serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Posts Tagged ‘hashing’

A Different Kind of Trail Running: Adventure Races

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

mud-running-raceUSA Today posted an article yesterday titled, “Runners get down and dirty for a thrill in Extreme Races” where it discussed the rise of less traditional running races.  The article mentions obstacle-course-themed mud runs, adventure runs through the woods and across rivers with only using GPS, and mountain runs, but while most of these races are done on trails, it never specifically mentions trail running.  We at agree, trail running is a category sport all of its own.  However, any running on trails can be considered trail running, but when you throw in mud slides, GPS navigation, or multiple race vehicles, we categorize them as “adventure races” here on’s race listings.

Vonda Wright, assistant professor in orthopedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for Sports Medicine and author of Fitness after 40, says in the article, “Overuse injuries can happen when people just run, run, run.  Our bodies, our muscles in particular, have muscle memory, and the best way to challenge them without getting stuck in an overuse rut is to mix it up.”  That’s the same with trail running.  There has been a strong movement for runners to get off of the roads and into other activities, whether it be triathlons, adventure races, or trail running because they now understand the medical benefits of changing their exercise routines.

But adventure races have also caught on because they are fun and can be done by people are not necessarily athletic.  When the Warrior Dash came through town a month or two ago I had friends that I didn’t know ever exercised say they were going to participate.  One friend even went out to buy a bike at Target just for the event!  If you’ve ever wanted to try an adventure race here are some cool ones to check out:

Columbia Muddy Buddy:  Two teams traverse over a 6-7 mile course and 5 obstacles.  At the start of the race on team      muddy-buddy-racemember runs while the other will ride the bike.  Once the bike rider reaches the first obstacle they drop the back, complete the obstacle and begin running to the next one.  Once the runner reaches the first obstacle they must complete it, then pick up the bike and ride it to the next obstacle.  You and your partner leap frog like that until the end of the race where you will have to crawl through the famous mud pit and cross the finish line together.  A fun race that anyone can do, with events being held all across the country.

running-verticalStair Climbing or Vertical Running:  You’ll need to go to a big city to run a vertical running event.  These events are run in downtown buildings in which runners run up 30-50 flights of stairs.  They are a great work out for your quads and if you aren’t a big runner you can always walk up the stairs.  Runners are sent up the building in 10 second intervals to allow for spacing so passing can be difficult.  The view at the finish line is usually pretty sweet though!

Fell Running:  These races are mountain running with a twist, racers are required to navigate themselves and must bring survival gear.  I consider mountain running and trail running to be interchangeable because both are about running on trails over varying terrain, but fell running takes mountain and trail running to a new level by not having a specific race course.  Runners must use a map to navigate the route they want to take to the finish and checkpoints.  Fell Running is more popular in the UK than the US, but who knows, it may grow here.

Hash Running:  There are Hash Clubs all across the United States.  Hash running involves chasing after the Hare who leaves directional signs of where the route is to go, sometimes pointing in more than one direction, and everyone runs to the finish.  There is drinking involved so make sure you are 21.  More information on Hash Running.

Non Trail Races with a Twist:  Lastly there are races that add a twist for some extra fun.  Like the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh,krispy-kreme-race NC hosted by students from NC State.  In this race runners must run 2 miles to the local Krispy Kreme donut shop, eat a dozen donuts, and then race back 2 miles.  If that isn’t extreme I don’t know what is.  Another extreme challenge I’ve tried is running naked.  Butts A’ Runnin’ Race Enterprises (the race director’s last name is actually Butts) puts on a race series every year held at different nudist resorts around the Southeast.  These races are a blast!  Runners may run fully clothed or completely naked.  I opted for completely naked except for running shoes and socks.  Read more about my experience running naked.

Try some of these new races and have a blast!

Hash Running: Do You Have A Running Problem?

Friday, February 27th, 2009

beer-after-marathon-resize-2Lately when talking about running, many people have asked me if I do hashes.  It usually is a reasonable question since the running discussion is shared over a beer.  Hashers, properly called Hash House Harriers, or if you’re into the whole brevity thing, H3s or HHHs (not to be confused with the long-haired wrestler Triple H).  They describe themselves as a “drinking club with a running problem.”  Lovely.  I hashed a couple of years ago and it was a lot of fun.  I’ve been planning on participating in some more hashes but haven’t found a way to make time for them on the weekends between races and training.  I really need to make more time for beer.  Sorry beer, I promise I’ll spend more time with you.  Beer can be so demanding sometimes can’t it?

Hashing started in 1938 by a group of British expatriates living in Malaysia seeking to cure their hangovers and clean out their bodies from weekend activities.  I agree, there’s nothing that can clean out your insides better than a good sweat from running.  Hashing resurfaced and started gaining popularity in the early 1980s as a protest to the rapid growth of the Atari game system in American homes.  Not really.  But hashing has grown exponentially since the early 1980s with approximately 2000 Hashes worldwide.  Find your local Hash, called “kennels” by going to the World Hash House Harriers Directory and searching from over 1879 Hashes worldwide!  You don’t have to deal with your running problem alone, there are others out there just like you.

H3s say that hashing is a state of mind.  They aim to relive their childhood and fraternity days (sorority days too I assume…minus the underwear pillow fights), as well as release the tensions of everyday life.  Even though there is a Hash House Harriers Bible with specific rules that H3s must follow, hashing is typically a laid-back affair, giving people another opportunity to act foolish on the weekends.  Being serious on the weekend sucks…serious running is always cool.  H3s give each other nicknames, originally because officers and enlisted people in the military wanted to be able to hash with each other on the weekends without it being considered fraternization.  I wonder if I can pick my H3 nickname to be my old military call sign, Red Bull 6.  I should have gotten sponsored.

Hashing starts with the “hare” running ahead of the “pack,” leaving directional markings along the route.  The runners chasing the hare must determine the correct directions to take.  Hashes are typically run over 3-6 miles, traversing some sort of trail run or sticky route.  H3s feel best when they are dirty.  There are typically stops along the route that involve drinking beer to replenish carbs used during the run.  Doesn’t this counteract the “cleansing of the body from the weekend” concept of hashing?  Whatever.  Who wants to be clean anyways?  At the end of the hash all of the runners gather in a group for some ritualistic activities that aim to facilitate more foolishness.  Just what the doctor ordered.

As I do some more hashes I’ll let you know more about hashing.  But until then you can go to The World Hash House Harriers to learn more.  Do something about your running problem and start drinking!