(CNN) -- Ethiopian distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie has shocked the world of athletics by announcing his retirement.
The 37-year-old dropped out of Sunday's New York City marathon with a knee injury then told reporters he had run his last race.
"I never think about to retire. But for the first time, this is the day," he said. "Let me stop and do other work after this."
Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic 10,000 meters champion, is the world marathon record holder after setting a time of two hours three minutes 59 seconds in Berlin in 2008.
He was the star attraction in New York, but pulled out in obvious pain on the Queensboro Bridge while in the leading group at 16 miles.
"I don't want to complain anymore after this, which means it's better to stop here," he said.
Gebrselassie, who has set a host of world bests over several distances in his storied career, had told his twitter blog that he was struggling with a knee problem, but gave no hint he would quit the sport.
His compatriot Gebre Gebremariam triumphed on his marathon debut to win in two hours eight minutes and 14 seconds.
The 2009 cross-country world champion pulled clear of Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai in the closing stages.
Another Kenyan, Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, was third.
Kenya's Edna Kiplagat claimed her first major marathon title as she took the women's race.