Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi became the first woman to run a marathon under 2 hours and 20 minutes Sunday, winning the Berlin marathon in 2 hours, 19 minutes, 46 seconds.

Takahashi, who led the women's field throughout the 42.195-km race through the German capital, easily eclipsed the previous best time of 2:20:43 set by Kenya's Tegla Loroupe in the 1999 Berlin race.

The 29-year-old Takahashi was running her first marathon since winning the Olympic gold medal at the Sydney Games just over a year ago in 2:23:14.