At the mile mark, everything looked in place for Fayetteville's Larry Taylor.
Taylor, 39, was the defending champion of the second annual West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival 5K and off to what felt like a good start. Then, over his right shoulder he noticed David Lyle.
Lyle took over first place at the mile and one-half mark and never looked back, winning with a time of 15:52.
Lyle, 23 of Poca, just completed his final season running track and field at Marshall University. He said he found the race while browsing the Internet.
"It was basically about the only race this weekend," Lyle said. "I heard it was a pretty fast, downhill race. I knew Larry (Taylor) was in it, so I knew it would be pretty competitive.
"My last mile was actually my fastest mile, but you never know in a race like this. There were a lot of good runners, and anything can happen."
Frances Rencers finished second, followed by Taylor with a time of 16:12. Morgantown's Heather Bury, 25, was the first female finisher and 13th overall with a time of 17:31.
The course, which was certified by U.S. Track and Field, started near the Post Office at Eastpointe and ran along Emily Drive toward the Department of Motor Vehicles. From there it turned around, ran back down Emily Drive and then into the upper portion of the Wal-Mart parking lot at Newpointe. The finish line was near Burger King in the parking lot of Wal-Mart.
"To tell you the truth, I'm still pretty pleased," Taylor said. "I actually had a faster time than I did last year at this race. Anytime you have a state championship, though, you're going to attract more and better competition and that's what it's all about.
"You can only train so much and hope it's enough. (Lyle) got out about 25 meters ahead of us at the mile and one-half mark, and we were starting to catch him a little at the end, but it wasn't enough. Regardless, I still enjoyed myself."
Like Lyle, Bury ran on the college level. The native of West Orange, N.J. spent the past five seasons competing for West Virginia University's track and field team.
"Actually, I was a little disappointed with my time," Bury said. "It was a little humid and I usually don't run well when it's like that.
"I heard that this was a pretty fast race, but I don't know if I believe that. I ran a better time last week, but overall this is a great event."
Last year's women's champion, Fayetteville's Jessica Taylor finished 37th overall and fourth in the women's division. Daniel Edgell (16:42) and Tony Basta (16:43) rounded out the top five overall finishers in the field of 332.
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.