Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai won Sunday's Berlin marathon in a time of two hours four minutes and 15 seconds, missing out on his attempt to lower the world record of 2:03:38 set here by Patrick Makau last year.
"For sure the record was possible but I had some problems with my leg," the 30-year-old winner explained.
Mutai was followed across the line only one second adrift by his compatriot, Dennis Kimetto, who was making his marathon debut, with another Kenyan, Geoffrey Kipsang, in third at 2:16:12.
Mutai, winner of the New York marathon in 2011, was going one better in Berlin after filling second behind Makau, who missed this in favour of the Frankfurt marathon at the end of the month, in 2010.
In perfect record-setting conditions Mutai and Kimetto were 25sec down on Makau's benchmark time at the 20km marker, but had got back to within seven seconds of the record at the 40km pole, the pair failing to produce the extra push needed in the closing stages.
This success was some consolation for Mutai after missing out on selection for the London Olympics.
Ethiopia's Aberu Abede won the women's race in a time of 2:20:30 two years after her first success in Berlin. In second came her compatriot Tirfi Tsegaye (2:21:19) with Olena Shurhno of Ukraine in third (2:23:32).