Monday, October 7, 2013

Cemetery Running: Decent or Disrespectful?

The other day I was passing a landmark I pass everyday. The vast Mountain View Cemetery here in our thriving metropolis of Longmont, Colorado. It sits right on Main Street in the middle of town.

I’ve never paid much attention to this place. I don’t know anyone buried there, have never been to a funeral there, and just assumed it was your run of the mill graveyard. The most we’ve done is hold our breath while driving by (remember: it’s not polite to breathe while others can’t, or something like that).

On this particular day I peeked in while driving by and saw a group of runners making their way through the cemetery. I recognized some as being from the high school where my son goes. I asked him about it later and he told me the cross country team often runs through the cemetery. What? Are you really allowed to do that? Won’t someone roll over in their grave and trip you?

I don’t see anything about NO Running

I got curious, so the next day I went there. Not to run, just to check it out. Turns out you can drive through the cemetery along these nice roads and there are wide dirt paths that go throughout the grounds. It’s like this little historical oasis.

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Peaceful. Serene. Quiet. Spiritual.

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Coincidently (or maybe not so much?) my friend Clair called me while I was scoping out the ‘tery (that’s what the cool people call it). She unfortunately has lost both of her parents. I asked if she would be offended if someone ran through the cemetery where her parents were buried. “No way. It is an amazing place to run.”

I have to admit, it’s the perfect place to run. Few cars, well manicured, safe.

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Yet, there was still something nagging me. Is it disrespectful to run here? It’s not like I’m going to be doing fartleks from grave to grave or squatting on headstones, but I would be running on the paths that surround the graves. And, I would be there for purposes of running, not visiting a grave or specifically respecting the dead (although I would be doing that in my head, I suppose).

I put myself in the other’s shoes. If I had a loved one buried in a cemetery and some runners often came to run there, would I be pissed? Would I find it disrespectful? No. As long as they stayed on the paths/roads. But, then again, I am a runner. You could have probably sprinted around the labor and delivery room while I was giving birth and I wouldn’t have cared.

Ever heard of Ed Whitlock? He is a Canadian long distance runner and the first person EVER to be older than 70 and to run a sub 3 hour marathon (he ran a 2:54 at the age of 73). He does all of his training two blocks from his house in Toronto at a local cemetery. No joke. Maybe running in cemeteries is actually the key to becoming faster.

I’ve given this quite a bit of thought. Here are my running cemetery rules:

  • If there is a funeral going on, stay away
  • Don’t run there if there is a sign saying “no running”
  • Use this chance to be happy you are alive
  • Be quiet
  • Don’t listen to music. Just listen
  • Do not vandalize (not something I do anyway. Not going to start)
  • No snot rockets or pit stops
  • Silently pay respects

In case you were wondering, I’ll probably be cremated and spread on a favorite trail/mountain somewhere. Feel free to run there.

Have you run in a cemetery? Do you think it is disrespectful?

SUAR

89 comments:

  1. My running group cuts through a cemetery every Saturday morning on their regular route. It's basically the only way to cross a busy street that doesn't have sidewalks! Of course, it's always really early so there's no one at the cemetery. I've also run through another one in my old neighborhood and never saw anyone there, either. It's so pretty. Like a park! Heck, isn't there a cemetery in LA where they have concerts? And there's actually a 5K race in Chicago that goes through the city's largest cemetery. Anyway, obviously I'm pro-cemetery running. Your rules are good, though! I would add one more: don't jump any locked gates just to run. That's just trespassing.

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  2. One of my most amazing runs was in Gettysburg National Cemetery. I don't think it's disrespectful at all and of course I agree with your rules.

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  3. I'd think it'd be okay as long as you're respectful, like you said (unless there was a "no running" sign). But I always thought you hold your breath when passing a cemetery so the ghosts don't come inside you for a ride?? Maybe I just grew up in a paranoid place... haha

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    1. I followed the breath rule for ghosts, too!! :-)

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    2. Phew, I'm glad I'm not the only one!! =D

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  4. There's a cemetery where I live that is a frequent training ground for runners. Many of the groups go out there to run hills (hard to find in Indiana), and the Thanksgiving Galloping Gobbler goes through it. I've run through it a couple times but find it creepy. Mostly because I get lost and end up running at least a mile over.

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  5. I have run in the local cemetery. I have the same thoughts as you.

    but I was highly, I mean really pissed off when I heard of a race organization that organized a 5k in a historic cemetery in Chicago. I wrote to the charity group, the cemetery officials and race officials. I was basically told I was the only one complaining but when I posted it on my FB page to friends who are a lot of runners they were pissed off as well! I think an organized 5k run does more damage and ruins the peacefulness of the cemetery.

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  6. I haven't ever run thru a cemetery but have thought about it. I too have pondered the same question. I guess if you asked 100 people you'd get a bunch of different takes on it but the more I think about it, the more I think, No. It's not disrespectful. I think about where we buried some of my loved ones. It doesn't upset me if you ran by their stone. And I don't think it bothers them one bit either! I think that if I was to run through one, I would become a more thoughtful - I would think about those people and what it means to be alive and running.

    I think your rules are legit. I would stick to those.

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  7. Celebrate life, yours and theirs by doing something you love there. I agree with your rule, they are perfect.

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  8. I started running in the cemetery adjacent to my college. Nothing wrong with it, imo.

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  9. Last year, I moved just a few blocks away from Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge. It is a gorgeous place with no traffic and lots of quiet roads for running. I could run for MILES in there! At first, I was worried about the etiquette of running in the cemetery, but finally decided to give it a try. It's fabulous. And peaceful. And it makes me feel good that I'm bringing some life and activity and happiness (running there really does make me happy!) to the place. I love reading the names on the tombstones and thinking about the people who are buried there. And no one has ever stopped me to ask what I'm doing or give me a hard time. Still mystified as to why I never see anyone else running there, though....

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  10. After I die you can run past my grave anyday. I find walkind through cemeteries to be relaxing. I think your "rules" are good one.

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  11. Well I lived for 5 years near the 9th St. cemetery in Boulder. It's quite historical and I don't think there are any new graves available but it was and is used as a park. Frisbee golf, runners, bikes, kids playing, dogs running about. We trained our border collie pups there. The city was fine with it. I think it's totally OK to run on paths thru a cemetery. If I was buried there it would be nice to know people were up there running around and enjoying themselves.

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  12. There is an episode of House Of Cards that includes this topic. I'd say OK as long as no funeral. But I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it at night! ;)

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  13. My brother-in-law lives about 45minutes away from us, right by a cemetery. He (and a ton of other people that live in the area) take their dogs to the cemetery and let them off leash and use a chuck-it to throw balls for the dogs. IN the cemetery. I was completely shocked when I found out about this (I am a dog lover and have two awesome golden retrievers) so it's not that dogs offend me on any level, but it does seem disrespectful to throw a ball and have dogs run over the grass in the cemetery. It seems to be 'common practice' in the area though, and nobody bats an eye. Except me, I guess. I think it's weird and I wouldn't be happy if I had a loved one there.

    But, I think running is ok if you stay on the paths. I think it's more the fact that the dogs are tearing all over the place that is offensive. I wouldn't care if people walked their dogs thru there on a leash and stayed on the paths.

    It'll be interesting to see how people weigh in on this issue!!!

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    1. Got to agree with you on the dog thing.

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    2. I'd be concerned at the dogs doing their business there--poop on a grave, now THAT would be disrespectful! Running or walking dogs on the paths, no problem; dogs running around on the graves, not a fan, much as I love dogs.

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  14. Glad to see your cremation comment at the end. I personally refuse to be buried anywhere because I don't want to lay claim to some plot of land for eternity. I'd far prefer that land be put to good use for future generations, instead of set aside for some dead lady no one remembers 100 years from now (me).

    Not to say anything about those who go for an American "norm" of burial. Just not for me.

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    1. Exactly! I would rather the space be used as public parks (though it seems cemeteries are often treated as such) than be taken up by my remains. Haven't found the perfect spot to have my ashes spread yet, but I'm hoping I have a few more years to decide!

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  15. My dad is buried at a military cemetery and it's one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I've ever been. I've thought about bringing running shoes with me whenever I go visit. It's an hour away from where I live so it'd probably be a short run when I got out there but I'd never be upset if someone ran through it so long as they stayed on the pavement and were respectful.

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  16. I'd add to your list to pay attention to where you are spitting and snot-rocketing... make sure not on a grave. other than that, i'd say it is a beautiful and quiet place to run.

    Renee W.

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  17. There's a beautiful cemetery several blocks from our house, and I often run through it as I'm returning from a run for all the reasons you mentioned above: it's beautiful, peaceful, serene and spiritual. I say your rules are perfect, and there's nothing disrespectful at all about running in a cemetery if you keep those things in mind.

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  18. I just ran through a local cemetery last Sunday! I agree with your rules of being respectful & with Amy's post, feel like we're bringing some life, activity & happiness to the place. Group runs, and certainly an organized race, would be pushing it though!

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  19. I don't find running in a cemetery disrespectful unless someone is (like you said) vandalizing or doing other inappropriate things. As long as no one is there and you are not interrupting someone who is grieving, it is ok to run there.

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  20. Just wanted to add, a lot of the 19th century cemeteries were originally set up to be a park like destination, on purpose. It was to encourage visitors and park like behavior. We have a ton of them around here, and yes a few do welcome dogs. If you see a caretaker go ahead and ask and if you really are in doubt, or call management. But otherwise enjoy!

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  21. I don't find it disrespectful at all. It's quite peaceful. I've run the same cemetery that Ed Whitlock runs in. It's a beautiful cemetery in mid-town Toronto. Both of my grandparents were buried there(they passed when I was quite young) and I lived in the neighbourhood for a while so I made it my mission to find their graves. It took a lot of internet research, several runs and a really nice grounds keeper to help me find them. So every time I ran through there I'd stop and say hello.

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  22. My grandparents are there and I would be honored if you were to run past them. They died when I was a teenager so they never got to know me as a runner. I never thought of running in the cemetery, it's only 2 miles from my Mom's house. Next time I'm in Longmont I am going to have to take a run up to visit my grandparents. Maybe I'll see you there :-)

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  23. I would think cemetery running would be peaceful and a good time to reflect. I wonder what the response would be if this same blog was posted outside of a running community. I assume (but we know what happens when you do that ;) ) that most of the people that commented are runners. I wonder if it would offend some people? I used to run to the cemetery to visit my papa. It was great to get a drink from the faucet when I got there! I have stopped at a cemetery I run by to get a drink from my hands on super hot days.

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    1. That is a very good point. Not sure there would be as much support outside of this community...

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  24. My running club runs through 3 cemetery's when we do our evening run, it's peaceful and keeps us out of traffic, we even do a Halloween run where we run the cemetery at night and have headlamps and reflective gear. I really enjoy how peaceful it is and I make sure to stop by and say hi to my dad (he's in one of the cemetery we run through) This time of year it's so peaceful with the leaves changing colors.

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  25. The sign says "No Sports". Isn't running a sport?

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    1. Yes, technically speaking, you are right...although this sign was put up at a Phoenix Cemetery (not mine) because people were actually having BBQs and playing football and volleyball.

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    2. Yikes. I've been to Boulder several times and can see how accepting the community could be towards running (respectfully of course) in a cemetery. I now live in a very conservative town in Missouri...running through a cemetery would be very frowned upon :( I'm becoming tainted lol

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  26. Respectful and mindfull running is always the way to go, irrespective of where you are. Where I could make a cemetery a regular route... I manage to spook myself on just a normal trail run, I'd hate to see the tricks my head would play on me in a cemetery! But then it might be just the thing I need to get some speed up!

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  27. Like the others I don't think it's disrespectful and I like your rules. There is a small cemetery just across the main road from my neighborhood, the road goes in loops around a tree and connects to itself adds maybe .25 mile to my run if I run it. I've never done it when someone was in there visiting or taking care of the place.

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  28. One of the most gorgeous cemeteries in country is in Cincinnati Ohio. Springgrove actually holds several 5K events on their property, and encourages runners. I have run it a couple of times and MAN is it a hilly course! but impressive .. http://www.springgrove.org/spring-grove-cemetery.aspx

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    1. From cincinnati too. Spring Grove started encouraging runners and fitness walkers to be extra "eyes" when there was an increase in vandalism.

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  29. I run through a cemetery and I like it. I'm kind of afraid to go for a while, though, because last weekend I made fun of the weird "gifts" that someone left on a headstone. Apparenlty, this guy really like golfing squirrels and cats.

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  30. Rosehill cemetary here in Chicago does a 5K night run..I did it last year and it is peaceful. I have never ran in any other cemetary but I would think it would be a safe place to run with no cars to worry about. I wouldn't mind it someone ran where my family member was buried

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  31. I have a lot of friends who run in cemeteries. Sometimes it's the only "park" or "green space" you can find in the middle of a concrete jungle. So I see it as a perfect place to get lost in your thoughts, enjoying the time you dedicate to your favorite sport. Your rules are pretty much perfect to me. I don't see anything wrong with it as long as you remain respectful of the living and the dead.

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  32. I love to run through the local cemetery. It's so peaceful and I look at it like this....Most of them there would love to have someone come visit. So why not be me. Enjoy your run in the cemetery looks like a nice place.

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  33. My husband was a runner before he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and I lost him 4 years ago. If you were to run by his grave site I'm sure he'd be smiling down on you and cheering you on! The only comment I'd like to add is to be respectful of people who are "visiting" their loved ones. Typically they (we) are there for a sentimental reason, birthday, anniversary and so on, but sometimes they (we) are having a personal struggle and need to be near them if only in a spiritual way. I was with my teenage son once and a gentleman was walking his dogs, he saw my son crying, he had just hit his first home run in a high school game the day before and brought his dad the ball. The man quietly turned his dogs around and went in another direction. So respectful and truly appreciated! I hope this will also help Krista understand the "weird gifts" so she won't make fun of them anymore.

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  34. I'd love to run through a cemetery...I find them peaceful and great places for serious thinking. But I imagine people visiting gravesites (even when a funeral isn't going on) may find it out of place and disrespectful. I know we runners don't mean disrespect by it, but I think non-runners won't understand the introspection running often brings. While we often see running as a spiritually meaningful thing, and therefore fit for a cemetery, non-runners tend to miss that, and might see it as simply us treating the cemetery as a free gym.

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  35. My town's cemetery is a gorgeous place to run or walk. It's on a hill, so lots of opportunities to work on hill strength. Its incredibly peaceful, and most days I see the "regulars" and we wave or chat for a minute. It almost has its own social scene. I think these places are to be visited and explored, not driven by and ignored. I find it fascinating to read the names and walk the rows piecing families together.

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  36. Running through a cemetery sounds lovely, I've always liked walking in them. As long as people don't litter, leave dog poo, or hurdle gravestones, running quietly on paths seems perfectly acceptable. The deceased can't enjoy the well kept grounds and lovely flowers so they might as well be appreciated by the visitors and what better way than a nice serene run.

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    1. I should add that it would be disrespectful to go huffing and puffing directly past anyone visiting graves, I'd choose to reroute to another area or walk.

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  37. We have organized races in a historic Jacksonville Cemetery (Evergreen Cemetery) In fact, it's my favorite 10-mile race course! As long as you stay on the paths meant for walking or driving I cannot imagine that many people would find that disrespectful.

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    1. I was going to comment about that race...I love the pumpkin run!

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  38. I grew up next to a cemetery.... you would be surprised what goes on there. Walkers, people learning to drive, we went sledding, hide and go seek....among !other things that shouldn't be named. I think its fine as long as you are respectful (as you should be anywhere)

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  39. I'm a runner...and I guess the only one so far that disagrees. Running in the cemetery just doesn't seem quite right to me no matter how respectful you are to others visiting or what rules you follow. It's a place to honor our dead, to sit quietly and reflect/pray/meditate, whatever. Enter heavy breathing runner pounding down the path and that scene is ruined. Maybe I'm just creeped out by the thought of running in a cemetery.

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  40. I'm not sure if I've ever commented on your blog before but FWIW here are my $.02. I lived across from a big beautiful cemetery in Toronto and saw lots of people using it for running, walking, cycling and cross country skiing. I think in cities that have too little green space or green space that is too little (Toronto is regarded as one of the greenest cities in Canada but many of the parks are tiny single benched entities snuggled on street corners, between buildings, on rooftops and the like), that people turn to cemeteries to escape the urban hustle and bustle. And to me that is fine. This is a 'running forum' but I'm a newbie runner and don't find it all offensive. And so what if some people do? No matter what you do, you're going to offend someone, somewhere but if you behave in a respectful manner towards the deceased and follow common sense, I think you're fine.

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  41. We have an old city cemetery in my town that dates back to 1800's. It's a very beautiful historical place where loads of people take picture. It's my favorite place to take pictures during every season. So many people go to take family pictures. It's one of my favorite places. Never seen anyone running there but would think it's totally ok. You're right about unplugging the music and running in the peace. I posted pictures recently on my blog about our cemetery. Lace up those running shoes and enjoy it.

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  42. We have a large, historically significant (several presidents) cemetery in town. It's open to the public, complete with tours. It's a challenging running spot as it's very hilly and easy to take a wrong turn. Our local training teams usually have at least one run that goes through it. When I run through Hollywood Cemetery, I think about the many folks I knew who are now buried there.
    My church graveyard is too small for running but is the location for annual Easter Egg hunt. When I go, that's where I'll be and I look forward to the pitter patter of little ones hunting for eggs each spring. Feel free to picnic on me as well.
    Ellen - thanks for sharing. My heart breaks a bit for you and your son.

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  43. There's a race I do almost every year in NY called the Stockade-a-thon and part of the 10 mile run goes through a cemetery. I never really thought about it other then that's the 8 mile mark and you're almost done!!

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  44. We have an official race & breakfast at one of our historic cemeteries - http://www.mtelliott.com/sunrise-run/

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  45. My father-in-law died this summer and his burial site is near the park I usually run. When I'm up to it, I plan to run through there, only on the pathways, and visit his memorial. I'm not crazy about the cross country teams running through there, but individual runners who are respectful seem fine to me.

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  46. I've run in cemeteries quite often! There's actual a 5K through the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, where I used to live. I think the main thing for me is that people are respectful of what the space actually is and why other people are actually there.

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  47. I live in the Chicago suburbs where there are minimal places to run. I run on the roads a lot. And I loop around a 2 mile retention pond to log my long runs. Jealous yet? They have bathrooms and water fountains there...and they sand the path in the winter. Just like running on the beach. There are the forest preserves, if you want to do some unexpected sprinting as you run for your life. And there is a beautiful cemetery near my home. Every time we drive by, I look longingly at the wide drives, the shady trees. But I can't bring myself to run in there. It seems so disrespectful. I don't know it is ok to do that, even though a lot of commenters seem to think so...

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  48. I have actually run at a cemetery before. I started out on the path and it abruptly ended so I ended up running through the grass to get to the next path. I felt so guilty about it for weeks after! I have to say I would love to know that people were running through a cemetery if I was buried there, but I plan to have my ashes spread at the top of a mountain:) Feel free to run there;)

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  49. I think if people were enjoying themselves around my grave and not doing damage.... well go for it. Play frisbee, run, let to dogs out and enjoy yourselves.

    I live among chaos now and thoroughly enjoy it. I will miss it in death

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  50. Our local 5ks pick up a loop through the cemetery for distance. For real.

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  51. I don't think it's any different than driving through. As long as people stay on the roads, I can't imagine it hurting anyone. Running is all about quiet reflection (at least that's what I tell myself) and there's nowhere better to do that then at a cemetery. I run through ours a couple times a month and never thought anything about it. It's the shadiest place in town, so in the summer, yeah...that's happening.

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  52. In high school my sister and I once ran through a cemetery. the next day we saw a new NO running sign. I guess someone was offended.

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  53. Now I want to run in a cemetary. When I ran the PF Changs AZ Marathon, I considered stopping at a friends gravesite at around mile 20 to pay my respects. Yes, during a the race.

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  54. I run through a couple smaller older cemeteries. I love the peace and beauty. And I do not feel I am disrespectful. No one has been buried there for over 70 years. I wonder if anyone visits. But I do. I sort of feel like I am paying some respect. I am not standing on graves, running across any areas except gravelled pathways. I actually feel very safe and find some peace in such a beautiful area. And if its what Ed does....hell i am now all over that!

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  55. I should recuse myself from this discussion, but I must admit to living just blocks away from Mountain View Cemetary in Oakland, California, where I have run many miles with peace and with respect for my surroundings. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, whose other designs include Central Park in NYC, and much of campuses at Stanford and UC Berkeley. He also designed the campus of my high school, Cranwell, in Lenox, Massachusetts.

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  56. I don't think I would run in a cemetary. Though I have to agree, that it looks absolutely beautiful But it does feel a bit disrespectful to me. After all, there are plenty of other places to run.

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  57. Beautiful area there. I wouldn't think it would be disrespectful, I would imagine it could quite respectful in some instances. You have a list of things that make you quite aware of the grounds. I imagine some of those there don't get visits from family anyway, so it's as if you are paying your respects.

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  58. I happen to love cemeteries - during the day, of course. I'm not sure how running through them would be any different than walking through them (plenty of walkers do, indeed, huff and puff and make a lot of noise). If you're visiting a gravesite you typically do have to walk across the tops of others to get there (and often, the graves aren't even marked so you might not even know it). It's the intentional disrespect that I have a problem with - drinking and such after dark that kids might do. I don't run through the local cemetery because it's pretty much straight up a cliff to get there - I couldn't run it even on my best days - but I used to walk through once in awhile and found it very relaxing.

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  59. I used to live in Rochester, NY, and there's a famous cemetery there, and I ran a half marathon that actually went through the cemetery on it's course, and I never heard any complaints. I think it's just a matter of being respectful, and following the rules you mentioned.

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  60. I am originally from Mi and I had never heard of anyone running in a cemetery until I moved to NC. It is quite common in the small town I live in to run or walk through the cemetery. I was shocked at first too but whatever floats your boat. I personally will never run through a cemetery because the opening scene from the original Night of the Living Dead movie traumatized me when I was 12.

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  61. I know I'm going against the tide here but I think it's disrespectful. I think many people there are in sombre moods and it really is a place of silence and quiet because it reflects that. If I was sad, pensive and missing someone, I don't think I'd want to see someone on a run.

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  62. I used to think it was disrespectful to run in a cemetary. I recently joined a running group and sometimes the group runs are in a cemetary, as I live in the city and there aren't many places to run uninterrupted. The coaches said that they ran in cemetaries all the time, and actually they are also always plowed in the winter too. Now that I've tried it and seen that everyone is respectful, quiet, and never disturbing to anyone or anything, I don't think it's so bad. I'm still a little bit uncomfortable with it for myself though so I don't know if I'll keep doing it on my own.

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  63. I run through our local cemetery often. I find it very peaceful, serene and a time where I can say a quick hello to my father. I do agree that I would never run through a cemetery when a burial was in progress. Other than that, as long as I'm not throwing a Mardi Gras party at the local cemetery I feel it is no way disrespectful.

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  64. My running club runs through a local cemetery all the time. I never thought of it as disrespectful by any means, and it truly is an awesome place to run for all the reasons you mentioned. I think as long as you're not being disrespectful (i.e. pit stops, blasting music, etc. like you said) I see no problem with it!

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  65. We have a greenways trail in our area that actually goes through a cemetery. I didn't know this until I ran a 5K on July 4th that was on this trail and ran through the cemetery but now I see that people run and walk there all the time.

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  66. Nashville has a Memorial Day 5K that ends in the City Cemetery. All proceeds raised support the upkeep of that historic place.

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  67. Just a personal preference, but I don't think I would ever be comfortable running through a cemetary- because I can't run and hold my breath at the same time! But I seriously think about how I might feel if I were visiting a gravesite of a deceased friend or relative and saw somebody out for a casual run. It seems a disconnect from time and place. But it's true too that different cemetaries have different vibes, and so it may be more acceptable at some than others. For example, if it is a large cemetary, with a main route that circumvents the gravesites, and still allows for privacy, that would probably be ok for runners. There are so many beautiful parks and forest preserves in my area that, thankfully, there are a lot of other green spaces for me to run.

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  68. Here's another cemetary running story.

    http://thehairpin.com/2013/10/running-blind?src=longreads

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  70. I personally would be fine running in a cemetery, for a brief time. I wouldn't choose to have my entire run take place inside, but if part of my path led through one, I would be respectful and contemplative. Cemeteries can be beautiful and serene places to run. But I agree, not if there is an active funeral service taking place.

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  71. I have mixed feelings about this. I don't know why. My parents are buried right on one of my regular running routes. I've seen people run through there, too. I think maybe I'll try it just once. I do love your rules, especially the one about being quiet, just listen. Turn off the music and don't talk if you're with a partner. This is how we would enter the cemetery after my mom passed away when I was little. My dad would turn off the radio and we would silently make our way to the gravesite. Yes, maybe I'll try it next time I'm near. Thanks, Beth.

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  72. Most peaceful place is running in a cemetery, beautiful trees, no cars to run over you, nice paths, and always respectful to the needs of those at the spot of their loved one. I love running/waddling in this setting

    laurie berthel

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  73. Our little town is barely a mile across, so it's really hard to get any significant mileage on the streets. There is a wonderful cemetery where my grandparents are buried that just happens to have a half mile paved path along the perimeter. I park and set up my little aid station on my bumper with fuel and water. It's a great way to practice pacing. I've seen many people walking and running here. It's so peaceful. I can turn my brain off and enjoy the time when I don't have to be mom, wife, daughter, friend, employee, nor do I have to worry about traffic, loose dogs, etc. I can just 'be' in the moment. Sometimes I pray or reflect. I think about the people who are buried there...what their lives must have been like, who they have left behind... I've had some sweet conversations with family members visiting their loved ones. I watch the care with which they decorate the graves. It's amazing to be there and to be a part of this cycle of life and to realize that I am a part of it. Sometimes Bambi and company are there to greet me. The baby bunnies are usually very shy, but there's this one scraggly-tailed squirrel that I see frequently. He's pretty vocal. I love running there so much and I'll probably be buried there. Hopefully I won't haunt the place!

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  74. I'm pretty sure Sportsbackers Marathon Training Team in Richmond VA holds a dress-up run through Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond VA around this time of year. (Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler are buried there.) I could be wrong about that info... but I've seen pictures of friends on facebook and of course everything you see on facebook is true...

    My husband grew up next door to a cemetery. He played in it as a child including tackle football. Not sure how they did that with all the tombstones. Probably not very respectful... but he and his cousins certainly brought fun and play to the place!

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  75. I haven't done it, but I saw a note on our local Road Runners web page that one of the cemeteries in town had specifically said it was ok to do there as long as everyone was respectful. Low traffic is a plus. Might be kind of spooky at night though :)

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  76. I would like to chime in on " what would the response be from non runners". I am currently a non runner, but am changing that fact. I want to start running in races to find a cure for head and neck cancers, which my dad died from in September 2013. I think it would be totally cool and respectful to run in a cemetery, especially with the headstones that people are buying these days. As you run, you can look at the stones and see what they liked to do and how they lived their lives. When I die, run past my grave and think about the little dash between the dates to see where my running has taken me ;)

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  77. I am outside this community as well, yet I would be in total support. I'm not a runner, I'm a motorcyclist. I also participate in Patriot Guard Missions to honor our fallen heroes. I think your guidelines are sound, the overall concept being respect. I'm sure the families wouldn't mind individual runners enjoying the beautiful grounds so long as they stay in the background when the grieving are present.

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