Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge smashed the marathon world record, winning the Berlin race in 2h 01m 39s yesterday.

Organisers of the Berlin marathon initially put Kipchoge's time at 2h 01m 40s but later reduced it by one second.

The 33-year-old broke the previous world record set in Berlin by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 by 1m 18s.

"I lack words to describe this day," Kipchoge said after becoming the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2h 02m.

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"They say you miss two times but you can't miss the third time," he said in reference to his two previous failed attempts to break the world record in Berlin.

The Kenyan defended his 2017 title in the German capital, pulling ahead of other runners early on amid perfect conditions.

Mild temperatures and little to no wind gave the runners of the 45th Berlin marathon an advantage over last year, when rain slowed the race.

Berlin debutant Amos Kipruto came second in 2h 06m 23s, followed by a third Kenyan, former world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, with 2h 06m 48s.

Gladys Cherono won the women's race in 2h 18m 11s, a record for the Berlin marathon. The previous record was set by Mizuki Noguchi of Japan 13 years ago. The 35-year-old Kenyan, who has won twice before in Berlin, said she felt confident going into the race but wasn't sure she would beat favourite Tirunesh Dibaba, who came third behind fellow Ethiopian Rutia Aga.

A total of 44,389 runners from 133 countries took part in the race.

- AP