Kenyan world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge has won the Berlin Marathon for a record fifth time, crossing the line in 2hr 02min 42sec in the German capital on Sunday.
Kipchoge finished 31 seconds ahead of countryman Vincent Kipkemoi with Ethiopian Tadese Takele third, 42 seconds off the pace.
Kipchoge’s fifth win takes him past Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie’s four victories but the Kenyan finished outside his previous world record, set last year in Berlin, of 2:01:09.
Despite doubts after a surprise sixth-place at the Boston Marathon in April, 38-year-old Kipchoge came into the race confident, saying he felt he was “coming home” at a race he has won four times -- and set the world record at twice.
Kipchoge and Ethiopian Derseh Kindie pulled away from the pack early, the two crossing the halfway point with a split of 60:21, slower than the Kenyan’s 2022 world-record time of 59:51.
Kindie, whose personal best stands seven minutes outside the world mark, kept pace with Kipchoge until 31 kilometres, where he suddenly fell back and appeared to drop out of the race, walking gingerly on the footpath as other runners overtook him.
Kipchoge continued to maintain his pace and crossed the line well clear of other runners for a record fifth win.
Two minutes before the marathon began, police were called into action, dragging climate protesters carrying buckets of orange paint from the track within sight of the runners standing on the starting blocks.
As swiftly as the protesters swarmed the track they were removed, with only traces of paint remaining as the race began on time.
Berlin mayor Kai Wegner started the race pressing a red buzzer, the organisers feeling the traditional starting pistol was inappropriate in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
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