Nairobi — Newly-crowned Copenhagen Half Marathon champion Edward Cheserek admits he was surprised by his win in the Danish capital on Sunday.
The United States-based Kenyan has been in a lacklustre form on the road this year but put in a virtuoso performance to win the men's 21km race in 59:11.
Fellow countryman, Bernard Koech, was second in 59:13 as Ethiopian Gemechu Dida completed the podium places in 59:31.
"Yes, I was surprised because I still have a bit of rust...I have been competing on track for a while and so this one was my first race on the road. It is a perfect start to improve my personal best," the 2022 New York Half Marathon champion said.
Before his win at the Copenhagen Half Marathon, Cheserek had not enjoyed success in the other two road races he has run in this year -- finishing eighth and fifth in the Houston and New York Half Marathon respectively.
Having rid the monkey off his back, Cheserek admitted he was relieved to get back to winning ways.
"It feels very good for me...you know, I have been home trying to work hard. I just wanted to come here and improve my PB. I enjoyed myself very much...the course was good except for the fact that it was a bit humid," he said.
The 29-year-old's next race will be in November at the New York Marathon where he will be running in the 42km race for the first time.
Cheserek said he is excited to compete in this World Marathon Majors race, which will feature other elite runners, such as two-time champion Geoffrey Kamworor -- who set a half marathon world record of 58:01 at the Copenhagen Half Marathon in 2019.
Equally surprised was Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Irene Cheptai who led a clean Kenyan sweep of the podium places in the women's race.
Cheptai clocked 1:05:53 ahead of Winfrida Moseti (1:06:40) and Jesca Chelangat (1:07:03) in second and third respectively.
"I was not expecting to win but I did so I thank God. I have been struggling with an injury...this is my first race this year and I am happy," she said.
Despite having a chance at smashing the course record, Cheptai revealed she had to listen to her body.
"I was within the course record but from 18km, the course was very tough. All in all, I am happy to have won and set a new PB," the 31-year-old said.