When Safi Karmy-Jones came to Mills, she had never been on an athletic team. Coming from parents who were elite Canadian runners, running had been a regular pastime since she was a teenager. But this month, the first-year cross country runner discovered a taste for competition.
Safi came in first for Mills College at the University of San Francisco Invitational on Sept. 5, placing 63rd overall in the race of 100 with a time of 21:50, and beating runners from competitive schools like UC-Santa Cruz, the Academy of Art, and University of Pacific. If she was surprised to find herself leading the Mills runners, she didn’t show it at last weekend’s Mills Invitational, the only home event for the Mills cross country team. She placed 18th in the race of 90 runners, coming in second for Mills with a time of 21:27, just three seconds behind Senior Lupe Cazares.
“We are only just beginning to see what Safi can do,” said Head Cross Country Coach Laura Davis. “She came in with the experience of someone who has been running for a long time, but who has never trained to race. Now that she’s getting into racing shape, the real fun begins.”
While it may seem twisted to call a 5k cross country race fun, given that every runner knows with certainty that the race goes not just to the swift, but to the one who can tolerate the most pain, Safi has evidently embraced this idea. The Mills Invitational fell on her 18th birthday, but rather than be disappointed that she would be racing, Safi used the day as a celebration of what she could do for her team, who placed 3rd out of 14 teams (and 7 scoring teams), and a chance to see how fast she could be.
Safi and the Mills cross country team will compete next at the epic Willamette Invitational in Salem, Oregon, on Saturday, Oct. 3.