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BERLIN (Reuters) - Kenyan favorite Eliud Kipchoge shrugged off mid-race footwear problems to win the Berlin marathon on Sunday with a personal best time of two hours, four minutes and one second but missed out on a world record by more than a minute.
The in-form 30-year-old Kenyan, who also won the London race in April, proved a master of the flat, inner-city course, regarded as the fastest marathon in the world, even as his insoles slipped out of his shoes early in the race.
Kipchoge, a former double Olympic medalist at 5,000m, quickly led a group of six runners, including fellow Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffrey Mutai, as they quickly broke away from the pack on a sun-drenched autumn morning.
The Kenyan looked unaffected when the insoles of his shoes started slipping up to his ankles and flapped against his thighs with every step.
But it was Geoffrey Mutai, who won here in 2012 and was one of the pre-race favorites, who dropped back first, failing to keep up with grueling pace.
Kipchoge, undeterred by his footwear mishap, pulled away after 32 kilometers, gradually building up a 30-metre lead over his rivals and extending it as he cruised to victory with his new-found footwear wings still flapping.
Kenyan Eliud Kiptanui was second while Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa came in third.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Sudipto Ganguly