Martin Lel, the winner in 2005, out-sprinted his rivals to claim his second victory in the London Marathon.
Lel claimed a second London crown with a sprint to the line
Six runners were grouped together well into the final mile but the Kenyan was the strongest, winning in a time of two hours, seven minutes and 41 seconds.
Moroccan Abderrahim Goumri was a surprise second in his debut marathon with 2006 winner Felix Limo in third.
It was another disappointing experience in London for Haile Gebrselassie, who dropped out at the 19-mile mark.
Lel lost to compatriot Limo in a sprint to the line last year but this time he surged ahead over the final few hundred metres to hold off Goumri.
"It was one of the most tactical races I have run," said 29-year-old Lel. "There were several champions running so I am proud.
"I corrected the mistakes from last year and I had to be careful to preserve my energy, but it was an interesting race."
I was on my own from six miles - it was a long way to run on my own
The main protagonists had stuck together through much of the race with Lel, Limo, double world champion Jaouad Gharib, Gebrselassie and world record holder Paul Tergat all refusing to pick up the pace.
The first drama came when double Olympic 10,000m champion Gebrselassie dropped out of the lead group clutching his stomach.
The Ethiopian told BBC Sport: "I had a stitch here in my chest and could not continue. I'm not injured I just could not breathe.
"It's not the heat, maybe something I ate, but I don't know."
Gebrselassie won two marathons last season but his London hoodoo continued, his third-place finish in 2002 remains his best result.
The real battle for the title began in the closing two miles. Tergat and Ramaala fell further back and Gharib could not match the finish to the line.
In the end Lel's legs had the edge and ensured Kenya won their fourth successive title.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Dan Robinson was the first Briton to cross the line as he came home ninth in 2:14.14 ahead of compatriot Andi Jones.
"It as nice to be the first Briton and I am reasonably satisfied," said Robinson. "I was on my own from six miles and it was a long way to run on my own.
"It is easy to slip a couple of seconds as I didn't have many people to pick them off, and I think that is what happened."
Robinson's time was outside the qualifying standard set by UK Athletics of 2:12 for this summer's World Championships, but is expected to be selected.
British number one, Jon Brown, did not start the race after a bout of sickness.
London marathon men's top 10:
1. Martin Lel (Ken) 2:07:41
2. Abderrahim Goumri (Mor) 2:07:44
3. Felix Limo (Ken) 2:07:47
4. Jaouad Gharib (Mor) 2:07:54
5. Hendrick Ramaala (SA) 2:07:56
6. Paul Tergat (Ken) 2:08:05
7. Ryan Hall (US) 2:08:24
8. Marilson dos Santos (Bzl) 2:08:37
9. Dan Robinson (GB) 2:14:14
10. Andi Jones (GB) 2:17:49