I haven’t done the ‘cemetery run’ for ages and with Halloween well and truly behind us I felt it was safe to venture into the wilderness of Arnos Vale Cemetery. So with my two girls happily helping their dad put a bird box up in the holly tree at home, I escaped for my morning run.
Yes I know running around a cemetery sounds a bit weird, but it makes the run interesting. Preparing to battle with vampires and bats, the ‘cemetery run’ starts at Arnos Court Park in Brislington. To warm up I run around the park a couple of times taking in a rather steep hill - a good place to practise a bit of fartlek.
I then enter the cemetery through the gate at the top of the hill. The gate is quite hidden but is used a lot by dog walkers and runners like myself. It’s also a pleasant shortcut to Totterdown from Brislington.
The path takes you to the very top of the cemetery and provides views right across Bristol. Full of amazing trees, wildlife and thousands of gravestones, the cemetery is a myriad of narrow footpaths that zig-zag their way down through dense woodland and then out into the more formal cemetery. Covering an area of 45 acres, it is a peaceful haven in which to run - the sound of traffic simply disappears.
There are usually plenty of other people around, so while it may feel mildly spooky, its a great place to explore. It’s pretty hilly too. I usually zig-zag my way down through the cemetery (the easy bit) to the main entrance on the Bath Rd, and then slowly back up, past the entrance on Cemetery Road in Totterdown and then round to the entrance back into Arnos Court Park. I run once more round the park, flinging myself down the hill, before heading home.
It’s certainly not a place to build up any speed, but the hills are great for training and the scenery is ……… well…. a little unusual to say the least. However some words of advice if you are considering the ‘cemetery run’. Stick to the opening times. You never know what might be lurking behind some of those gravestones, and choose your music wisely. Believe me, your mind begins to play tricks, particularly when running past the various tombs. I guess if you get spooked your adrenalin will kick in and you’ll certainly run faster. Anyone else had any similar experiences?