It wasn’t long ago, McKinney North sophomore London Culbreath was kicking and screaming.
“I locked myself in my room,” she said. “I was crying. I was like, ‘Why do I have to run?!’ I was so upset.'”
London was 10 at the time and loved playing soccer when her parents told her, "We’re going to sign you up to be a runner."
“I started like bawling, so I was not a fan at first,” she said.
What a difference five years makes. “I love it. It’s made me who I am. It’s basically my life now," she said.
London not only fell in love with running, but she also got so good at it that she won the first race of her freshman year. And the second. And every single one all the way through to the state championship.
She won state by 44 seconds. It was a record. In fact, the only two races she lost were national meets. Each time, she was the first ninth grader to cross the finish line, making her the best freshman runner in America.
“As far as talent goes, I’ve not ever been blessed to be able to coach someone of her caliber,” McKinney North cross country coach Jessica Richards said.
“I had high expectations, but I never thought I would accomplish this much,” London added.
She was even in the running for the prestigious Gatorade Texas Runner of the Year award, even though a freshman had never won the thing. At least, not until she did earlier this year.
Richards says London is already miles ahead of her peers.
“She’s much better than I was even as a college athlete, so there’s that," Richards said.
Indeed, London’s parents have already started planning her next goal: qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.
“At first I was like ‘hmmm’ but it is a real possibility,” London admitted.
At this point, who could doubt her?
Better yet, why would you?