Patrick Makau of Kenya broke the world record to win the Berlin Marathon on Sunday.

Makau pulled away after about 16 miles and finished in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 38 seconds.

Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, who held the previous record of 2:03.59, pulled up after Makau's breakaway and seemed on the verge of giving up when he stopped running and bent over, but resumed the race.

For several miles he was second, about two minutes behind Makau, but appeared to have finally given up before the finish.

Gebrselassie had won four successive Berlin marathons from 2006 and set his world record in 2008.

Makau also won last year's race in driving rain. Sunday's race on Berlin's flat course took place in sunny, mild conditions.

The 26-year-old Makau brandished a Kenyan flag after coming through the landmark Brandenburg Gate and crossing the finish line.

"I was hoping to gain a lot of experience but not to win," he said. "Today maybe a new generation is starting in marathon.

"My body was not good in the morning but I had no problems in the race, I did everything well."

By the 21st mile, Makau was alone in front.

Gebrselassie, 38, pulled out of the New York City Marathon in November with a knee injury and retired immediately after the race. But he changed his mind eight days later.

He injured both knees when he fell during a training run in the rugged countryside of his homeland but came back to win a half-marathon in April in Vienna, Austria. He also won the 10,000-meter Great Manchester Run in May.

Stephen Kwelio Chemplany, a pacemaker from Kenya, finished second in 2:07.55, and another Kenyan, Edwin Kimaiyo, was third in 2:09.50.

Florence Kiplagat of Kenya won the women's race in 2:19.44, ahead of Irina Mikitenko of Germany and world record holder Paula Radcliffe of Britain, who was making her Berlin debut.

Mikitenko clocked 2:22.18 and Radcliffe finished in 2.23.46.