If you go down in the woods today....

I recently went to Sweden to attend a wedding. We stayed in a lovely hotel, out in the countryside - too nice not to pop my trainers on and head for a run to explore, writes Jonathan Broad.

I got up early the following morning and headed out along the main road, towards the woods, where I noticed a road sign with a picture on that look like a deer with huge antlers. I'd heard people at the hotel talking about elk and so I figured I'd better have a plan to deal with it should I come across one because I've no idea whether they're likely to be friendly or not. I decided to run within myself and, if I saw one, I would head for the dense woodland figuring that this would be am obstacle for a creature with great big antlers sticking out the side of its head.

Anyway, as I ran on I came across these huge camouflaged towers which looked a bit like bird-spotting cabins on stilts and I assumed that this was probably what they were - towers from which to observe wildlife. That is until I saw the barrel of a gun sticking out of one. These were some kind of hunting posts. I thought little more of it and continued my run without any dramas.

After 15 miles or so made it back to the hotel where some Swedish guests at the wedding had gathered outside the hotel entrance to smoke. They looked amazed as I ran down the drive towards the entrance and for a minute I allowed myself to believe that I was impressing these people with my running. Not so.. A chap I had met the night before called Stig just said to me.. "Have you been out running? Where did you go?" I explained that I had run along the main road to the woods and then followed a woodland trail to the next town before running back. He looked at me & simply said "You're crazy! Don't you know there are bears in those woods." I didn't believe him, I thought it was a wind up but he produced a copy of a local paper which contained a story about the local government issuing licenses to hunt bear in the area due to over-population. I explained that I noted the road signs for elk and had a plan to deal with them. He said "don't worry about the elk. Worry about the bears & the wolves.. Nobody goes out into the woods around here on their own. We always go four or more people".

Oddly enough I did all my running for the rest of stay in Sweden on the treadmill in the gym.