Haile Gebrselassie won the Berlin Marathon for the fourth time on Sunday despite struggling in the last third of the race.
The Ethiopian star was on world record pace in the first 30 kilometers. But once his last pace maker dropped out, Gebrselassie noticeably slowed down and was gritting his teeth by the time he approached the finish line under the Brandenburg Gate in sunny and warm weather.
“It wasn’t marathon weather,” Gebrselassie said. “It was too warm in the last 10 kilometers. ... At the beginning it was perfect. I could have tried to push maybe, but really it’s wonderful. I am OK.”
Gebrselassie set world records in winning on his favourite course the last two years, but this time he finished well over in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 8 seconds.
Last year, Gebrselassie became the first man to run under 2 hours, 4 minutes when he finished in 2:03:59 and slashed 27 seconds off his previous mark.
Francis Kiprop of Kenya was second in 2:07:04 and Negari Therfa of Ethiopia was third in 2:07:41.
An Ethiopian runner also won the women’s marathon, with Atsede Besuye crossing the line in 2:24:47.
Silvia Skvortsova of Russia was second in 2:26:24 and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia was third in 2:26:38.