Zane Robertson has broken Dick Quax's 39-year-old national 10,000m record to finish 12th at the Rio Olympics behind Britain's Mo Farah.

The 26-year-old had targeted the record before the race and bettered it by more than eight seconds to clock 27 minutes 33.67 seconds as Farah recovered from a fall to retain his title from London.

Farah was tripped with 16 laps to go and fell to the track but he picked himself up and after a sizzling final lap won in 27:05.17.

Kenya's Paul Tanui led Farah into the home straight on the final lap but the defending champion kicked clear and he had to settle for silver with Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola taking bronze.

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Quax set the previous NZ record back in 1977 after running 27:41.95.

Robertson also took more than 13sec off his previous best of 27:46.82.

He has been outspoken in his criticism of doping in Kenyan athletics and said he had received evil looks from Kenyan athletes since arriving in the Olympic athletes' village.

- AAP