Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele attacked former world record holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya with just over one kilometre left to win another super-fast Berlin Marathon on Sunday.
The three-time Olympic champion Bekele missed the world record by a mere six seconds as he clocked two hours, three minutes and three seconds, taking two minutes off his personal best on a sunny morning.
Bekele's time was the second best of all time, and Kipsang's 2:03:13 the fourth fastest ever as he raised his personal best from the then world record run in 2013 on the same course by 10 seconds.
Another Kenyan, Evans Chebet, was a distant third in 2:05:31.
The frontrunners were on world record pace for most of the 42.195km race but the mark of 2:02.57 from Dennis Kimetto's 2014 Berlin win eventually stayed untouched.
"I wanted to run a personal best. The time was fast but I am a little disappointed I missed the world record," Bekele said.
Kipsang said: "I really hoped to run a world record but I am happy with the personal best. Congratulations to Kenenisa, we did a fantastic race together."
Bekele made his move at 41km and had a clear lead as he ran though the Brandenburg Gate to victory.
It was the latest milestone for the 34-year-old who was plagued by Achilles tendon problems last year and only returned in April in London. Bekele holds the 5,000m and 10,000m world records and has three Olympic golds and five world titles on the track.
He ended Kenya's win streak in Berlin seven years after famous countryman and ex-world record holder Haile Gebrselassie had won his fourth straight Berlin title.
The women's race also went to Ethiopia as Aberu Kebede claimed a record-tying third Berlin top spot following 2010 and 2012 in 2:20:45 hours. German Uta Pippig and Poland's Renata Kokowska also have three wins.
Kelele led an Ethiopian sweep from Birhane Dibaba (2:23:58) and Ruti Aga (2:24:41).
Australian Cassie Fien finished eighth in 2:37:28.