Paula Radcliffe set a new women's world record as she stormed to victory in the 2003 London Marathon.
The Briton set a fierce pace from the start and crossed the finishing line in a time of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds.
Her time was one minute 53 seconds better than the previous best mark she set in Chicago last year.
Catherine Ndereba finished second, more than four minutes adrift, with America's Deena Drossin in third.
"I once said that London couldn't be a fast course but I knew from last year it was," Radcliffe told the BBC moments after her victory.
"We got a good day. It was a bit windy but it seemed the wind was behind us more than it was in front of us.
"The first mile nobody seemed to want to go with us and we weren't running that fast so I just relaxed and followed the two guys (pacemakers).
"I was just trying to stay relaxed until halfway and then just keep it going but it was really, really tough for the last five miles.
"It was just a matter of keeping my head strong."
But she paid compliment to the crowds who helped her through the tough times.
"This year they were amazing, even around Docklands which is supposed to be quiet."
Radcliffe made her intentions clear from the off, opening up an immediate gap within minutes of the start.
By Tower Bridge, 12 miles into the race, she was more than a minute ahead of Constantina Dita and Susan Chepkemei and it was clear it would be Radcliffe against the clock rather than her opponents.
Within another six miles the 29-year-old had stretched her lead to more than two minutes and 20 seconds.
Radcliffe consistently clocked in the five minute region for each mile, with a best of four minutes 57 seconds coming in the third mile, reaping the reward for all her training in Alberquerque, New Mexico.
She set world records en-route to victory at 30km and 40km only enduring a slight bad patch around the Isle of Dogs when she began to suffer some cramps.
But on reaching the Tower of London, where the crowd roared her on, Radcliffe again upped the pace, setting her second fastest split mile of the race of five minutes and six seconds after 22 miles on the road.
She bettered that by three seconds two miles later, despite admitting that the closing stages proved the most difficult, to set the seal on a memorable run.
Dita and Chepkemei paid the price for attempting to match Radcliffe's pace, Ndereba and then Drossin reeling them in as the race neared its conclusion.
Drossin's time of 2 hours 21 minutes 16 seconds broke Joan Benoit's American record by five seconds.