Nick Willis' ambitions for a first world championship medal were dashed in the 1500m final in Beijing last night.
The Lower Hutt runner finished sixth in a thrilling final, won for a third straight championships by the brilliant Kenyan Asbel Kiprop.
He roared through the stellar field over the final 200m to win in 3min 34.40s to back up victories in 2011 and 2013.
It seemed he may have left his move late, with 2012 Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria a couple of metres clear and sprinting hard on the turn heading for home.
However Kiprop, 26, hauled in the leaders spectacularly to win the gold.
Willis clocked 3:35.46 for sixth. He settled near the rear of the field and was no more than in the middle of the pack at any point.
When Makhloufi then, decisively, Kiprop turned on the heat Willis was unable to go with him. Yet only 1.06s covered the first six runners in a race in which no big names were missing. It was as good a field as it could be.
Willis, 32, had run a personal best 3:29.66 in Monaco recently and only three runners in the field had a faster season best time this year going into the event.
He had been hoping to join Valerie Adams and Beatrice Faumuina as New Zealand's only world championship medallists since the event began in 1983.
Kiprop's compatriot Elijah Manangoi took silver in 3:34.63, while Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco was third in 3:34.67.
Meanwhile four-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Adams was yesterday elected to the IAAF's athletes commission.
Adams topped the poll of 1837 accredited athletes at the championships to elect six athletes to sit on the commission for the next four years.
''I'm so grateful to be elected in the IAAF athletes commission and looking forward to help make our sport and especially throws events progress more in a positive way," said Adams.