The 35-year-old brushed off a calf injury he suffered in training two weeks ago to come home in a time of 2hrs 03min 59sec. He took nearly half a minute off his own previous world record of 2hrs 04mins 26sec set here twelve months ago to fulfill his own confident pre-race prediction of setting a new best mark.
This was the sixth time the world record has been broken in Berlin on the traditionally flat course.
“I am so, so happy, everything was perfect, the weather was perfect, the spectators were perfect, everything – I am so happy” said the Ethiopian. “Two weeks ago I had a bit of a problem with my calf muscle, but I took a week off. It gave me a few worries coming here, but I forgot about it as the race wore on.”
The twice Olympic 5000m champion has plenty of reasons to be happy. As well as breaking the 26th world record of his career he will receive €50,000 ($73,000) for winning on top of his estimated €250,000 ($365,000) fee for racing here.
It was his sixth victory in his ninth marathon and this was the 35th Berlin marathon has been held.
“I knew before I came here I could do something special, if you look from the beginning, everyone in Berlin seems to come and watch the race, it’s a wonderful feeling,” said Gebrselassie.
Kenya’s James Kwambai finished second in a time of 2hrs 5mins 36secs and his compatriot Charles Kamathi was third in 2hrs 7mins 48secs.
Germany’s Irina Mikitenko, who won the London marathon earlier this year, won the women’s race in a time of 2hrs 19mins 18secs which was a personal best and the fastest time in the world this year.