing the landmark time.
The 32-year-old continued in his trademark relaxed style and passed the halfway mark in 59:54, but his average pace of 4:36 per mile was just not enough, despite his final sprint to the tape.
© 2017 Associated Press