Ethiopia's Tigst Assefa broke the women's marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, chopping off more than two minutes from the previous best to clock an official time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 53 seconds.
On a day of new records, Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to win five Berlin marathons.
Climate activists had threatened to disrupt the event by running onto the course with buckets of orange paint. However, police quickly intervened and the protesters were taken away, shortly before the race got underway.
Assefa: 'I didn't expect to run this fast'
Assefa slashed a massive 2:11 minutes off the previous women's world record of 2:14:04, set in 2019 by Kenyan Brigid Kosgei in Chicago.
She also improved her personal best by 3:44 minutes, which she ran in last year's marathon in the German capital.
"I didn't expect to run this fast, that is to say to break 2:12, but it is the result of hard work," the new world record holder admitted after the race.
Kenyan Sheila Chepkirui came in second, but was nearly six minutes behind the winner. Magdalena Shauri of Tanzania came third. A record eight women finished the race in under 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Five-star performance from Kipchoge
Kenyan Kipchoge also repeated his win from last year but was unable to improve upon his world record. The 38-year-old missed his previous best from Berlin 2022 by just over a minute and a half, with a time of 2 hours, 2 minutes, 42 seconds.
Debutants Vincent Kipkemoi of Kenya (2:03:13) and Tadase Takele of Ethiopia (2:03:24) came second and third respectively.
Kipchoge now stands alone as the man with the most Berlin Marathon victories, moving one ahead of the Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie who won four consecutive races in the German capital between 2006 and 2009. Kipchoge's wins have come in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2022 and now in this year's race.
"I always learn from every race and every victory. I'm very happy to win for the fifth time in Berlin," Kipchoge said.
Last Generation attempts foiled
The environmental group Last Generation had signaled its intent to disrupt the event, having performed similar stunts with paint in the past. Police and security personnel led away a group of Last Generation activists who entered the course from either side of the road as they tried to block the route shortly before the start of the event. Marathon runners passed streaks of bright orange paint that activists had splashed across the road.
Last week, the environmental group sprayed paint over the Brandenburg Gate. The popular landmark and symbol of Germany is located near the finish of the marathon course.
Jürgen Lock, the managing director of SCC events, a group that is in charge of the marathon, said he hoped "nothing untoward happens in terms of a demonstration, but we have plans for such eventualities."
Lock told reporters they were looking "forward to an enjoyable and peaceful weekend of sport" and asked demonstrators "not to interfere with the events themselves."
jsi/nm (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)