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Date : 27th April, 2019
Time : 1h 13’ 31”
Number of runners (total to date) : 17 (3745)
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3601581963
I’ve been fortunate enough to run with Hash House Harriers in countries all round the world including Sierra Leone, Estonia, Antigua, St Kitts & Nevis, Azerbaijan and the Dominican Republic. There’ve been a lot of good times along the way and I was determined to run with hashers in London. So, when the chance came up to run with the London Hash in Enfield, I grabbed it.
But before we dive into what happened in Enfield, a little background may be in order.
Over the years I’ve become reasonably familiar with hashing but I know its bit of a mystery for many people so here are the basics. A ‘hare’ goes out in advance and lays a trail. In our case the trail was marked by handfuls of sawdust and occasional chalk arrow. The hashers then run or walk the trail.
For a lot of the time the trail is relatively easy to follow – helped by runners shouting ‘On, on!’ when they pass markers. However, every so often you come to a check point where you have to cast around for the next trail marker. This is both good fun in its own right and also creates time for the ‘pack’ to catch up with the FRBs (Front Running Bastards).
And when you do pick up trail, you have to hope it doesn’t turn out to be a dreaded FT (False Trail)
which involves retracing your steps and searching for the correct route.
There are probably two more things you need to know about the HHH before I get on with the blog. Firstly, they describe themselves as ‘a drinking club with a running problem’. From which you’ll gather that the social side of hashing is important.
Secondly, after a qualifying period, members are given a hash name. The names will usually reflect something the individual has said or done and will range from the amusing to the bawdy. (I’ve never met a hasher who was anything other than friendly and welcoming but it’s perhaps worth noting that, while many hashes are family friendly, some are a little naughtier in nature.)
Right, here endeth the lesson. Time to get on with the blog. (Pls see below for more on hashing and its history).
We met in a pub (obvs) – the Cock Inn near Cockfosters – where Grand Master Chi Su
narrated a quick history of the London Hash.
We then went outside for a briefing by Lofty, the hare for the day, and set off for nearby Trent Park.
Lofty had set a great trail that entered the park near the Southgate hockey club and meandered round Trent Park through wooded areas and formal gardens, past grand houses (one of which housed high ranking Nazi prisoners during the war in an effort to win their cooperation – apparently it worked)
and many a fine view.
Including the distance spent searching at check points, and a false trail, we’d covered 9.6 km by the time we got back to the Cock.
I nipped off to do my remaining 400m then joined the others in the pub.
Unfortunately family life, and an ill-judged bit of scheduling regarding a tennis game, meant that I couldn’t stay on long enough for the post run circle. Which is a shame as I suspect I might have won the Hashit – an offensive or embarrassing object given to a hasher for notable on-trail accomplishments. (My ‘accomplishment’ having been to announce that we’d lost the markers. Only for a hasher to suggest that I might like to look down at my feet as I was standing on one…)
Thank you Chi Su, Lofty and all my fellow runners/ walkers. That was excellent fun and I hope to be back with you in another borough in the not too distant future.
If any of you can make it, then I’d love to see you in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!
If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11
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A Brief History of Hashing
As hashing involves:
a) Copious amounts of drinking;
b) Silly names; and
c) Romping around in the great outdoors
it may not come as a great surprise to hear that it originated amongst a group of British expats (in 1938 in Malaysia).
Their earliest recorded objectives were to :
- To promote physical fitness among our members
- To get rid of weekend hangovers
- To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
- To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
Hashing has subsequently spread well beyond the expat world and you’ll find a great mix of locals and nationalities from all around the world at hash clubs. Spread to the extent that its estimated that there are about 2000 chapters and tens of thousands of hashers around the world. Hashes are open to everyone and, in my experience, they’re extremely welcoming to outsiders.