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Thomas Mills parkrun

Needing only a "T" and a "W" to complete my East of England alphabet (there are no "U", "V", "X", "Y", or "Z" events in the East of England), my focus this week was to run at a "T" event.

This is the first year that there will be no New Year's double, and as New Year's Day falls on a Saturday this year, like Christmas Day, event teams have the choice of whether they want to hold an event or not, which inevitably means there aren't as many events to choose from.

With all of this in mind, my options for "T" events in the East of England were therefore: Thetford, Thomas Mills, and Thurrock. I originally explored Thurrock, however it seems that parking is currently a challenge with the usual car park being used as a testing centre, and so my plan switched to Thomas Mills owing to it being the furthest of the remaining 2 options, and there didn't seem to be any real risk from weather (we were experiencing a mini heat-wave, with temperatures reaching 15°C in late December/early January)!

The area

Thomas Mills High School is the main high school in the town of Framlingham in Suffolk. The town was voted the best place to live in Britain in 2006 by Country Life, and most of its ~4,000 residents live in a single concentration around the castle.

Main entrance to Framlingham Castle

The course

Thomas Mills parkrun follows a two-lapped course around the school grounds, and adjacent farmer's field, which features a grass pathway constructed specifically for parkrun. The course is run entirely on grass, and the start and finish areas are close to the car park.

Free parking is available at the front of the school, and toilets are available within the school. Post-run refreshments are available in the cafes in the town centre, and runners were offered a free hot drink after the run provided by one of the local cafes, although uptake was quite low.

The sports field which forms half the course

The run

After the challenge of St Albans last week, it would be fair to say I was slightly apprehensive about running on grass again this week, but fortunately, Thomas Mills was a completely different beast. Although the grass was slightly wet, it had been cut short, and the ground was compact for the most part, with only a small number of relatively small muddy patches, making for a very enjoyable run.

The run passed by without incident, with the only real challenge coming from the wind, which was suprisingly strong during the event given I hadn't noticed it prior to the start.

Thomas Mills start sign with finish funnel in the background

Happy new year to all of the volunteers and runners, and thank you for helping to start off the new year with such a friendly event!

After the run

Following the run, I explored the town's main attractions. The town's most prominent feature is perhaps Framlingham Castle - an English Heritage site which was unfortunately not open due to it being New Year's day, although it is visible throughout the town.

Framlingham Castle from the west

The town is also noted as being home to the two oldest postboxes in the country still in active use. The first is located at the junction of Mount Pleasant and College Road.

Victoria postbox at Mount Pleasant and College Road junction

The second postbox is located closer to the castle itself, at the junction of Castle Street and Double Street.

Victoria post box at Castle Street and Double Street junction

Links: Report | Results | Strava

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