Is it disrespectful to run in a cemetery?

This person was born in Switzerland in the early 1800s.

I love looking at these old tombstones. This person was born in Switzerland in the early 1800s.

This question had never really occurred to me before, as one of my favorite races takes place in probably the largest (and one of the oldest) cemeteries in Fort Wayne.

But late last week I was looking to get in a quick outdoor run to keep my holiday run streak alive, and because I’d just finished up some Christmas shopping in Decatur, where I’m not familiar with any local routes or jogging paths, I figured I’d just run for 20 minutes or so in a cemetery.

The first one I stopped at looked perfect — quiet and peaceful and far back off the road near a woods. I love wandering through cemeteries, and I couldn’t wait to explore this one. But then I noticed someone was tending to a grave, which made me feel awkward about doing a workout there.

There was another cemetery across the road, which was larger but in a much busier area. I drove through and didn’t see anyone, so I got out and began my run. Naturally, not one but TWO cars arrived shortly afterward. I decided to go ahead and finish my run, but in my head I began formulating my answer if anybody began hassling me about running there. Nobody did, and I made sure I didn’t go anywhere near them. But given that I only recently got tuned in to the concept of stopping a run for a funeral procession, I wondered if I was equally clueless on this issue.

On one running message board I came across, most people seemed to think it was OK to run in a cemetery as long as you didn’t interfere with other people’s privacy zones. I guess I’d add that it might make a difference how big the cemetery was. Lindenwood, site of the Galloping Gobbler, is so vast that I didn’t even notice until after the race that a tent was being set up in a remote corner. (Probably most funeral directors would advise people against having funerals there on Thanksgiving morning.)

During my fat years  I often walked through cemeteries. They’re beautiful, peaceful places, and as a history buff I enjoy contemplating the lives of people who lived a long time ago.  Now my inclination would be to do the same thing, only on the run. But I’d be curious what other people think. (And while we’re at it, would it be OK to bike through a cemetery, or rollerblade, if that’s your chosen mode of locomotion/contemplation?)

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2 Responses to Is it disrespectful to run in a cemetery?

  1. MikeR says:

    A couple years ago, I took a run through Lindenwood while training for the Galloping Gobbler. It was early on a Saturday morning. If there were a burial in progress, I’d steer clear. Whenever I visit my dad’s gravesite at Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne, I envision myself running through it, but have not yet done so.

  2. Reblogged this on Car-free, meat-free runner and commented:
    Tanya, in her blog asks about running in a cemetery. I’ve done it, what are thoughts of others?

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