The feet played a familiar beat during Saturday's 27th annual A Midsummer Night's Run in downtown Lexington.
Just as happened last year, it was the feet of Kenya's David Mutuse in the winning rhythm.
The fifth-year senior at Eastern Kentucky University ran the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course in 15 minutes, 4 seconds — two seconds slower than his time of a year ago.
Andrea Halasek Richardson trumped defending champion Anna Bostrom for the women's title, 18:20 to 18:32.
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Lexington's Betsy Laski finished two seconds behind Bostrom. Robin Lawhorn of Frankfort was fourth in 18:47.
Mutuse, whose hometown is Makueni, has a season of eligibility left at EKU in cross country and indoor track.
He led Musa Kimuli, a Colonels teammate from Uganda, by five seconds when he passed the mile in 4:43.
Mutuse was running easy at that point.
"I just tried to maintain my pace and go and win," he said.
He passed two miles with an 18-second lead in 9:33 and would go on to win by half a minute.
"This year wasn't that good because the weather was hot (83 degrees)," Mutuse said. "The weather last year was warm and rainy, so I didn't feel that hotness like this year."
Jacob Thomson, a junior at Louisville Holy Cross, closed strong to place second in 15:34. Kimuli, a member of Uganda's World Cross Country Championships team last year, took third in 15:45. Alex Dreyer, an EKU senior from Australia, was fourth in 15:50.
Thomson led Holy Cross to the Class A state track title in May, winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, and anchoring the third-place 4-by-800 relay.
"Honestly, I just wanted to come down and get a fast time," Thomson said. "It's time to start the (cross country) season and see where I'm at to start out."
His focus this season goes beyond the State Cross Country Meet.
"Finish top 10 at the Foot Locker Nationals, that's the main goal," he said. "I'm in Single-A, so I don't get to run against the other top guys in the state. So I'm pretty much training through this year and getting ready for the post-season."
He missed the cross country post-season last year due to pneumonia.
In the women's division, Richardson and Bostrom hit the mile side-by-side in 5:40.
At two miles, though, Richardson led by four seconds in 11:35.
The top two finishers both run for Bernadette Madigan Dugan's Jets, and they started together.
"It made the first two miles easier, I'm sure, for both us," Richardson said. "And my first two miles were much faster than my last mile, mostly because I was tired."
Richardson, a former standout at Scott County and the University of Kentucky, is assistant cross country coach at Sayre. She crossed the finish line fifth in last year's race, but her timing chip did not activate, so her name was missing from the official results.
Bostrom, from Woodford County, has been running long mileage this summer in preparation for her sophomore season at UK.
"It's good to just get some speedy racing in after mileage the whole summer," Bostrom said.
"It was awesome to get to race with (Richardson). She tried to pull me through and I just wasn't there. She ran an incredible race and she's in awesome shape."