Kenenisa Bekele's spirited sprint to the finish line won the Ethiopian the Berlin Marathon. But he fell short of breaking the world record set last year in Berlin by just two seconds.
Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele won the Berlin Marathon on Sunday, missing the world record by just a sliver despite a dramatic push to the finish line.
Bekele, who holds the world record in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter events, finished the race in two hours, one minute and 41 seconds, just two seconds behind the world record set last year in Berlin by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge.
Kipchoge was not in the race because he is preparing for another attempt to break the two-hour marathon mark in Vienna on October 12.
Although Bekele was part of a group that quickly broke from the pack, he remained behind fellow countrymen Birhanu Legese and Sisay Lemma.
But he later picked up the pace, shooting past Bekele and then Lemma after the 30 kilometer mark. With 10 kilometers left in the race, he was still one minute behind the world record, but in a dramatic flurry finished strongly to come up just short of the world's best.
"I felt a little pain in the beginning so I dropped behind," Bekele told reporters. "After a few kilometers I started relaxing; so I tried to push a little bit."
"I am very sorry. I am not lucky. I am very happy running my personal best. But I still can do this [world record]. I don't give up. It is encouraging for the future."
The racing great had suffered an injury and had an operation just a few months ago.
Legese finished in second place at 2:02:48. Lemma was third, another 48 seconds behind.
In the women's race, Ethiopian Ashete Bekere beat out compatriot Mare Dibaba with 2:20:14. Kenya's Sally Chepyego was third.
Britain's Paula Radcliffe holds the women's best of 2:15:25 from London in 2003.
cw/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)