The defending Champion Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele stopped half way while the debutant Ethiopian marathoner Guye Adola finished a surprise second clocking two hours three minutes and 46 seconds in the 44th Berlin Marathon held on Sunday.
The third place was also won by Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew at a time of 2:06:09.
It was reported from the scene that Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge staved off a surprise challenge from Ethiopian debutant Guye Adola to win an enthralling Berlin marathon, but missed out on his bid to set a new world record.
Prior to the race, Kipchoge, fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele had all set their sights on breaking Dennis Kimetto's leading marathon mark of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds along the flat, inner-city course.
Instead, Kipchoge ended up becoming embroiled in a classic tussle with the 26-year-old Guye, making his marathon debut, and needed until the 41st kilometre of the damp course to shake off his last surviving rival and cross the line in 2:03:32.
Guye finished 14 seconds adrift of the winner, with his Ethiopian compatriot Mosinet Geremew finishing third in 2:06:09.
"I am happy to have run this race. The conditions were not friendly because of the rain," Kipchoge told reporters. "Luckily there was not strong wind.
"I didn't expect Guye Adolo but I am happy for him. This is sport." Kipchoge's victory was his second in Berlin.
Reaching halfway in 61:29, Kenenisa Bekele was the first of the big names to fall back, his bid to become the first man to hold the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon world records dashed in the spray kicked up from Kipsang and Kipchoge as they sped away. After making an attempt to catch up Kenenisa pulled out from the race.
Last year Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on a new world record when he out-sprinted Kenya's Wilson Kipsang to win the Berlin marathon in the second fastest race of all time. The Berlin marathon last year took place on the 25th of September.
The triple Olympic champion weathered Kipsang's blistering early pace before he attacked with two kilometres left, crossing the line in an official time of two hours, three minutes and three seconds, six seconds off Dennis Kimetto's world record.
Kenenisa who shaved more than two minutes off his previous fastest, was quot ing as saying after victory last year, "I wanted to run a personal best, that was my first goal. The time was fantastic but I am a bit disappointed as well, as I missed a few seconds in the end."
This year Kenenisa vowed to break the world record in his run for the second time to defend his title but to no avail. He stopped half way instead.
This is not the first time for Kenenisa to pull out from the most gruelling 42 km and 195m marathon in the middle of the race. He had one in Dubai marathon.
Former world record holder Kipsang was the next to run out of steam and walked off the course shortly after the 30km mark, setting the stage for a stunning duel between Kipchoge and Guye.
Guye was determined to upstage the favorite and attempted an audacious bid to break clear after 37km but Kipchoge kept his cool and caught back up with the Ethiopian four minutes later.
A revived Kipchoge then surged clear of Guye as they approached the iconic Brandenburg Gate, leaving the rookie with the consolation of setting the fastest ever debut time on a record-eligible course.
Guye at the end said that he was hoping to win it and run a personal best. He didn't win but this was his personal best in big international meet as this was his first appearance.
"Unexpectedly Kenenisa left far behind. I was in the lead just metres away from the crossing line. We both ran a fantastic race together and I missed Eliud Kipchoge by a few seconds. I will do everything possible to dethrone him next time. Tomorrow is another day," Guye was quoted as saying after finishing second 14 seconds adrift of the winner.
In the women's event Gladys Cherono helped recreate the roll of honor from 2015, with the Kenyan winning the women's race in 2:20:23 to also record a second win in the event.
Cherono was unchallenged en route to her second win in the German capital but was a minute slower than two years ago. Ruti Aga of Ethiopia was second, 19 seconds behind, and Kenya's Valary Aiyabei was third.
Ruti Aga made one ladder up from her last year Berlin Marathon standing. Last year Ethiopia enjoyed a sweep of the podium in the women's race with Aberu Kebede winning her third Berlin marathon with a time of 2:20:45. Her compatriots Birhane Dibaba followed her to claim the second place ahead of Ruti Aga who won the third place. This time Ruti improved to the second place.