Get ready to be intrigued, shocked and turned onto a new style of running. It's called hash running and it may seem idiotic, but by the time you finish this post, you're going to want to try it.
What is hashing? Hashing goes back to 1938 in Malaysia when groups of British colonial officers and expatiates would meet in the evenings to run in a style that mimicked the traditional British paper chase or "hare and hounds," to help them recover from their debauchery of the previous weekend. Coined the "Hash House," which was the name of where the original hashers lived and dined, these men became the "Hash House Harriers." After the end of World War II, they registered as group. As recorded in 1950, the objective of the Hash House Harriers was to:
Promote physical fitness among its members
To get rid of weekend hangovers
To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it with beer
To persuade the older members that they were not as old as they felt.
Are you game? The modern day version of hashing is pretty much the same. You have the "hare" that runs ahead of the group and throws down flour or uses chalk to give directions while the rest of the group follows the cryptic messages. Special marks are used to identify a false trail, a backtrack or turns (yes, this is done intentionally and yes, you're going to get lost). The most common used mark is a check mark to indidicate that hashers will have to search in any direction to find the rest of the trail. It may also contain a beer check where the pack stops to partake in a few adult beverages, water or snacks and give stragglers a chance to catch up.
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. It may also be "A to A" (starting and returning to the same place) or "A to B" (where the beginning and end are separated). However, I've been told that alcohol is at the end of every run. As someone explained, "It's for drinkers with a running problem."
This isn't for the fraidy cats. You will have no idea where you are going. You're going to make a wrong turn. And you won't know what the distance will be. Be ready for an adventure. It's definitely a very different way to shaking up your run routine.
I was introduced to hashing randomly in Atlanta, but with more research I found that this takes place all of the country. Just google "Hash House Harriers + [your city] and you can find a group near you. At first I was like "No way would I ever do this!!"But with the right group of peeps and a little bit of courage, I think I'm going to give it a try!
Have you heard of hashing? Have you done it? We want to know what you think!!
Information gathered from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers