Luke McCambley placed 15th out of 3,522 finishers at the Straton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon Sunday with a time of 1:16.23.

It was his best half-marathon time. McCambley completed the same course in 1:38.00 in 2010 and ran the Ithaca half-marathon in 1:18.11 last year.

"You take it a little more seriously, spend a little more time running, and you get better," McCambley said. "They are pretty fun."

McCambley, who graduated Staples in 2007, recently began to enjoy running. While at Staples, he never went out for cross country or track because he hated to run back then.

He played hockey for the Wreckers and relished everything about it, except running in practice.

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"I hated running in high school," he recalled. "It was the worst. I had to run during hockey practice."

Slowly but surely, McCambley changed his tune.

"I read a lot of books [about running], dated a girl who ran, and one thing led to another," said McCambley on the cause of his metamorphous.

Before Sunday's half-marathon, McCambley prepared for it by replenishing himself and taking it easy. The weather on race day also made it easier for him.

`It wasn't as hot on Sunday as it was earlier in the week, which was good, but I still drank a lot of water Saturday and stayed off my feet," McCambley said. "The weather was beautiful, and it didn't affect me."

Knowing how to pace himself also helped McCambley navigate the course.

"The first two miles were easy because they were flat," he said. "It got tough because there were a lot of ups and downs hills, but the last two miles were flat, and I booked it the rest of the way."

McCambley plans on running in more races, starting with the Westport Summer Road Runners series, which begins this coming Saturday (June 30).

He plans on competing in races at Icahn Stadium in Randall's Island and Van Cortland Park in New York this summer. In the fall, he hopes to run in the Chicago Marathon.

"I just want to go fast," McCambley said. "I'll have to keep on running, get up early in the morning and go for a run."

eschickler@bcnnew.com