Tergat targets Olympic gold

The 34-year-old Kenyan, who won his first marathon and became the first man to run it under two hours and five minutes, said he was delighted to have set the record of 2:04:55 but still had some unfinished business at the Olympics.

"I've never had a gold medal in the Olympics and have been second in the big events," Tergat said.

"It is a big challenge for me to get a gold medal in the Olympics. But first I have to be on the Kenyan national team."

Tergat's first victory in the 42.195-km (26.2 miles) race put an end to his agony of being the nearly-man of distance running. He focused on endurance in training, running a marathon-distance session every fortnight for four months.

"I really enjoyed myself," he said of his Berlin race. "It was a very good run the whole way. In the past I had stomach or muscle cramps in the last two to four kilometres. But I had no problems at all. I worked hard on the endurance and it paid off."

The Kenyan was twice second in the Olympic 10,000 metres, losing epic duels with Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie in 1996 and 2000. He also took 10,000 metres silver medals at world championships in 1997 and 1999 and was second in the London Marathon in 2002 and 2001, and in Chicago in 2001.

"I was second most of the time," he said. "For me to think of a world record in the marathon made some people say `He should win a marathon first.' But I had a lot of confidence. I said to myself four months ago I would go for the record in Berlin." Second places are not good enough for Kenyan runners and despite a brilliant career featuring five world cross-country titles, Tergat faced some criticism at home.

"I really wanted to put this behind me and rise to the occasion," he said. "Not only winning but running a sub-2:05 is consolation for all that happened before. I hope the record will stand for some time."

While the Olympic marathon next year is now his main focus, Tergat said he might run the London Marathon in April as well.