Evans Cheruiyot showes that he has recovered fully from an injury picked last year when he won the 19th edition of the Discovery Half Marathon held in Eldoret, Kenya, on Sunday (7).
Despite being boxed in during the initial stages of the race as the runners jostled for position, the 2008 Chicago Marathon champion prevailed, setting a new course record of 1:01:56.9.
Cheruiyot's time eclipsed the 1:02:00.6 clocked last year by first timer Gilbert Chepkwony on the three-kilometre loop course that took the runners around specific streets of Eldoret town seven times.
The winner, who has been out of limelight due to the injury, had to resort to experience to tame strong challengers in James Rotich and his (Rotich) training mate and Berlin World championship marathon silver medallist Emmanuel Mutai who had taken command of the race from the gun.
"I was using this race to test my training for Boston in April. I want to make sure I am in good shape this year," said the champion who hopes to improve on his eighth position in Boston last year.
Rotich and Mutai finished second and third in 1:01:58.6 and 1:02:12.8 in the race that saw 2000 Sydney Olympics Steeplechase champion Reuben Kosgei and a Nairobi Marathon bronze medallist Peter Kiplagat drop out half way.
Former World Cross Country junior bronze medallist Barnabas Kosgei clocked 1:02:21.8 for fourth place.
While the 600-plus athletes enjoyed running in the cool morning weather, amongh the spectators was Olympics Marathon champion and World half Marathon record holder Samuel Wanjiru.
David Macharia (Daily Nation) for the IAAF
Leading Results -
1. Evans Cheruiyot 1:01:56.9
2. James Rotich 1:01:58.6
3. Emmanuel Mutai 1:02:12.8
4. Barnabas Kosgei 1:02:21.8
5. William Tudo 1:02:22.7
6. Peter Kimeli 1:02:30.6
7. Enock Mitei 1:02:44.2
8. Levi Matebo 1:02:47.7
9. Nathan Naibei 1:02:52.5
10. Jacob Yator 1:02:54.5