Berlin: Kenyan great Eliud Kipchoge has beaten his own world marathon record by 30 seconds, running 2hr 01min 10sec in Berlin on Sunday.
At the halfway point the back-to-back Olympic champion in Rio and Tokyo looked set to become the first to officially run under the elusive two-hour mark.
But despite slowing slightly the 37-year-old held on to best his own record from Berlin in 2018.
Kenyan Mark Korir finished second behind his countryman with a time of 2:05:58, while Ethiopian Tadu Abate came third with 2:06:28.
Ethiopian Andamlak Belihu, who kept up with Kipchoge for around two thirds of the race, held on for fourth.
In the women's field, Ethiopian Tigist Assefa ran the third fastest time in history, setting a course record of 2:15:37.
Assefa was not among the pre-race favourites and sensationally beat her previous best by 18 minutes.
Kipchoge, who on Friday said his only goal was "to run a good race", burst out of the blocks, clearly aiming not only for a world record but to beat the two-hour mark.
A pod of around seven runners kept up with Kipchoge for the first 10 kilometres, before 2021 winner Guye Adola and Belihiu pulled away after 15 kilometres.
Adola was unable to maintain the pace and began to fall back after 18 kilometres, with both Kipchoge and Belihu reaching the half marathon mark in less than an hour.
Kipchoge emerged on his own after 25 kilometres and was still on pace for the sub-two-hour mark, but began to slow slightly despite still keeping the world record in his sights.
Kipchoge became just the second man to win four Berlin Marathons, joining Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie who owned the event from 2006 to 2009.
He boasts an unmatched record over the marathon, having now won 15 of his 17 career outings over the event, including not only his two Olympic triumphs but also 10 World Marathon Majors victories.
The women's field was also one of the fastest in marathon history, with four women beating the two hour and 20 minute mark.
Only one of the women taking part in Berlin, American Kiera D'Amato, had previously run under the landmark time.
Kenyan Rosemary Wanjiru came second with a time of 2:18:00 in her first ever marathon, making it the second fastest debut time ever recorded by a woman.
Ethiopian Tigist Abayechew came third in 2:18:03, while countrywoman Workenesh Edesa also ran under the 2:20:00 mark.
D'Amato came sixth with a time of 2:21:48.