MONZA, ITALY —
Eliud Kipchoge was 26 seconds from making history 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.
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, because of variables like pacers entering midrace and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.
And, after three years of planning, Nike’s audacious attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier remained just that, despite the aid of a shoe that designers say will make runners 4 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 off the pace.
The 32-year-old ran 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.