Nelson County Times
May 1, 1997

Hashing? They Do It As Often As Possible

Hashing? They do it as often as possible

Nelson County Times
by Jim Manner

More than 60 runners descended on Crabtree Falls National Park Saturday, equipped with running shoes and their own lingo. They converged from at least four different states and indulged themselves in the annual Hash House Harriers run.

The outing was a crossbreed of social activity and ritual steeped in tradition. Voices lifted in song at specific instances - festive sings with off-color lyrics - and each person was known by a "hash name."

"It's a great way to get a little exercise without worry about, 'Oh, I'm not fast enough to run with those guys,'" said hasher August Zumbuhl of Virginia Beach, who is known as "Coldcuts" to his hash friends.

"Hashing" - as the participants refer to the running event - was formed in 1938 by a detachment of the English military. The event was first held in the Malaysian city of Kuala Lampur and continues to have a strong military following.

Hashing is unique among running activities. Whereas other runs follow a specific course, hashing features challenging terrain and misleading trails.

"The whole thing is, a couple people are the hares and they lay a trail of flour and chalk," said Ed Howell of Quantico, also known as "Hazukashii" (Japanese for "bashful"). "They get a 15-minute headstart, and all the other people who are there are the pack ... and they follow the tracks."

There were true trails and false trails that branched from various intersections along the run. The true trail would span 4 to 6 miles from start to finish, but additional distances could be amassed by following false trails.

Howell specified that hashing does not derive its name from any type of drug involvement. A "hash house" was a 1930's term for a restaurant, where the runners would retreat after running the course.

Finding the 1990's version of a hash house in Montebello would entail more mileage than suffered during the run itself. This problem was remedied in part when Howell asked his mother-in-law, Barbara Otto of Montebello, to prepare a meal for the group of 60-plus runners.

And how many meals can a single women cook for 60-plus runners?

"Just one, thank God ... and I've been cooking for three weeks now," Otto said prior to the event.

"Down-downs" - form of celebration - are held after each run. This is a time to recognize runners who made a "significantly dumb act" during the event and honor longtime participants, according to "Party Favor" – Susan Jakuback of Hampton.

"There's a lot of socializing and a lot of partying," Jakubak said. "people get invited to attend, and they come back, and they come back, and they come back."

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