Stars and Stripes Pacific
March 22, 1990

It's Hash Heaven in the Philippines

It's 'Hash heaven' in the Philippines

Pacific Stars and Stripes
Sports Section
22 March 1990

MANILA (Stripes)

Coming from Memphis and Moscow, Baghdad and Brunei, more than 1,650 "Hashers" came to Manila last weekend for Interhash 1990, tagged the "world's biggest fun runs" by organizers.

For a dedicated "Hasher," being with so many comrades was a slice of paradise.  "This is like Hash heaven," said one American runner as he sprinted down a trail.   Around 50,000 "Hashers," including many U.S. military runners, belong to more than 800 Hash House Harriers clubs in 128 countries, according to Interhash joint Grand Master Rob Denny. 

The event, founded in 1938 by a group of expatriates in Malaysia, has boomed in the 1980s, with clubs starting in the United States and other areas outside Asia.   Denny, also Grand Master of the Angeles City Hash House, near Clark Air Base, said the lure of the event is not running but camaraderie and socializing that surrounds the Hash.

Even though "Hashers" came speaking a variety of languages, they were bound be commonly known Hash songs, vocabulary and traditions.   "It's amazing that with so many people of diverse political and cultural backgrounds drinking and carrying on, there was not a fight or disagreement," said John Theroux of Subic Bay Naval Station, Grand Master of the Olongapo City Hash House.  "It's the Hash spirit."

The Interhash is held every two years and is scheduled for Phuket, Thailand, in 1992.   A Hash race is based on a paper chase in which a "hare" lays a trail and the runners, or the "pack," follow.  False trails and checkpoints that change the direction of the run make it more difficult.   Denny said 23 Hash runs have been set Antarctica.  The 15th Himalayan Hash Trek to Nepal is this month.   Denny said close to 3,000 "Hashers" were expected but many canceled after the December coup attempt in Manila.

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