There were no surprises at the winners circle during Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon The two projected favorites came through to win the 13.1 mile event.

Stanley Biwott of Kenya claimed the men's title in his first time competing in Philadelphia while fellow Kenyan Sharon Cherop of was the women's winner while competing in this event for the second time.

An estimated 21,000 runners participated in this 35th annual event, which used to be known as the Philadelphia Distance Miles before become part of the Rock 'n' Roll series in 2010.

For both Biwott and Cherop it has been quite a year.

Biwott, 26, won the 2012 Paris Marathon and Cherop, 28, was this year's winner in the Boston Marathon.

Both runners play to compete in the New York City Marathon Nov. 4 and each said this race served as an excellent training ground.

At about the three-mile mark Biwott and fellow Kenyan Paul Lonyongata, who finished second, pulled away from the pack.

Biwott then took control after the eight-mile mark and wasn't challenged the rest of the way.

At the eight-mile mark, Biwott's time was 36 minutes, 32 seconds and it was shortly after that he broke away.

"I felt good and there were no problems," Biowtt said.

The conditions were ideal, 58 degrees at race time.

"The weather was good and the course was good," Biwott said. "I enjoyed racing here and will be happy to come back next year."

Biwott's winning time of one hour and three seconds was far off the Philadelphia record of 58:46 set last year by Mathew Kisorio of Kenya.

One reason Biowott probably didn't run a faster time is that he wasn't challenged much after the eight-mile mark. His winning time was 40 seconds better than Lonyangata (1:00.43).

Lonyongata, 19, said he was battling a hamstring injury and was satisfied with finishing second. The third place finisher was Dathan Ritzenhein, the three-time U.S. Olympian who finished 13th during the recent London Olympics in the 10,000 meters.

He said this was used as a training ground for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7.

"This was a good last big test for Chicago," said Ritzenhein, who ran 1:00.57. "I am very happy with today and this gives me a lot of confidence so hopefully I can have a great run in Chicago.

For Cherop this was her second time competing in this event after finishing fourth in 2007.

"I was still young in 2007, Cherop said. "I am more confident than I was back then."

Cherop broke away at about the 10 mile mark.

"I just feel fantastic winning and now I will try to win in New York."

Cherop's winning time of 1:07.21 was 10 seconds off last year's record time of 1:07.11 set by Kim Smith of New Zealand.

Neither of last year's Philadelphia winners, Kisorio or Smith, entered this year's race.

Cherop won comfortably over second place Mare Dibaba of Ethiopa, who finished in 1:07:44. Dibaba ran at the London Olympics in the Marathon. The third place finisher was Jemima Jelegat Sumgong of Kenya (1:08:37). She was also the runner-up at the Boston Marathon.

"I was hoping to get the course record," Cherop said. "I am still very happy to win this race."

Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, or @sjnard on Twitter.