Border Jumper Hash House Harriers

A Drinking Club With A Running Problem

The Hash Origin

Organization

The Hash House Harriers is a decentralized organization with each chapter, sometimes called a kennel, individually managed with no uniting organizational hierarchy (although the locations of national and international gatherings are decided by a meeting involving representatives from a number of hashes). A chapter's management is typically known as the MisManagement and consists of individuals with various duties and titles. There are more than 1,700 chapters spanning all seven continents. Most major cities are home to at least one chapter. Chapters typically contain between 20-100 members, usually mixed-sex, with some metropolitan area Hashes drawing more than 1,000 hashers to an event.

History

Hashing originated in December 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, then in the Federated Malay States (now Malaysia), when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or "Hare and Hounds", to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. The original members included, Albert Stephen (A.S.) Ignatius "G" Gispert, Cecil Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Ronald "Torch" Bennett and John Woodrow. A. S. Gispert is recognized as the Father of Hashing.[1]

After meeting for some months, they were informed by the Registrar of Societies that as a "group," they would require a Constitution and an official name. A. S. Gispert suggested the name "Hash House Harriers" after the Selangor Club Annex, where the men were billeted, known as the "Hash House" for its notoriously monotonous food. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and finding the trail, harriers reaching the end of the trail would be rewarded with beer, ginger beer and cigarettes.

The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is recorded on a club registration card dated 1950:

· 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 died out during World War II after the invasion of Malaya, but was re-started after the war by most of the original group, minus A. S. Gispert, who was killed on 11 February 1942 in the Japanese invasion of Singapore, an event commemorated by many chapters by an annual Gispert Memorial Run held on this day.

Apart from a "one-off" chapter formed on the Italian Riviera by Gus McKey, growth of Hashing remained small until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded a chapter in Singapore. The idea then spread through the Far East, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and North America, booming in popularity during the mid-1970s.

At present, there are almost two thousand chapters in all parts of the world, with members distributing newsletters, directories, and magazines and organizing regional and world Hashing events. As of 2003, there are even two organized chapters operating in Antarctica.[2]

Events

Most chapters gather on a weekly or monthly basis, though some events occur sporadically, e.g. February 29th, Friday the 13th, or a full moon.

At a Hash, one or more members (Hares) lay a trail, which is then followed by the remainder of the group (the Pack or Hounds). The trail often includes false trails, short cuts, dead ends, and splits. These features are designed to keep the pack together regardless of fitness level or running speed, as front-runners are forced to slow down to find the "true" trail, allowing stragglers to catch up.

Members often describe their group as "a drinking club with a running problem," indicating that the social element of an event is as important, if not more so, than any athleticism involved. Beer remains an integral part of a Hash, though the balance between running and drinking differs between chapters, with some groups placing more focus on socializing and others on running.

Generally, Hash events are open to the public and require no reservation or membership, but some may require a small fee, referred to as hashcash, to cover the costs incurred, such as food or drink.

The end of a trail is an opportunity to socialize, have a drink and observe any traditions of the individual chapter (see Traditions). When the Hash officially ends, many members may continue socializing at an On-After, On-Down or On-On-On, an event held at a nearby house, pub, or restaurant.

Special events

In addition to regularly-scheduled Hashes, a chapter may also organize other events or themed runs.

A common special event is the Red Dress Run, and is held annually by individual chapters. According to hasher lore, a newcomer in San Diego was invited to a hash; unbeknownst to her it was a running group, and she attended the run in a red dress instead of running clothes. After being mocked for wearing such an outfit she ran the trail anyway. Other hashers began wearing red dresses as a joke and the tradition soon became an annual event that spread across the world. The point of the run is that all participants (both sexes) don red dresses of various sorts. The Red Dress Run is typically the largest event organized by a chapter in a given year, with attendance topping 2,000 in San Diego, and 600 in Washington, D.C.. The largest Red Dress Run event is currently in New Orleans, with approximately 5,000 participants.[3]

Most chapters count the number of runs it has organized and uses round figures - run no. 100, 200, 777, 1000 etc. - as an opportunity for arranging a weekend with several runs and nightly celebrations.

 

 

 Variations

Bicycle hashes (bashes) follow normal hashing traditions with the hare and pack riding bicycles.

Family hashes welcome children (sometimes called Hash House Horrors) with soft drinks replacing alcoholic beverages and drinking songs toned down appropriately.

Trails

Hashing has not strayed far from its roots in Kuala Lumpur. The hare(s) mark their trail with paper, chalk, sawdust, or colored flour, depending on the environment and weather.

Special marks may be used to indicate a false trail, a backtrack, a shortcut, or a turn. The most commonly-used mark is a Check, indicating that hashers will have to search in any direction to find the continuation of the trail. Trails may contain a Beer Check, where the pack stops to consume beer, water, or snacks, allowing any stragglers to catch up to the group.

Trails may pass through any sort of terrain and hashers may run through back alleyways, residential areas, city streets, forests, swamps, or shopping malls and may climb fences, ford streams, explore storm drains or scale cliffs in their pursuit of the hare.

  Signals and terms

Hashers often carry horns or whistles to communicate with each other, in addition to verbal communication. Every Hash House employs its own set of marks and the names for these marks may vary widely, so newcomers or visitors will have the local markings explained to them before the run at a Chalk Talk. Additionally, the hares for that particular run may give some trail-specific advice, such as rare markings or particular obstacles.

  Trail types

There are two types of trails. Live Trails are laid by hares who are given a head start, while Dead Trails are pre-laid hours or days before the Hash begins. Live trails and dead trails are also known as Live Hare and Dead Hare trails, respectively. Live trails are closer to the original "Hare and Hound" tradition, with the intent of the pack being to catch the hare rather than making it to the end, and are more common in the United States, while the rest of the world tends toward dead trails.

A trail may be "A to A," where the trail returns to the start, or "A to B," where the beginning and end of the trail are widely separated. Some trails are referred to as "A to A1 (prime)", denoting an ending point that is close to (usually short walking distance), but not the same as the start.

Traditions

 

    Circles

Most hash events end with a group gathering known as the Circle, or less commonly as Religion. Led by chapter leadership, the Circle provides a time to socialize, sing drinking songs, recognize individuals, formally name members, or inform the group of pertinent news or upcoming events.

Circles may be led by the Chapter Grandmaster, the group's Religious Adviser, or by a committee.

 

 Down-downs

A down-down is a means of punishing, rewarding, or merely recognizing an individual for any action or behavior according to the customs or whims of the group.

Generally, the individual in question is asked to consume without pause the contents of his or her drinking vessel or risk pouring the remaining contents on his or her head. Individuals may be recognized for outstanding service, or for their status as a visitor or newcomer. Down-Downs also serve as punishment for misdemeanors real, imagined, or blatantly made up. Such transgressions may include: failing to stop at the beer check, pointing with a finger, or the use of real names. A special type of down-down is often reserved for hashers who wear new shoes to an event. The hasher is required to remove one shoe, which then serves as the vessel for the down-down. In some chapters the beer is further filtered through the accused's sock.

Many chapters include an ice seat or throne as part of the down-down ceremony. Those who are to consume a down-down sit on a large block of ice while they await the completion of the down-down song. If the offence that resulted in the down-down is particularly egregious, the hasher may be subjected to a long song with many verses. In some chapters the hasher must remove any attire that comes between his/her seat and the ice; others allow the hashers to keep their underwear on but require that the outer legwear be removed.

Hash names

In most chapters, the use of real names during an event is discouraged. Members are typically given a "hash name," usually in deference to a particularly notorious escapade, a personality trait, or their physical appearance. In some chapters the name must be earned - that is, hashers are not named until they've done something outstanding, unusual, or stupid enough to warrant a name. In other chapters the process is more mechanical and hashers are named after completing a certain number of events (5-10 being the most common).

Some chapters focus on "family-friendly" names (for example: Lost My Way); others focus on names filled with innuendo (for example: Salt Lick); and some go out of their way to make the name as bawdy, offensive, or politically incorrect as possible.

Those hashers who have not been named are generally referred to as "Just (Name)" or "No Name (Name)" (e.g., "No Name John").

Hashers are not permitted to give themselves nicknames due to the obvious conflict of interest. Hashers who do so are often renamed by the chapter at the earliest opportunity and with a more offensive name. Similarly, hashers who do get named and don't like their name may end up being renamed by their chapter, the members of whom may strive to give the complaining hasher an even more offensive or inappropriate name.

Symbols

The traditional symbol of hashing is the outline of a human foot,
often including the phrase "On-On."