“Drinkers with a running problem”, or “hashers”, make up the biggest running club on Earth. There are over 2,000 “kennels” (groups) spread out over all six continents.
There are no rules in the hash other than “you do not have to do anything you do not want to do” and “hashers not trashers”. There are, however, many traditions. These include singing silly (and sometimes extremely fucked up) songs, drinking out of your shoe, down-downs, etc.
When the kennel comes together to hash there are one or more, usually pre-selected, “hares”. The hare(s) run in front of the “pack” and lay trail. The pack tries to “snare the hare” (catch up) while not getting lost on trail. Trail is marked with chalk, flour, toilet paper, etc. You can use pretty much anything but we try to keep things clean (see the second rule above). Marking trail includes marks called a “hash” which is normally either a blob of flour or an X marked in chalk and a “checkpoint” which is normally a circle and means trail could be anywhere in 369 degrees. There are also “bad trail” marks (which means you need to go back to the last checkpoint and find the “true trail”), and a few others.
Here is a brief history of hashing. (All hail G)
It’s basically a scavenger hunt for beer (although yesterday the hares left a bottle of whiskey on trail. That was…interesting) and a way to socialize and have fun with like minded people without worrying that anything will go wrong.
My first hash was last July. My friend had been trying to get me to hash for months but I googled it (sometimes that’s a bad thing) and didn’t think it was my scene. I finally went and was extremely upset that I hadn’t been before. I jumped straight in and didn’t look back. During my first week of hashing I went to a hashy weekend with 50 strangers (and my friend). We ran five trails in three days. There was soju and bottle rockets and I think I was in a bra and running shorts the entire time. It was amazing.
One of my favourite things about hashing is that your life outside of hashing (your “muggle” or “nerd” life) doesn’t matter. When I hashed in Korea a new guy came in from DC. Said he used to work at the Pentagon and his name was Prairie Dog (everyone gets a nickname). That was that. No one asked questions. The next week during the change of command ceremony for the vice wing commander we all looked at each other and went, “isn’t that Prairie Dog??”. What happens at the hash stays at the hash (unless someone gets arrested or dead or an entire pack gets lost in the mountains of Guam) and what happens outside of it doesn’t matter in the hash.
This weekend eight or so people came to Italy from Germany to hash and go to Carnivale. Most of the group was 40+ and it included two married couples, one in their late 60’s. All respectable members of society (well. I guess that’s debatable but whatever). Everyone ran trail and drank beer all weekend and crashed in one house are now the Germany crew is headed home because we all have work tomorrow. Some partied less than others (me, me, pick me. I like sleep) but we all had a damn good time and met more awesome people.
As a hasher you have instant friends anywhere in the world. The first thing I did here was look up the hash. My now good friend Kim, who I had never met before, picked me up from my hotel and took me to trail. These are the kindest people, I swear. I have never met a hasher who wouldn’t give you a place to sleep, food to eat, beer to drink and even the shirt off their back (even outside of clothing exchange. Which is another mark you sometimes see on trail) if needed. Of course there are always exceptions, but I don’t know any.
There are even family friendly hashes where pop is provided and the songs aren’t raunchy.
As an introvert who cannot stand being around people constantly and needs to be alone frequently in order to re-energize, I would rather stuff myself in to a hostel with 50 other hashers for a week (or 500 others. Eurohash is a thing) than stay at home and watch Netflix. I never knew that there were people who could bring that out of me.
I love hashing.
If you would like to try hashing, you can find a kennel here.