New Zealand athlete Sam Harvey has fallen just short of breaking the world record for ultra distance running, after running non-stop for more than four days.

Harvey ran for 101 hours and covered 677km in the Australian Masters Backyard Ultra at Dead Cow Gully in Queensland.

Along with Australian Phil Gore, Harvey equalled the existing world record just before 2pm NZ time when he completed his 101st lap of the course on an outback farm.

But Harvey, from Canterbury, pulled out at the start of the next lap, having suffered breathing difficulties from a suspected chest infection during the last eight hours, leaving Gore to claim victory in the event, and a new world record of 102 laps (684km).

His father, Mike Harvey, said Sam was hurting all over, but had been determined to match the existing world record.

“The wheels could have fallen off at any stage last night. But he’s such a stubborn bastard.”

Gore had helped him keep going during the night, so the pair could achieve the world record.

The race started on Saturday morning and has no defined end, finishing when there is only one person left standing, after everyone else has dropped out.

Each hour, competitors run a 6.7km loop, and must be back at the start line to begin the next lap, on the hour, every hour.

If runners don’t make it back to the start within an hour, or don’t line up in the starting corral in time, they are out of the race. There is only one finisher – the winner – with everyone else considered a DNF (Did Not Finish).

According to Source of photos: internet