San Diego Magazine
September 1989

Hashing It Up



Hashing it Up

San Diego Magazine
September 1989, pp 42
By Judith C. Williamson

Perhaps you've seen them: On a dark night in December, as you drove down Park Avenue, scores of runners (all brandishing flashlights) appeared from nowhere and swarmed down into Balboa Park's trail-less canyons. Or, on a lazy Friday evening in June, when more than 100 runners – all in full Hawaiian regalia – stormed past you in downtown P.B.

They're the Hash House Harriers, and they've been staging more than 50 years. Local Hashers, active here for more than a decade, base their runs (loosely) on a hounds and hares-style cross-country chase and are usually in costume. Despite their unlikely public displays, they've kept a surprisingly low profile.

Not anymore. A recent annual “Interhash” united many hundreds of enthusiastic Hashers, from all over the globe, at the Omni Hotel. What with four days of nonstop running and revelry, 800 happy Hashers could not pass through this town unnoticed.

Hashers readily admit health is not their primary motivation – they run for fun and beer. Specifically, they run to a prearranged site where ample food and drink await. The chug-a-lug and chow-down finale is accompanied by amiable roasting of newcomers and general carousing.

Though Hashers are by definition noncompetitive, they are in fact a breed apart, delighting in unusually challenging routes and ever willing to boldly go where no one (sane) has ever gone before. A typical hash run stretches over a six- to eight-mile course, laid out by two “hares” who mark their trail with chalk or paper. Occasionally some of the “hounds” catch the hares. In some countries (not America) the hares must then complete the run san shorts.

Ready to hash? The San Diego Hash welcomes all comers.

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