Eliud Kipchoge enhanced his reputation as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time with a stunning victory on the streets of Berlin on Sunday.
The Olympic champion charged to his second Berlin Marathon victory on a damp day in the German capital as the expected three-way challenge for the world record fell short.
Kipchoge produced a stunning recovery in the final kilometres to overtake debutant Guye Adola to take the victory in two hours, three minutes and 32 seconds – just shy of Dennis Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57.
All the pre-race hype was about the battle between Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele, but the Kenyan's rivals could not keep up.
#beatberlin42 Official men's time for top 3: 1. Eliud Kipchoge KEN 2:03:32, 2. Guye Adola ETH 2:03:46, 3. Mosinet Geremew ETH 2:06:12.— BMW BERLIN-MARATHON (@berlinmarathon) September 24, 2017
Kipsang – the only man to beat Kipchoge over marathon distance – sensationally pulled out of the race after 30 kilometres as he dropped back from the leading group.
It was not to be for 2016 champion Bekele, either, while Kimetto's record was preserved as the conditions hampered the pace at the front.
There looked like being a massive upset as Adola began to distance Kipchoge in the latter stages, but the 32-year-old was far from out of the race and slowly began to reel his opponent in.
With two kilometres to run Kipchoge made his move and Adola had no response, leaving the 2015 winner to pull clear and take another impressive victory – his eighth in nine marathon starts.
Adola had to settle for second place as he came home 14 seconds later, the Ethiopian recording the fastest time on debut.
His fellow Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew completed the top three as he pulled away from Felix Kandie and Vincent Kipruto in a sprint for the line.
Meanwhile, Gladys Cherono made it a Kenyan double with her second Berlin crown in the women's event.
The 34-year-old, who like Kipchoge won in 2015, stopped the clock at 2:20:23, giving her victory by 18 seconds from Ruti Aga, with Valary Aiyabei third.
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