Mo Farah declared himself satisfied after finishing third and setting a new British record at a London Marathon which was run in unprecedented heat on Sunday.
The four-time Olympic champion, who quit the track to focus on 26.2-mile distance last year, kept pace with the leaders for most of the race but was ultimately left behind by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge – undefeated in his last three outings in this race – and Ethiopian Tola Shura Kitata.
But Farah, 35, finished ahead of stellar rivals including Kenenisa Bekele and Daniel Wanjiru and his time of 2:06:21 was 52 seconds quicker than Steve Joness national record, which had stood since 1985.
“If I can run two hours, six minutes here in a major championship, it shows I can be competitive,” said Farah, who was eighth in 2014, his only previous attempt at the distance.
“Ive beaten some good runners. Im satisfied with the result. I cant do any better than what I did. I got a personal best, I won with a pacer, I fought as much as I could.”
Farah might have been quicker still but for temperatures of 24C and a problem collecting his drink at the 10km mark which he blamed on staff being too busy taking pictures and led to a lengthy mid-race exchange with motorbike-riding marathon officials.
Kipchoges time of 2:04:17 was 32 seconds quicker than surprise runner-up Kitata and underlined his status as the most revered marathon runner in history.
Vivian Cheruiyot made it a Kenyan double by winning the womens race in a personal best time of 2:18:31, as compatriot Mary Keitany and Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba faded in the heat.
Keitany and Dibaba had been tipped to challenge Paula Radcliffes world record but, after a ferocious start, both tired. Keitany took fifth and Dibaba failed to finish.