Lately 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!