The Hash House Harriers
The Hash House Harriers, founded in Malaya in 1938, is a non-competitive, social running club.
The concept of the 'hash' (as it is commonly called) is for a group of runners of any ability to follow a pre-laid trail. That's it. There are many themes and variations on this concept around the world for this is a worldwide activity; there are currently over 2,000 hashes that run on a regular basis and all continents are represented. The objectives of the hash, paraphrased from the registration with the authorities in 1950 are:
to promote physical fitness
to get rid of weekly indulgences
to develop a good thirst and quench it (with beer)
to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
Put simply, you do some exercise to establish (in your mind if nobody else's) the moral high ground, after which you repair to the bar and bring yourself back to where you started. At least it's better than going to the bar without exercising beforehand.
In the case of the North Hants Hash, one or two 'hares' will research and lay a trail, usually from a pub, of about four or five miles. The trail is laid in flour or sawdust and may contain check points, false trails, loops and all sorts of devices to keep the fast runners and the slow runners more or less together. On the day, the hares give a brief explanation of the trail and will run along with the pack in case they get lost or the trail has been washed out since it was laid. It takes about one hour to hash four miles; if this sounds slow, the faster runners may well cover six miles including all the checking. Sometimes the hare will provide a map for those that do not run any more. As stated above, the hash is not competitive and you are welcome to put as much or as little effort into running it as you like.
The best way to understand the hash is to join us.
The History of the Hash
By far the best history of the Hash comes from the Mother Hash itself.
We are lucky in North Hants to have as one of our hashers, Richard 'Mountain Rescue' McAllister who introduced hashing to Britain in 1969 at Longmoor Army Camp. This hash no longer exists but has evolved into the Deepcut Hash House Harriers under the auspices of Tony 'Fruit'n Nut' Case.
The first rule of hashing is "There are no rules", however, there are traditions and no two hashes are quite the same. Some of the traditions are described below.
Swing Low: The worldwide Hash Hymn
In many hashes around the world, this song is sung after the end of the hash. The format varies. Usually, the chorus is sung to vigorous arm actions. This is repeated but humming only. The only shouted word is "coming". This is repeated a third time in silence but with the actions and the word "coming". The song is concluded by repeating the chorus aloud, vigorously and fast!
Of the five verses, only verses one and four are in common use. If you can learn the whole song, with the actions, you'll be the star at any Interhash.
Chorus (in bold):
Swing low, sweet chariot
I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Sometimes I'm up and sometimes I'm down
The brightest day that I can say
If I get there before you do
If you get there before I do
The Hash Hymn (left) is all part and parcel of hash lore of which there is plenty.
Did you know the origin of the 'red dress run'?
It started in San Diego when an elegant female, new to the concept of hashing, turned up dressed to kill in a little red number. True to the chivalry of the hash she was humiliated beyond all reason and thus was born the 'Red Dress Run' now celebrated by hashes world-wide. People run wearing anything red, preferably a dress - men included!
When was the Hash formed and who formed it?
The first formal hash was organised in Kuala Lumpur in 1938. Tony 'Fruit 'n Nut' Case has started many hashes in his life, but not this one!
How does the hash song go?
Me - me - me - me - me
Here's to -----, (s)he's true blue (a blue)
(S)He's a hasher through and through
(S)He's a bastard (pisspot, w*nker) so they say
And (s)he'll never get to heaven
(and (s)he tried to get to heaven)
in a long, long way.
(but (s)he went the other way.)
Drink it down, down, down (repeated ad nauseam)
The version in brackets is more common in the new world.
There's any number of hash web-sites that will provide huge volumes of detail about the Hash. There's even an entry in Wikipedia. Beware, some hash songs are not for the faint-hearted!!
Never ever wear new shoes on a hash run. The penalty is to drink your down-down from the shoe. Not only does this spoil the taste of good beer (although it actually improves Boddingtons), you really don't want to catch Athletes' Throat.
How to set a Hash
The easy way is to join Richard 'Mountain Rescue' McAllister and gaze in awe at the master.
Seriously, if you are new to hashing, join an experienced hare for your first few attempts. Plan the route, walk the route, dream the route. In Hampshire terrain, ground is covered at about 4 miles per hour and it takes you twice as long to lay the hash with two hares.
Let's say you want a hash of 60 minutes duration. Plan a four mile route. Start laying it at 8am and lard it with checks. Expect to finish at 10 am, ready for an 11am start.