Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele has run the second-fastest marathon of all time, in Berlin. The triple Olympic champion beat his own best time by two minutes.
On a warm autumn day in Germany's capital on Sunday, Kenenisa Bekele out-sprinted Kenya's Wilson Kipsang to cross the Marathon finishing line in an official time of two hours, three minutes and three seconds. He was just six seconds off Dennis Kimetto's world record.
"I wanted to run a personal best," Bekele said. "The time was fast but I am a little disappointed I missed the world record."
There was a strong early pace with the first five kilometers (three miles) passed in 14 minutes 20 seconds. By half way, the leading pack was more than a minute inside world-record pace.
After 30 kilometers (18 miles,) Bekele dropped 30 meters (32 yards) behind Kipsang. But the 34-year-old Ethiopian made up the ground over the following two kilometers (one mile.)
Bekele, who holds the world record times for both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters (5,400 and 10,900 yards) on the track, pulled away after the final drinks station as Kipsang faded.
"I was hoping to win it and run a personal best," Kipsang said. "I did it." The Kenyan finished 10 seconds inside his world record time of 2013. "We both ran a fantastic race together and I missed him (Bekele) by a few seconds. Next time it will be another day."
Evans Chebet of Kenya was third in 2:05:31.
Bekele is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He won three Olympic titles and five world championship golds as well as his two world records.
Ethiopia took the top three places in the women's race with Aberu Kebede winning in 2:20:45 ahead of Birhane Dibaba in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga who was third in 2:24:41.
jm/jil (dpa, AFP)