Number of medals
4 Olympic medals
3 Olympic Games
The Ethiopian finished just two seconds off Eliud Kipchoge's mark of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds
Over the German capital's fast course, the Ethiopian clocked two hours, one minute and 41 seconds as he won the Berlin marathon for the second time in his career.
Bekele fell two seconds short of Eliud Kipchoge's world record time set in Berlin last year.
The three-time Olympic champion - and world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000m - came from behind to beat fellow countryman Birhanu Legese.
He sprinted the final 400m, but it wasn't enough to beat Kipchoge's time.
“I was recovering (from injury) only three months ago. My preparation was not 100%. Fantastic result but I feel sorry missing the marathon record by two seconds.
"I am very happy running my personal best. But I still can do this (world record). I don’t give up. It is encouraging for the future,” the 37-year-old said after the race.
"I am very sorry, I am not lucky" - Kenenisa Bekele
"The result is not surprising, Bekele is a great athlete with great potential.
"We've seen it before what he's capable of doing, and I am sure he still has more in the tank to offer the sports-lovers.
Kipchoge's coach Patrick Sang told the Olympic channel.
The world record holder skipped the race to prepare for an event in Vienna, Austria, on 12 October, where he will attempt to break the two-hour barrier outsid record-eligible conditions.
Tokyo marathon winner Legese took second place in 2:02:48, the third fastest time ever.
Sisay Lemma was third, another 48 seconds behind.
Ashete Bekere completed the Ethiopian sweep in the women's race as she beat Mare Dibaba in 2:20:14.