You may have noticed some odd things on the Mills College campus lately. A mysterious white line traveling along the Pine Top fitness trail. Women sprinting up Pine Top Hill like they actually like it. Multi-colored flags stretching along Toyon Meadow. A woman in running shorts walking along with a single wheel at the end of a stick like it’s a third leg.
Next Saturday, Sept 22, at 10 a.m., all of these details will make sense-even to those who think the sport of running is a little strange (and real runners will not contradict them on this point; they will readily admit it takes a little bit of crazy to do what they do, but they like it).
For the twentieth year in a row, the team will host their one home meet, the Mills Invitational. The event is the pride of the team, which takes months of planning, many hours spent measuring the course, and dozens of volunteers and student-workers.
What makes this event particularly special is that anyone and everyone can compete against the current Mills team on their home course for $12.
The entry fee buys a spot in the 5K race (there is also a men’s 8K race), a pizza lunch afterward, and awards for the top 5 who finished.Other collegiate teams will be racing in the meet as well, but Mills students, faculty, also staff, and friends of Mills are encouraged to take part.
“The fun thing about the Mills Invitational is that it really features the Mills campus,” said Head Cross Country Coach Laura Davis.
“We run down Kapiolani, across Toyon Meadow, up Pine Top hill, by Lake Aliso, past the soccer fields, through the Eucalyptus grove south of Richards lot, and past the Children’s School. It’s fun for our athletes to run on terrain that they know so well, but it’s also really fun for the teams and individuals who come to Mills specifically for this race. It’s a much more creative course than most, and it features the best of our on-campus trails.”Last year the cross country team placed second at the Invitational, and this year team co-captains Lupe Cazares and Perla Cantu will lead the team to see if they can finish even better.
Other runners to watch are Senior Adina Lepp and new runners Daniella Pineda, Hanako Hjersman, Lily Page, Erica Valenti, and Ursula Fung.
All interested runners should register on www.runnercard.com by Monday, Sept 17, and pay their $12 entry fee (made payable to Mills College Cross Country) on the day of the race.
The women’s race will start promptly at 10 a.m., and the men’s race will start at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony and pizza lunch will immediately follow the finish of the men’s race.