A heartbreaking Sunday for Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.

His city's failed in a Guinness World Record attempt for the most people patting each other on the back simultaneously.

Two hundred and fifty one were needed to break the record - with Invercargill drawing a crowd about 70 less than needed.

Shadbolt was one of the 180 who turned up to rub shoulders and pat backs, before the realisation dawned on them that they were going to fall short.

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However, despite failing to break the record, the Mayor said "it was still enjoyable."

"I've never stood in such a long queue and back patted someone for 60 seconds," he said.