run not an easy feat
around state come to Chapel Hill for race that tests
runners' cooperation - and their livers.
The Chapel Hill
January 28, 1998
By Patrick O'Neill, Correspondent
HILL - A steady, chilly drizzle was falling
last Saturday afternoon. It was a perfect day to be
conditions, however, seemed almost inviting to the
odd looking, hardy bunch of almost 50 people, many of
whom were dressed in running shorts, gathered in
front of the Morehead Planetarium readying themselves
for a unique running/drinking experience.
A few minutes
after 3 p.m., Dr. Luke Lucas, a University of North
Carolina medical school professor, gives the rowdy
group some instructions. Lucas is the
"hare" of today's Tar Heel Hash House
Harriers run, an event that combines running,
orienteering and, most importantly, beer drinking.
hashing veteran, laid Sunday's trail, a most
difficult run that will take the pack (harriers) over
hill and dale, through various pricy Chapel Hill
neighborhoods and all over the UNC campus - including
the parking garage below Davis Library.
objective is to give people a chance to have fun and
get lost," Lucas said. "The general spirit
of this thing is to make sure everybody's tired when
they get back and has worked up a thirst for beer.
That's the definition of a hash."
definitions of a hash abound. "A drinking club
with a running problem," is what Jim Rider
(a.k.a. Topsail Gospel) likes to call the hash. Rider
is a veteran of close to 1,000 hash runs.
In truth, the
hash is difficult to sum up in a sentence or two.
Imagine the worst aspects of Animal House, the 1970s
John Belushi movie about a college fraternity, and
combine that with runners who get drunk and sing very
badly as a group.
instructions, the group takes off running. Two women
have brought their dogs on the hash. Lukas and Bill
Vann have laid a trail in advance. The pack heads
through campus following a trail that's marked by
small dollups of flour. When the pack reaches a large
X [it means checkpoint] on the trail the "true
trail" is no longer straight ahead.
get to a check there could be any or many trails
leading in different directions from there,"
Lucas said. "Only one is the correct trail,
At each check
point, runners usually cooperate and head off in
several directions to find the true trail. This makes
life more pleasant for the slower runners who can
reap the benefits of the faster runners who usually
find the correct trail through trial and error and do
so just as the slower runners catch up.
When the true
trail is found, runners yell, "on-on" to
alert the pack. The local hash is comprised mostly of
runners connected to the Godiva Track Club, a local
club with members from Orange and Durham counties.
Many hashers have what's known as a hash name, an
alias that is usually disparaging. The hash name is
usually given after the hasher tells his or her
"most embarrassing moment" story.
On Sunday, the
Tar Heel Hash played host to a group of about a dozen
hashers who have driven 90 miles from Fayetteville.
The Fayetteville group, who go by the name
"Carolina Trash," is perhaps the state's
most infamous group. Raunchy and rowdy, the
Fayetteville Trashers epitomize political
incorrectness and exhibit a complete disregard for
social mores and common decency. And they're proud of
Just ask Lisa
Michaels (a.k.a. Dicktaphone). Michaels, a student
and single mother with two children, says it's
typical in Fayetteville for the hares to sit on bags
of ice with their bare behinds exposed to the cold
while being serenaded by fellow hashers.
The hares just
"pull their pants down a little bit,"
Michaels said. "You don't have to. There's no
pressure to do that of course." Oh sure.
the Trashers are "like a dysfunctional
family." And the name Dicktatphone?
"I talk a
lot and the Hash enjoys the double-entendre,"
Michaels said. Also a member of the Carolina Trash is
UNC student Pat Shields (a.k.a. Teats de Swamp).
Shields proudly tells the story of how she got her
name. One day she spotted the pack on the other side
of a swampy field and she pulled up her shirt and
flashed them. For about 90 minutes the hash course
takes runners on a tour of town that is quite
unusual. When the trail passes in the area of the UNC
Tennis Center, the runners find themselves sinking in
mud, jumping rocky creeks and plodding in several
inches of cold water, conditions that Gene Casale
(Mutant Gene) calls "shiggy."
scientist who has a Ph.D. from UNC, Casale has been
hashing locally for more than 10 years. Casale, a
fast runner, can be counted on to find the true trail
after a check point. On Sunday, Casale didn't mind
climbing muddy embankments in search of flour
of the hash is to get back to the end and drink the
beer that you brought," Casale said. "I
will not miss hashes if I'm in town. It's too much
Casale said he
especially appreciates the cooperative aspect of
hashing, not a common occurrence in other running
venues. When he spots some runners taking a shortcut
to the true trail, Casale yells: "Short-cutting
The Tar Heel
Hash was founded in 1982 by Durham's Paul Naylor
(a.k.a. Major Major), a former Army officer who
brought the hash with him from Washington, D.C.
Naylor said the
first hash was founded in 1937 in Kuala Lumpur,
capital of Malaysia, by British ex-patriots who would
drink all weekend and run on Mondays to get back into
found that running wasn't so much fun so they added
the old hare and hounds game," Naylor said.
"The mess hall was called the hash house, a
place where they sling hash."
Naylor said he
doesn't leave home without his international hash
directory so he can join hashes when he's visiting
other cities. Like many of the Tar Heel Hashers,
Naylor frequently joins the Sir Walter Hash in
hundreds and hundreds of hash chapters all over the
world," Naylor said.
At a water stop
about an hour into the run, the hashers form a large
circle in a field and sing an obscene song that is
loaded with sexually explicit language that is
accompanied by hand gestures and body movements. It's
not for shrinking violets.
When the hash
finally ends back at Morehead Planetarium,
participants are muddy, soaking wet and ready to head
for the Henderson Street Bar & Grill, where the
Fayetteville group leads the singing as participants
do "down-downs." A down-down is when a
hasher chugs a beer (while being serenaded of course)
and pours whatever isn't chugged over his or her
"the more intelligent and sedate group is the
Tar Heel Hash." Uh-huh. "If you've got half
a mind to run a hash, that's all it takes,"