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Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele won the Berlin Marathon in 2:01:41, the second-fastest time in history, on Sunday.
Bekele, 37, missed Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge‘s world record, set in Berlin last year, by two seconds.
Kipchoge skipped Berlin this year to attempt a special sub-two-hour marathon in October in Vienna, not under record-eligible conditions.
Former Olympic and world champion Kenenisa Bekele staged a thrilling comeback on Sunday, dramatically missing the world record by two seconds.
Ethiopian Bekele, winner in Berlin in 2016 and world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 meters, finished in two hours, one minute and 41 seconds, agonizingly close to Eliud Kipchoge's world record time despite a full sprint in the final 400 meters.
"I felt a little pain in the beginning so I dropped behind," Bekele told reporters. "After a few kilometers I started relaxing so I tied 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."
Bekele was part of a group, including fellow countrymen Birhanu Legese and Sisay Lemma, that quickly broke from the pack with a quick pace.
Legese, winner of this year's Tokyo marathon, then gradually shook off Bekele and then Lemma after the 30km mark.
But Bekele battled back, leaving Lemma in his wake and then reined in Legese to cruise ahead but missed the world record time by two seconds despite a thrilling sprint toward the finish line.
"I was recovering (from injury) only three months ago. My preparation was not 100%. Fantastic result but I feel sorry missing marathon record by two seconds," Bekele said.
Legese took second place in 2:02:48, becoming the third fastest marathon runner ever. Lemma was third, another 48 seconds behind.
In the women's race Ethiopian Ashete Bekere beat Mare Dibaba in a sprint to the finish to win with a time of 2:20:14 and complete the Ethiopian sweep.(09/29/2019) Views: 2,013 ⚡AMP
The story of the BERLIN-MARATHON is a story of the development of road running. When the first BERLIN-MARATHON was started on 13th October 1974 on a minor road next to the stadium of the organisers‘ club SC Charlottenburg Berlin 286 athletes had entered. The first winners were runners from Berlin: Günter Hallas (2:44:53), who still runs the BERLIN-MARATHON today, and...more...