Kenya's Dennis Kimetto smashed the marathon world record in Berlin, winning the race in a time of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds after setting a scintillating pace from the start.

The 30-year-old pre-race favourite broke away in a seven-man group, including fellow Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffrey Kamworor, after 20km on a sun-drenched and cool Berlin morning.

With four kilometres remaining, he pulled clear from Mutai after the pair had shaken off Kamworor a little earlier to become the first man to complete the race in less than two hours and three minutes.

This is the second consecutive world record in Berlin, considered the world's fastest marathon course, after Kenyan Wilson Kipsang's previous world best of 2:03:23 was set in the German capital last year.

"I feel good because I won a very tough race," the soft-spoken Kimetto told reporters. "I felt good from the start and in the last five kilometres I felt I could do it (break the record)."

Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene won the women's event in 2:20:18, edging out second-placed compatriot Feyse Tadese by nine seconds.

Classification (men's)

1. Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) 2:02:57

2. Emmanuel Kipchirchir Mutai (Kenya) 2:03:13 

3. Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) 2:05:56

Source: Reuters