BERLIN // Haile Gebrselassie broke his own marathon world record today, becoming the first runner to finish under two hours, four minutes. The Ethiopian clocked 2:03:59 to win his third straight Berlin Marathon, beating the mark of 2:04:26 he set last year over the same course. He also became the first runner to win the race three times. "Today, I'm so, so, so happy. Everything was perfect today," Gebrselassie said.
Running under clear, sunny skies in mild temperature, Gebrselassie paced himself well and controlled the race from the start. The 35-year-old was way out front as passed through the Brandenburg Gate and ran to the finish line to applause from the crowd lining the route. Gebrselassie said his training in the build-up to the race was hindered by an injury. "I had a small calf muscle problem and I stopped for a week, and then I started again a week ago," he said. "Then today I had, you know, some doubts ... but it was really very good."
The Ethiopian praised Berlin and its spectators in helping him break his 26th world record. "Before I came here, I knew I can do something here in Berlin, because since I started running Berlin is my lucky city," Gebrselassie said. "I think everyone ... the whole Berlin people, they watch this race, (are) wonderful, really." *AP