Eliud Kipchoge was 25 seconds from making history on Saturday but in the end the Olympic champion was just short of becoming the first person to run a marathon in less than two hours.

Kipchoge ran the 42.2 kilometres in 2 hours and 24 seconds, beating Dennis Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57, but the Kenyan failed to run the first sub-two hour marathon.

The 32-year-old did break his personal best time of 2:03:05, which was set at the London Marathon last year.

The attempt at Monza's Formula One track did not go down as an official world record, sanctioned by the IAAF, due to variables like pacemakers entering mid-race and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.

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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 per cent more efficient.

- AAP