Bekele wins Paris Marathon
Kenenisa Bekele marked his marathon debut with victory and a new course record in Paris on Sunday.
Bekele laid down a challenge for Mo Farah next weekend by marking his marathon debut with victory.
The Ethiopian, the world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, took nine seconds off the course record at the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris to come home in two hours five minutes and three seconds, making his run the sixth fastest debut in history.
Farah will make his marathon bow at the Virgin Money London Marathon in seven days' time, against an incredibly strong field, and will be able to take plenty of encouragement from fellow track great Bekele's first outing at the distance.
"I had no marathon experience before today and it was very tough," Bekele said on the IAAF's official website. "But I ran the time that I expected.
"After 25km I pushed on alone. My hamstring was cramping after 25km to 30km so I was a bit worried and it was very tough, but it was okay in the end."
Fellow Ethiopian Limenih Getachew was a distant second in 2hrs 06:49mins, with Kenya's Luca Kanda completing the top three.
Bekele, a three-time Olympic and five-time world champion on the track, was stepping up to 26.2 miles five years after his last global track title.
He was in front when the final pacemaker dropped out at 25km and soon began to push the pace, with compatriot Tamirat Tola alongside him.
The 31-year-old kicked on after 30km to go out in front on his own, ignoring the pain in his hamstring to build a lead of 45 seconds by 35km.
And victory looked assured as he went through the 40km mark, coming home to erase Kenyan Stanley Biwott's course record from 2012.