Kenenisa Bekele claimed a stunning victory at the Berlin marathon but fell two seconds short of breaking the world record.
The 37-year-old, a former Olympic champion in the 5000 and 10000 metres, finished in a sublime time of two hours, one minute and 41 seconds on Sunday.
But Bekele was agonisingly short of the world best time of 2:01:39, which was set by Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge at the same race last year.
Kipchoge was absent as he prepares to try and better his record with a sub two-hour marathon next month.
Ethiopia's Bekele, who was ahead of world-record pace at the midway stage, fell away in the second half of the race before a remarkable recovery saw him come desperately close to history.
He said: "I am very sorry. I am not lucky. But I still can do this. I don't give up."
Birhanu Legese finished second and was a minute and seven seconds back but still managed to set the third fastest time in history.
Ashete Bekere outsprinted compatriot Mare Dibaba in another Ethiopan win in the women's event.
The winner finished in 2:20:14, eight seconds clear, as Gladys Cherono failed in her attempt to become the first woman to win the Berlin marathon four times.