Running Through the Cemetery

The other day, I decided to run through a cemetery. I’ve run past it several times but I have never stepped foot in it. It’s not that cemeteries creep me out either. I just didn’t think it would be right. But for some reason, last week I decided that it would be okay if I explored this uncharted territory.

It was an early afternoon last Saturday. The streets seemed quiet and empty. It was cool and people seemed to be elsewhere. So I thought it would be okay.

I ran through the majestic looking gates and immediately felt like I was in a different world. This cemetery had an old world feel to it. There were some very tall and old looking monuments. I should’ve stopped to check the dates on the stones but I kept running.

I stayed on the road that winded through the place. It felt more like a walking path though. It was quiet and peaceful and it felt okay to be running there. I think I spoke aloud to the resting souls there. I thought that they might actually like the company.

It only took me about five minutes to run through this small neighbourhood cemetery. I then ran toward the small trail I usually run and wrapped up a nice six kilometre route.

After my run, I had second thoughts about what I had done. It seemed innocent enough to me. But then I thought what if someone was visiting a loved one and saw me run by. Would they have seen it as disrespectful? I then imagined that someone might think it was nice that I was sharing the space with their loved one.

What do you think? Is it disrespectful to run through a cemetery? Should I try it again or give it up?

6 Comments on Running Through the Cemetery

  1. I don’t know–kind of seems like a walking place to me, but I’ve seen people running through them before, and in the one I used to frequent, people would drive their cars around too–I would prefer they run.

  2. Hi Oktober Five,

    Going for a walk through the cemetery seems quite natural and no one could take offence at that. I’m still not sure about running there, although it is a small local one, if that makes a difference.

  3. Hi Chase – Good question. I’ve seen many people walking through a cemetery, but I don’t know if they were visiting loved ones or just walking. I think I would feel like I was being disrespectful to the dead if I used a cemetery as a running trail.

  4. Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for weighing in on this issue. I happen to agree with you. I like to run and explore different areas. I did that. Next time I run past this cemetery, I should just keep running.

  5. Actually, I disagree. I don’t see any problem with you running through the place, so long as you aren’t pitching your water bottle into the grass or hocking up a loogie, as the kids say.

    And you never know, your smile in passing might lift a somber mood for someone — you might also help a lone visitor to feel a little more safe, if but for a moment.

    People used to feel a stronger sense of closeness to their loved ones — they would bury them beneath the floors of their churches and around their homes, often with their own hands and tools. Far from being morbid, it seems to me that that fostered a closeness between generations and an awareness of both the importance and the brevity of life.

    Today, we hire professionals — strangers — to carry out all the last rites and we bury our loved ones in some silent place on the edge of town, far from our daily travels, and visit maybe once a year and try to pretend that death is not a part of life.

    I say, run through the cemetery. Slow down now and then and read the epitaphs as you go by. Think of the names that you read and of the lives and times of those people. Say a prayer for them if you are so inclined.

    That is far more respectful than ignoring them.

  6. Thanks ECD,

    That is a very well-thought out response. I really like your point of view here. Running season is over for the year now, but perhaps next year, I will take your advice and slow down and not ignore the resting souls.

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