Berlin: Geb 2:05:56

Haile Gebrselassie won the 33rd real,-BERLIN MARATHON in the German capital this morning. But after long threatening the world record of 2hr 04min 55sec, set by his great rival, Paul Tergat on this same course in 2003, the Ethiopian dropped off the pace in the last seven kilometres, and though he finished way ahead of the runners up, he was exactly one minute and one second behind Tergat’s time, with 2.05.56. His compatriot, Shentema Kudama was second in 2.10.43, with JapaneseKurao Umeki third in 2.13.43. Gebrselassie nonetheless set a new personal best, beating his 2.06.20 from Amsterdam a year ago, and said, “I will break the world record one day, I’m sure”.

There was also Ethiopian success in the women’s race when Gete Wami, the former 10,000 metres world champion from 1997, won in 2.21.33, also breaking her personal best of 2.22.19, set in her winning debut in Amsterdam in 2002. Salina Kosgei of Kenya was second in 2.23.22, also a new personal best, bettering her 2.24.32, which was also a winning debut in Paris 2004. Third was Monica Drybulski of Poland, in 2.30.12

The weather was bright and sunny throughout, with temperatures rising from 16 degrees at the 9am start, to 22.5C (73F) at the finish.