What is Hashing?
Hashing is an international activity by many groups loosely linked as 'A Drinking Club with a Running problem'.It is a non-competitive form of running characterised by following some kind of trail with enough false routes to keep people of differing fitness together for the important bits (e.g. drinking).
Started in Kuala Lumpur in 1938 by a group of British Expatriates who, needing to shift a hangover before starting some more drinking, set a run in a fashion which has developed a following all over the world. The trails they set were loosly based on Hare and Hound paperchases (thus Harriers).
Each hash has its own character. Some may be seen as having a serious running problem, others have difficulty getting out of the bar.. getting on to the Down-downs as quickly as possible. But there lies the true link between them. Enjoy yourself and then have a drink
The basics are ..
The idea is to
(a) Keep people of disparate speeds together so they get to the end of the trail and the drinks at about the same time whether they be FRB (front running) who will be getting some of the checking wrong, SCB (short cutting) who may go completely off trail or anything else. or
(b) Lose everyone in the most stylish manner possible.
Cheshire Hash House Harriers (CH3) has been running since May 1982. We are part of a chain of thousands of Hashes spread all around the world. Hashes are unlike most other running clubs, as we can successfully cater to runners of varying abilities.
We have members who are marathon runners and others who are just trying to stay reasonably fit. We run on Tuesday nights throughout the year, over a distance of between 5.5 and 6 miles, from a different pub every week. The run takes about an hour and twenty minutes to complete (give or take a few minutes), and after all the effort, we then go into the pub for a drink or two afterwards. So we keep fit, and have an extremely sociable time as well.
We can accommodate folk of different running abilities and ages, by the way we arrange each run. The weekend before each Tuesday, a couple of our members go out and lay what we call a trail using a mixture of paper and chalk markers. So, whenever their trail offers the possibility of more than one possible route forward, such as at a crossroads, our faster runners run off and try and find the correct route.
Whilst they are sorting out the way forward, our slower (or more sensible) members can simply wait and have a brief rest, until told which way we’re all going. This process that we call “checking” happens about 20 to 30 times a run depending on what alternate routes the selected running area offers. The people in charge of each run always make sure that no-one gets lost off the back of the group, so despite the variety of people on each run, we all get back to the pub car park within a couple of minutes of each other.
So if someone can get their body round a 5.75 mile route in an hour and 20 minutes, they’ll easily cope. Our speedy runners cover a longer distance as they won’t get every “check” right, as they have to retrace their steps back to the main group. But all of us get the benefits of a drink or two and a good chat in the pub afterwards. We don't have any formal membership system, so there aren’t any membership fees. In the pub we operate a kitty system, so you just pay for what you drink.
So there it is. A very informal and sociable running and drinking club that aims to keep its varied members fit, whilst offering a much needed couple of drinks after all the sweat. Lovely! So, if you’re interested, check out the website or the Facebook page, both of which gives details of where we’re going to run from and when.
It’ll be great to see you!
Trail styles vary.
They can be
'Live' with the hare(s) going out 15 minutes or so before the pack with a sack of flour/powdered chalk/paper and setting the trail. Often the trail is continuous with breaks at checks starting again at some distance down the trail.
'Dead' where the trail is laid out in advance and marked in whatever the local style is; chalk, toilet paper tied in hedges, etc.. as long as you tell the pack what it is. The hare then has the option of running with the pack to look after the back markers..or if supremely confident.. waiting in the pub til everyone gets back.
Some mark with flour with a circle to show the check point and a F to show a false trail. Some use an X in a circle to show a check-back. Often there is a heap at the check point so that the correct route can be linked in by kicking through in the on-on direction and when found so the backmarkers don't lose the trail.
The trail can be through town streets, parks, out in the country and along footpaths and such, through streams, across fields so deep in mud that you sink to you thighs or from one bar to the next. It can be a short amble or a six miler or more.
but not all , indulge in post exercise merriment administered by a member of the hash heirarchy known as the Religious Advisor. This could range from being forced to drink a measure quickly from a new running shoe to chugging a yard of ale for running too quickly or short cutting too effectively or even for turning up on time.
The original 'circle' reason will have been to confirm that those who went out on trail have returned - especially important where the trail was through forest or jungle.
The purpose of the hash event is generally to be social.