26 Sep 2016

Bekele runs second-fastest marathon time

7:18 am on 26 September 2016

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on a new world record when he out-sprinted Kenya's Wilson Kipsang to win the Berlin marathon in the second fastest race of all time.

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele wins the race during the 43rd Berlin Marathon in Germany, September 25, 2016.

Ethiopean runner Kenenisa Bekele winning 2016 Berlin Marathon Photo: AFP

The triple Olympic champion weathered Kipsang's blistering early pace before he attacked with two kilometres left, crossing the line in an official time of two hours, three minutes and three seconds.

Bekele was just six seconds off Dennis Kimetto's world record.

Kipsang, a former world record holder who won in Berlin three years ago, could not match the Ethiopian's pace towards the end and finished 10 seconds adrift in the fourth-fastest time ever.

Bekele, who missed last month's Rio Olympics, shaved more than two minutes off his previous fastest time.

"I wanted to run a personal best, that was my first goal," Bekele said.

A strong early pace, with the leading runners passing the five kilometre mark in an eye-popping time of 14 minutes 20 seconds, meant the main contenders had the world record in their sights from the start.

A lightning fast race was confirmed by the halfway mark with the leading pack more than a minute inside world record pace.

It quickly became a two-horse race and after 30 kilometres it was Bekele's turn to drop some 30 metres behind the leader as Kipsang staged his first attack.

But the 34-year-old Ethiopian, still the world record holder for the 5,000 and 10,000 metres on the track, refused to buckle and caught Kipsang in the next two kilometres.

Bekele then drew on his strong finish from his days on the track and elegantly pulled away after the final drinks station as Kipsang failed to stay in touch.

Kipsing said he had hoped to win the race and set a personal best.

But he had to settle for just the latter.

"We both ran a fantastic race together and I missed him (Bekele) by a few seconds. Next time it will be another day," Kipsing said.

- Reuters