ELLIE CATRON IS JUST WIRED A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT.
In the fifth grade, she started a running club.
"I had a band teacher who was super into Iron Mans," she said. "I was telling him that I was going to be sad that we weren't going to do the elementary school 'Fun Runs' anymore. He said he was thinking about starting a running club and if I wanted to do it, to recruit some kids. I got some kids from my grade and we made a club that would run around the parking lot before school."
That was the first glimpse that Catron would become one of the most decorated private school runners in the state of Texas.
Catron would go on to win the Class 4A state title in back-to-back-to-back seasons as an individual and four times as a team. On the oval, she won the State "triple" – the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter races – and set the state record for the 3200-meter run.
"I didn't come here trying to create a legacy," she said. "I just found something I was good at and went for it. I remember in the eighth grade, I watched Hannah Shearer run here. I thought, if I could be as fast as her. That was my goal and I accomplished that."
And more. Catron will run at Trinity University in college and pursue an accounting degree.
"In 10 years, I want to be working for one of the 'Big 4' accounting firms and training for marathons," she laughed. "Your late 20s and early 30s is your prime marathon age."
To be an elite runner, you have to be tough. TWCA's 100-pound harrier is a killer on the course.
"People think, you run all the time – you don't feel any pain," she laughed. "That's not true. It's very painful... it hurts a lot. It's really more the feeling of having done the training and thinking, I've got this. You feel so strong, so powerful. Even after a good run or just practice, the rest of my day is just better. I've done something that is hard. After you finish, you feel elated – a runner's high."
Most recently, Catron took her running shoes and gave back.
"I ran the 'Hood to Coast' relay," she said. "You start at Mt. Hood in Washington state and run to the coast. I was on a team called Team World Vision – a Christian organization raising money for the South Sudan (Africa). You pile in a van for 40 hours with random people from across the country and switch off running 7 to 10-mile legs.
"We slept in a field in sleeping bags and ate pancakes out of a road-side church. It was 40 hours of running and being exhausted in a van."
Yep, wired just a little different.