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A large-scale Hash.
A run of the Lima Hash House Harriers in Lunahuana, Perú.

The Hash House Harriers (abbreviated to HHH, H3, or referred to simply as Hashing) is an international group of non-competitive running, social and drinking clubs. An event organized by a club is known as a Hash or Hash Run, with participants calling themselves Hashers.

Contents

Organization

The Hash House Harriers is a decentralized organization with each chapter (sometimes called a Kennel) individually managed with no uniting organizational hierarchy (although the locations of national and international gatherings are decided by a meeting involving representatives from a number of hashes). A kennel's management is typically known as the MisManagement and consists of individuals with various duties and titles. There are more than 1,700 kennels spanning all seven continents. Most major cities are home to at least one chapter. Kennels typically contain 20-100 members, usually mixed-sex and some metropolitan area Hashes can draw more than 1,000 hashers to an event.

History

Hashing originated in December 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, then in the Federated Malay States (now Malaysia), when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or "Hare and Hounds", to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. The original members included , Albert Stephen (A.S.) Ignatius "G" Gispert, Cecil Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Ronald "Torch" Bennett and John Woodrow. A. S. Gispert is recognised as the Father of Hashing.[1]

After meeting for some months, they were informed by the Registrar of Societies that as a "group," they would require a Constitution and an official name. A. S. Gispert suggested the name "Hash House Harriers" after the Selangor Club Annex, where the men were billeted, known as the "Hash House" for its notoriously monotonous food. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and finding the trail, harriers reaching the end of the trail would be rewarded with beer, ginger beer and cigarettes.

The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is recorded on a club registration card dated 1950:

  • To promote physical fitness among our members
  • To get rid of weekend hangovers
  • To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
  • To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel

Hashing died out during World War II after the invasion of Malaya, but was re-started after the war by most of the original group, minus A. S. Gispert, who was killed on 11 February 1942 in the Japanese invasion of Singapore, an event commemorated by many kennels by an annual Gispert Memorial Run held on this day.

Apart from a "one-off" chapter formed on the Italian Riviera by Gus McKey, growth of Hashing remained small until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded a kennel in Singapore. The idea then spread through the Far East, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and North America, booming in popularity during the mid-1970s.

At present, there are almost two thousand kennels in all parts of the world, with members distributing newsletters, directories, and magazines and organizing regional and world Hashing events. As of 2003, there are even two organized kennels operating in Antarctica.[2]

Events

Most kennels gather on a weekly or monthly basis, though some events occur sporadically, e.g. February 29th, Friday the 13th, or a full moon.

At a Hash, one or more members (Hares) lay a trail, which is then followed by the remainder of the group (the Pack or Hounds). The trail often includes false trails, short cuts, dead ends, and splits. These features are designed to keep the pack together regardless of fitness level or running speed, as front-runners are forced to slow down to find the "true" trail, allowing stragglers to catch up.

Members often describe their group as "a drinking club with a running problem," indicating that the social element of an event is as important, if not more so, than any athleticism involved. Beer remains an integral part of a Hash, though the balance between running and drinking differs between kennels, with some groups placing more focus on socializing and others on running.

Generally, Hash events are open to the public and require no reservation or membership, but some may require a small fee, referred to as hashcash, to cover the costs incurred, such as food or drink.

The end of a trail is an opportunity to socialize, have a drink and observe any traditions of the individual kennel (see Traditions). When the Hash officially ends, many members may continue socializing at an On-After, On-Down or On-On-On, an event held at a nearby house, pub, or restaurant.

Special events

The first Red Dress Run in South America, held in Chaclacayo, Perú.

In addition to regularly-scheduled Hashes, a kennel may also organize other events or themed runs.

A common special event is the Red Dress Run, and is held annually by individual kennels. According to hasher lore, a newcomer in San Diego was invited to a hash; unbeknownst to her it was a running group, and she attended the run in a red dress instead of running clothes. After being mocked for wearing such an outfit she ran the trail anyway. Other hashers began wearing red dresses as a joke and the tradition soon became an annual event that spread across the world. The point of the run is that all participants (both sexes) don red dresses of various sorts. The Red Dress Run is typically the largest event organized by a kennel in a given year, with attendance topping 2,000 in San Diego, and 600 in Washington, D.C.. The largest Red Dress Run event is currently in New Orleans, with approximately 5,000 participants.[3]

Red Dress Runs are traditionally used as charity fundraisers, although the hash itself is not per se a charitable body.

Most kennels count the number of runs it has organised and uses round figures - run no. 100, 200, 777, 1000 etc. - as an opportunity for arranging a weekend with several runs and nightly celebrations.

Variations

  • Bicycle hashes (bashes) follow normal hashing traditions with the hare and pack riding bicycles.
  • Family hashes welcome children (sometimes called Hash House Horrors) with soft drinks replacing alcoholic beverages and drinking songs toned down appropriately.

Trails

Hashing has not strayed far from its roots in Kuala Lumpur. The hare(s) mark their trail with paper, chalk, sawdust, or colored flour, depending on the environment and weather.

Special marks may be used to indicate a false trail, a backtrack, a shortcut, or a turn. The most commonly-used mark is a Check, indicating that hashers will have to search in any direction to find the continuation of the trail. Trails may contain a Beer Check, where the pack stops to consume beer, water, or snacks, allowing any stragglers to catch up to the group.

Trails may pass through any sort of terrain and hashers may run through back alleyways, residential areas, city streets, forests, swamps, or shopping malls and may climb fences, ford streams, explore storm drains or scale cliffs in their pursuit of the hare.

Signals and terms

Hashers often carry horns or whistles to communicate with each other, in addition to verbal communication. Every Hash House employs its own set of marks and the names for these marks may vary widely, so newcomers or visitors will have the local markings explained to them before the run at a Chalk Talk. Additionally, the hares for that particular run may give some trail-specific advice, such as rare markings or particular obstacles.

Trail types

There are two types of trails. Live Trails are laid by hares who are given a head start, while Dead Trails are pre-laid hours or days before the Hash begins. Live trails and dead trails are also known as Live Hare and Dead Hare trails, respectively. Live trails are closer to the original "Hare and Hound" tradition, with the intent of the pack being to catch the hare rather than making it to the end, and are more common in the United States, while the rest of the world tends toward dead trails.

A trail may be "A to A," where the trail returns to the start, or "A to B," where the beginning and end of the trail are widely separated. Some trails are referred to as "A to A1 (prime)", denoting an ending point that is close to (usually short walking distance), but not the same as the start.

Traditions

Circles

Most hash events end with a group gathering known as the Circle, or less commonly as Religion. Led by kennel leadership, the Circle provides a time to socialize, sing drinking songs, recognize individuals, formally name members, or inform the group of pertinent news or upcoming events.

Circles may be led by the Kennel Grandmaster, the group's Religious Adviser, or by a committee.

Down-downs

A down-down is a means of punishing, rewarding, or merely recognizing an individual for any action or behavior according to the customs or whims of the group. Generally, the individual in question is asked to consume without pause the contents of his or her drinking vessel or risk pouring the remaining contents on his or her head. Individuals may be recognized for outstanding service, or for their status as a visitor or newcomer. Down-Downs also serve as punishment for misdemeanors real, imagined, or blatantly made up. Such transgressions may include: failing to stop at the beer check, pointing with a finger, or the use of real names.

A special type of down-down is often reserved for hashers who wear new shoes to an event. The hasher is required to remove one shoe, which then serves as the vessel for the down-down. In some kennels the beer is further filtered through the accused's sock.

Many kennels include an ice seat or throne as part of the down-down ceremony. Those who are to consume a down-down sit on a large block of ice while they await the completion of the down-down song. If the offense that resulted in the down-down is particularly egregious, the hasher may be subjected to a long song with many verses. In some kennels the hasher must remove any attire that comes between his/her seat and the ice; others allow the hashers to keep their underwear on but require that the outer legwear be removed.

Hash names

In most kennels, the use of real names during an event is discouraged. Members are typically given a "hash name," usually in deference to a particularly notorious escapade, a personality trait, or their physical appearance. In some kennels the name must be earned - that is, hashers are not named until they've done something outstanding, unusual, or stupid enough to warrant a name. In other kennels the process is more mechanical and hashers are named after completing a certain number of events (5-10 being the most common).

Some kennels focus on "family-friendly" names (for example: Lost My Way); others focus on names filled with innuendo (for example: Salt Lick); and some go out of their way to make the name as bawdy, scatological, or offensive as possible. Many kennels go out of their way to give politically incorrect names.

Those hashers who have not been named are generally referred to as "Just (Name)" or "No Name (Name)" (e.g., "No Name John").

Hashers are not permitted to give themselves nicknames due to the obvious conflict of interest. Hashers who do so are often renamed by the kennel at the earliest opportunity and with a more offensive name. Similarly, hashers who do get named and don't like their name may end up being renamed by their kennel, the members of whom will strive to give the complaining hasher an even more offensive or inappropriate name.

Symbols

The traditional symbol of hashing is the outline of a human foot, often including the phrase "On-On."

Terms

"Are You?" (RU?) Question shouted by the pack to FRBs, meaning "Are you on the trail?"
Back check Trail mark indicating that back tracking is necessary in order to find the true trail because the true trail branches off prior to the check mark
Back hare/Sweep hare/Sweeper/checking chicken Hare who remains with the last runners
Bash Bicycle Hash
Beer Check Beverage stop or trail mark indicating a beverage stop
Beermeister/master The person that supplies the beer, soda, water, and chips for the hash
Check Trail mark indicating the true trail must be sought out from the false trails.
Circle Assembly of hashers at trail's end, normally for the purpose of conducting down-downs
"Checking" Answer shouted by FRB to pack when asked "Are You?", indicating that FRB has not determined whether the trail he's following is true or false
DFL Dead Fucking Last, the last person to reach the On-in, opposite of FRB.
Down-Down The ceremony of quaffing a beverage (an honor)
False trail A short trail ended with the Tee sign, three lines, or other mark indicating termination
FRB Front-Running Bastard: faster members of the pack, or the first to arrive at the on-in.
Grand Master/Mistress (GM) Mismanagement member, ceremonial leader of the hash. This term is, in many hashes, given to the Hash Master/Mistress after his tenure.
Grand Mattress (GM) Synonym for Grand Mistress.
Haberdasher Mismanagement member in charge of T-shirts, hats, mementos, etc.
Hare Hasher who lays the trail.
Hare Raiser Mismanagement member in charge of lining up hares for future trails
Harriette Female hasher
Hash Cash Mismanagement member; the treasurer
Hash Flash Designated photographer for hash events
Hash Horn Mismanagement member; carries a horn or bugle on trail, blows it to encourage and guide the pack
Hash House The Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur, meeting place of the Mother Hash
Hash House Harrier/Harriette Any hasher
Hash Name Nickname, usually bestowed after a set number of runs or in honour of a notable incident; not used by all hashes.
Hash Trash Newsletter, usually with reports of previous hashes and a list of upcoming events.
Hash Shit Offensive or embarrassing object awarded to a hasher for notable on-trail accomplishments, normally carried by the awardee on subsequent trails until it is awarded to someone else.
Hashing The act of running a hash trail
Held/hold Check Trail mark indicating an intersection where true trail may take another direction, but requires hashers to wait until ordered by the hare to 'check it out'
Herd Name Real name
Horrors Children of hashers
Hounds The body of hashers in pursuit of the hare, see also Pack
Interhash World hash gathering
Kennel or Chapter Local Hash Group
JC Thorn bushes, cactus or other pain-inflicting vegetation. So called because hashers have a tendency to shout J***s Chr*** as they run through it.
Live Hare Hare who gets a nominal head start and is pursued by the pack as he or she lays trail
Mismanagement Hash officials; sometimes elected, sometimes appointed
Nash hash A national gathering of Hashers
"On Call" Shouted in response to "Are you" by a hashers to indicate that while they do not see any trail markings, they are following someone else's "On On" calls.
On In / On Inn Trail's end, also On-Inn; trail mark indicating proximity to end
"On On" Shouted by FRBs or hounds (or hashers) to indicate they are on true trail. Only shouted by a hasher to indicate they see true trail markings. See also "On Call"
On Sec Mismanagement member normally in charge of hash rosters, run records, etc
Puppies Children of hashers, see "Horrors"
Receding Hareline List of up-and-coming hash events, normally printed in the Hash Trash
Religious Advisor (RA) Mismanagement member, often in charge of Circle, also in charge of blessing the hash and settling disputes over tradition. Also considered to be responsible for the weather.
Scribe Mismanagement member normally in charge of writing The Words
SCB Short-Cutting Bastard: habitual short-cutter
Shiggy Thick vegetation, streams, etc; especially mud. See also Vertical Shiggy.
Sweeper see Back hare
Virgin Hash newbie; first-time hasher.

International events

There are several international events, where hashers from different groups get together to run and socialize, but the most famous is the biennial Interhash, where hashers from around the world gather. The 2006 InterhashChiang Mai, offered supporting runs in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and South West China.

In addition to Interhash, there are also many regional and continental hash events, such as the InterAmericas, InterAfrica, InterGulf, InterScandi, EuroHash, and PanAsia. National hash events, or Nash Hashes, primarily bring together hashers from one particular nation, although visitors from other countries are actively welcomed.

References

External links








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