An exhausted Sir Mo Farah broke the British marathon record as he finished third in the Virgin Money London Marathon.
The 35-year-old struggled with the pace, the hot conditions and mix-ups over water bottles, but he still beat Steve Jones’ 33-year-old mark with a time of two hours six minutes and 21 seconds.
Farah, the multiple Olympic and world gold medallist who turned his back on the track last year to concentrate on road racing, briefly threatened a shock victory in his first serious attempt around the streets of the capital.
But having appeared on the shoulders of Eliud Kipchoge and Tola Shura Kitata around the 16-mile mark, Farah quickly dropped off the pace.
Kenyan Kipchoge, who won the race in 2015 and 2016, eventually broke 21-year-old Ethiopian Kitata with three miles to go to make it a hat-trick of wins.
The 33-year-old had hoped to threaten the world record of 2.02.57, set by Dennis Kimetto four years ago, and was on course at the halfway point having clocked exactly 61 minutes.
But the unseasonably warm London weather eventually took its toll and he came home in 2:04.17.
Farah was clearly struggling over the last few miles but, roared on by the huge crowd basking in the sunshine, he claimed a hard-earned spot on the podium behind Kitata.
Welshman Jones, who won the London Marathon in 1985, set his British record time of 2:07.13 in Chicago the same year.
Vivian Cheruiyot timed her run to perfection to win the women’s race.
Cheruiyot, 34, took advantage of failed attempts by last year’s winner Mary Keitany and runner-up Tirunesh Dibaba to break Paula Radcliffe’s 15-year-old world record.
Once again the conditions told as first Dibaba, of Ethiopia, and then Cheruiyot’s fellow Kenyan Keitany fell away allowing the 2016 Olympic 5,000 metres gold medallist to claim victory.
After nine miles Keitany and main rival Dibaba were 25 seconds ahead of Radcliffe’s time.
But Dibaba was soon reduced to a walking pace to leave Keitany with only her two male pacemakers for company.
The 35-year-old, looking for a fourth win in London, also started to slow down as it became apparent Radcliffe’s record of 2:15.25 would not be threatened.
Instead it was Cheruiyot who gave the pacemakers a shock by turning up on their heels, and she went on to win a tough race in 2:18.31.
Brigid Kosgei of Kenya was second with Tadelech Bekele of Ethiopia third.
Great Britain’s David Weir won the men’s wheelchair race for an unprecedented eighth time.