The following article was
published in "Heads Up" - The Magazine of
Beer Drinkers of America, Vol. 8/ No. 1, Spring 1995,
Page 11. It is distributed here with the permission
of BDA President Bill Schreiber.
For membership information to
the "Beer Drinkers of America", please call
their headquarters in Sacramento, CA, at (916)
933-2337. Dues are around $10.00 a year and you get a
CHALLENGES RUNNERS WITH UNEXPECTED TWISTS AND TURNS
They're often called the
"drinking club with a serious running
problem". They run through cities, woods,
deserts, and mountains. They follow a trail of flour
and half the fun is getting lost. They're hashers and
they're closer than you think.
Hashing dates back to 1938.
Albert Stephan Gispert, a British military accountant
on duty in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, conceived the idea
to combat boredom while in the jungle. Patterned
after the British games of Hares and Hounds, hashing
combined running through the jungle with socializing
at the local pub or "hash house".
Today, there are close to 1,100
hash clubs in 157 countries around the world,
including the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Australia,
New Zealand, Tibet, and even Anarctica. Thousands of
men and women enjoy hashing and the chance for a
short run and down a cold beer (or some other
beverage if they prefer).
"Nobody's supposed to win
it," says long-time Chicago Hasher Jay Cook.
"The idea is to keep the pack together. The
attitude is there's no such thing as winning."
Hares Plan Trail
A typical hash run (if there is
such a thing) goes something like this: Hashers
follow a trail laid down by "hares"
selected by the group. The hares mark the trail by
leaving behind small piles of flour, chalk, or toilet
paper, depending on the terrain. The hares try to
make the terrain as confusing as possible by throwing
in wrong turns and dead ends. The hashers follow
later, usually laughing, singing, and shouting
hashing phrases, such as "On, On!" (meaning
they are on the trail) and "Are You"
(meaning they are looking for the trail). Clever
hares lead their "hounds" over and through
a variety of terrains, which might include (but is
certainly not limited to) city streets, swamplands,
shopping malls, river crossings, and jungles. One run
even led hashers through the Library of Congress.
Many hares seek to drag their pursuers through the
most "shaggy" or undesirable conditions as
possible. The goal: the more mud, scratches and
briars on your body at the end, the better the trail.
Hashes are usually broken up
into several segments, the most important being the
pre-run event, where runners can enjoy a cold beer
before the run, and the "down-down" or
social gathering at the end.
Hashing runs vary in length,
but usually fall between three and six miles. It's
also important to note that not all hashers are
serious runners. Everyone is welcome to the hash
regardless of athletic ability.