Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) raced to the finish line today at the 43rd annual BMW BERLIN MARATHON just outside a world record, breaking the tape at 2:03:03 and running the second fastest 26.2 mile time ever.
"I am disappointed I couldn't break the world record but I hope I will come back and have a second chance," Bekele said.
After leading the majority of the race, Kenyan Wilson Kipsang came in second, nine seconds back. The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon champion said, "It was a tremendous contest with Kenenisa."
Runners taking on the fast, flat Berlin course have felled the world record seven times and today's men's field proved no different, offering up blistering fast times from the start, in sunny, ideal conditions.
After a blistering start, Kipsang was on word record pace 35km into the course, with Bekele trailing behind him. The Ethiopian made his move with 3k to go, pulling ahead just past the Brandenburg Gate, his late-race kick reminding running fans of his track dominance.
The world champion Bekele, after an impressive Paris Marathon debut, has run his way through the Abbott World Marathon Majors, competing in London, Chicago, and now Berlin. He now holds 34 points in second place on the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series X leaderboard.
The women's race also proved Ethiopia's dominance in the marathon, with Aberu Kebede, Birhane Dibaba and Ruti Aga taking first, second and third places on the podium. Kebede is a Berlin veteran, and her 2:20:45 win marks the third time she serves as champion, bringing her even with Uta Pippig and Renata Kokowksa, who also each have three victories.
Kebede's 25 points now move her into second place on the AbbottWMM Series X leaderboard.
"I am delighted with my win here in Berlin," Kebede said. "Because I know the course so well I could control the race well. I still have a big ambition to break 2:20 and hope I can come back to Berlin and do that here."
In the men's wheelchair race, Switzerland's Marcel Hug, known as the Silver Bullet, continued his Series X winning streak, completing the race in a sprint finish ahead of frequent competitor Ernst van Dyk (AUS) and Hiroki Nishida of Japan.
Hug tried his best to break away from those two men the whole race, but the pack stubbornly remained with him. He edged ahead in the final seconds. Hug has now solidified his lead in the AbbottWMM Wheelchair Series X, bringing his total to 100 points.
In the women's wheelchair race, Switzerland's Manuela Schar broke away very soon after she passed the start. Her 1:43:00 finish now puts her in striking distance of first place on the women's leaderboard.
"I felt good until the last 7K," she said. "It was really hard after all the racing in Rio, but I'm pleased with my time."