Fields of Fire – Thomas Mills #3, 22 June 2019
In the Big Country song Fields of Fire, Stuart Adamson sang ‘Before the teacher and the test / Before the journey and the rest.’ With these words in mind, I travelled to Framlingham and Thomas Mills parkrun, for their third event where 126 people ran, jogged, and walked the long and winding course around the high school grounds and local fields. In the third run, Daisy Glover (18:32) and Adam Howlett (18:06) excelled, the latter sprinting off to put himself out of sight on the first lap and set the course record. Despite the hot weather, 22 personal bests were achieved; congratulations to all. Incredibly, Isla smashed her PB by 12 minutes. This week, 50 athletes beat the poet (pos. 51, 28:24), a sorry state of affairs for the waning wordsmith.
For this new event, I’ve decided to pen a run-through of the course. Notable high school attendees (Ed Sheeran and entomologist Kate Wall) and local Baptist, Thomas Mills, inspired some of the course features described below, in addition to the rapid first finishers and Isla.
Starting near the high school buildings, you complete a circuit of the playing field, before turning north to Howlett’s Hairpin. Doubling back sharply after the first gap in the hedgerow, you are now on a grassy field edge path with plentiful rabbit holes and uneven terrain. Here your pace will slow for the next mile but you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful rural landscape of large trees, fields and in summer, plenty of butterflies such as the common blue. Chasseing through Sheeran’s Chicane on the western boundary of the run be careful to avoid twisting an ankle. At this point, cheerful music plays from a marshal’s stereo, a welcome interlude as you approach Poet’s Corner and abruptly head north past Isla’s Oaks in the crop on your right.
Along the northern edge of the route the path drops into Glover’s Gully, before the gentle ascent to the Mount Mills plateau begins. Dodging through Kate’s Gate (second gap in the hedgerow) you’re back on the speedier short grass of the playing field where you’ll pass the finish funnel to begin the punishing second lap. Be sure to have plenty in the tank for this, or you’ll suffer around the fields of fire! For those who are interested, I’ve created a few Strava segments for Thomas Mills, including the full parkrun.
And finally, as promised to Alison George of Coldham’s Common parkrun, a limerick:
There was a young lady from Fram
who ran and skipped and swam
until she fell on a run
with Mills she was done
and now she sticks to the gym.
The event was well supported by 20 fantastic volunteers. Lastly, I must thank Scott Manning, for inviting me to write this run report.
Riitta WOOD • Ian ELDEN • Janet GREEN • Amanda DUNN • Jo PARDEN • Scott MANNING • Ian KENNEDY • Kate MAWSON • Robert MAWSON • Eva MAWSON • Flora SEELEY • Annette HUGGINS • Lydia KIRK • Steve KIRK • Tim GARDINER • Alys THOMPSON • Anne PARKINSON • Sally SEELEY • Julie THOMPSON • Philip DONLAN
Tim Gardiner aka the parkrun poet (twitter: @timgardiner3)