Hash House Harrier roots
extend back to the old English schoolboy game of "Hares and Hounds," in
which some players, called "hounds," chase others, called "hares," who
have left a trail of paper scraps along their route across fields,
hedges, streams, bogs, and hills. One of the earliest Hares and Hounds
events on record was the "Crick Run" at Rugby School in Warwickshire,
England, first held in 1837.
Hare and Hounds as an
adult sport began in the fall of 1867 with a group of London oarsmen
who wanted to keep fit during the winter. Also called "Paper Chasing"
or the "Paper Chase," the game became very popular after its
introduction on Wimbledon Common in 1868 by the Thames Hare and Hounds.
Early clubs called themselves "Hare and Hounds" or simply "Harriers."
Words From a Founder
From the Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers 1500th Run Pamphlet, June 23rd
The Hash House Harriers were founded in a moment of post-prandial
inspiration at the Selangor Club Chambers, about 1937/38, by the inmates,
who included myself; E.J. Galvin, Malay Mail; H.M. Doig (H&C - killed in an
air crash just before the Japanese War); and A.S. Gispert of Evatt & Co.
Gispert was the real founder - a man of great wit and charm, who was killed
only just returned from leave in Australia to rejoin the Volunteers. I am
glad of this opportunity to salute his memory. He was a splendid fellow, and
would be happy to know the Harriers are still going strong, and are as merry
and bright as ever - or more so. Gispert was not an athlete, and stress was
laid as much on the subsequent refreshment, etc., as on the pure and austere
running. It was non-competitive, and abounded in slow-packs. Life was then
conservative rather than competitive.
The name was a mock allusion to the institution that housed and fed us.
Later, Torch Bennett returned from leave, and produced order out of chaos -
a bank account, balance sheet, and some system. But we prided ourselves on
being rather disorganised - or the minimum organisation sufficed. The
original joint maters were myself and "Horse" Thompson, still running
somewhere - a past-master at short-cuts and the conservation of energy.
Celebrations were held in various places, and the first was in what is now
the Legislative Council, then the Volunteer Mess. The oratory, I recall, was
much the same as now. Lew Davidson is an old member. Morris Edgar was one,
but apart from Lew and John Wyatt-Smith I do not think there are any more
ante-diluvians still running. Philip Wickens was also one who kept us going
We started up again after the War due to Torch Bennett, who discovered a
Bank Balance and put in a claim for War Damage on one tin bath, and two
dozen mugs, and possibly two old bags (not members). We started by a small
run in reduced circumstances round the race-course - then the horses were
not much better.
The Emergency cramped our style but did not diminish our activities, and we
were even called in for information on various by-ways in Selangor, but our
period of usefulness to MI 5 was brief, and our information probably otiose.
But the hares ran into two bandits at Cheras, who were later copped.
An Irish Accountant, Kennedy, drew up the Rules when we had to register as a
Club, and he seems to have preserved the old traditions just as you do now.
Cecil H. Lee
Selamat Tinggal HHH
24th October 1958
Mystique of the Hash
What is it about hashing that
casts its spell over us and feeds our addiction? Hashing is, after all,
a weird aberration in the world of recreational running. I raise the
question, rhetorically, because curious people ask about it. They don't
understand what it is that makes mature adults participate in an
activity where the downsides and hazards seem so obvious. They wonder
why we seem to abuse our bodies and risk our necks by running through
inhospitable terrain. Thickets clogged with thorns poised to shred the
skin of our legs. Venues burgeoning with poison ivy, ticks, bees, and
whatever creepy-crawly thing that may be endemic to a particular corner
of the world. Why do we choose to run up and down steep and often
slippery trails filled with rocks and roots? What sadistic impulse
drives the hares to lay trails that make us climb over and through
Cyclone fences and barbed wire, slosh through streams and swampland rich
in sneaker-sucking mud? What defects in our collective character allow
us to trespass on farmland, private estates, golf courses, or cause
security guards to get their undies in a bunch when we saunter through
shopping malls? Why do we court disaster by feeling our way through
dark, water-filled culverts and tootling along stretches of railroad
tracks? People wonder how men and women . . . especially men . . . can
reconcile themselves to a degree of shamelessness that allows them to
participate in a huge slice of lunacy called a "Red Dress Run." Who were
the warped minds that conjured up an event in which free spirits reign
supreme and the masses, garishly decked out in red dresses, careen
around crowded business districts in cities throughout the world yelling
inanities like "On, On!" or just screeching like banshees. And if we're
really lucky, all of this neat stuff might go on during a thunderstorm,
a blizzard, or in the dark of night.
Our favored response is to tell these perplexed mortals, "We're a
drinking club with a running problem!" It really is a pretty cute
rejoinder that often elicits a broad smile and maybe a shout of approval
. . . but it's also misleading and it doesn't always turn out to be the
perfect little snappy remark we want it to be. To some onlookers it is a
validation of their moral indignation. There's something scandalous
about a bizarre behavior being displayed by a bunch of freaky people.
People so deficient in basic "family values" that they let themselves
get caught up in a wave of mob psychology which makes it okay to be seen
as offensive or infantile. The misleading part is the inherent
suggestion that hashers are a bunch of boozers. Not so. Emphatically,
not so! One of the wonderful things about hashers is their unstated and
unspoken resolve to never put pressure on anyone to use alcoholic
beverages. It is clearly understood that some people prefer not to use
alcohol. They don't like it, or health considerations rule it out. These
hashers are accorded total respect. We don't even joke about it.
Sometimes our response to anal-retentive mentalities derives from the
oft-stated conviction that says, "If you're talking to a hasher, you
don't need to explain your addiction. If you're talking to a non-hasher,
you can't explain it." I don't think so. We find easy comfort in this
answer, but it's a little too trite. Too smug. It's a cop-out. I think
we can give people answers that will make sense to them. Some of them
may even decide to give hashing a try.
Here then is one hasher's attempt to gather some bits and pieces of
what may eventually evolve into a definitive apologetic. There is no
rationale for the order of the topics as presented. No progression from
trivial to powerful---just a bunch of reasons supporting the Hash House
Harrier mystique in a way that may help outsiders get a better notion of
what it's all about. It's not enough to say that it's all about fun and
fitness. A lot of running clubs feature that slogan and, in a sense, it
says it all and it makes an important statement to the effect that our
passion is not necessarily related to competition, winning, or ego
inflation. Paradoxically, however, it says nothing at all until we get
into some details to explain what we mean by "fun" and how do we
experience a joie de vivre you just can't get with treadmills
and barbells. Oh, yes, the fitness gym has its place, but while the "no
pain, no gain" mentality arguably sucks, it does work and it requires no
explanation. Hashing, by contrast, is an alternative to the world of
grunting, stinking, sweating bodies holed up in a jungle of steel
contraptions. Hashing leads to a different level of fitness that
contributes to the soundness of body in a less aggressive way. We can
replace the grimace with a smile as the hashers' way to fitness takes us
into an environment filled with the sounds, sights, and smells of
Men and women of all ages regularly savor the joy of a group activity
that takes us bounding over trails through forests, along (and often
into) ponds and rivers. over high meadows, and even over patches of
asphalt. The variety of locales is wonderful, too. Hardly ever do we run
old trails in familiar places. The noncompetitive aspect of hashing is a
joyful release from the oval track, stop watches, and finishing chutes
of the good old 10 K road race. Of course we find fun and camaraderie at
the road races, too. Lots of hashers are avid road racers and there is no
reason for hashing and road racing to be an either/or choice. The
road race has its rewards: another T-shirt (like you only have 250 and
you need more), medals, trophies, adulation (if you're an "elite"
runner), or just a huge sense of accomplishment if you've covered the
whole 26 miles of a marathon.
Hash rewards, however, include a higher level of camaraderie that can
only exist among close friends. Mutually shared expressions of warmth
and affection doled out with hugs and smiles that extend naturally
beyond the hash event. We enjoy getting together for non-running social
events, too. Periodically, hashers will gather for a trip to the
seashore or the mountains, a dinner together at an exotic restaurant, an
entertainment event like a ballgame or a concert, or maybe just meeting
together for a happy hour at a local brewpub and celebrate someone's
birthday. Our occasional T-shirt is usually an item we buy to celebrate
a special hash event, like a red dress tun. The only tangible award we
can offer is a mug of beer to the "winners" of a hash. Toward that end,
we bring a characteristically perverse humor by presenting our "awards"
to the hares who volunteered to host the hash and lay the trail,
short-cutters, front-runners, visitors, and new hashers (referred to as
"Cherries", "Virgins" or "New Boots"). The "award ceremony" is like
nothing else. The eating and drinking climax to our physical exertions
is called an "apres" in which our designated "religious
advisor," striving for a high level of refreshing irreverence, leads us
in the singing of appropriately raunchy tunes.
The variety of personalities that constitute a regional hash are
quite amazing. And it's not only the individual hashers---the hash, as
an entity, is likely to have a personality. Some hash units are more
party oriented rather than being gung-ho for running. In a light-hearted
way, they display their mock disdain for hard running by using the word
"run" as though it were an obscenity. They're also quick to jokingly
ridicule any hashers daring to wear T-shirts from road races. Such
blasphemy will surely earn them a down-down at the apres. Other
hash units are composed of many serious runners who thirst after
physically daunting trails. They may even manage to create some kind of
competitive twist to the event. Apparently, the primal forces of our
human nature will cause the competitive fire to burn in contradiction of
the hash mentality. Some hashers love to sing. The raunchier the lyrics,
the better. And many hash units embrace the whole spectrum of
But back to the individuals because here is where we have something
special in the social interaction of all kinds of men and women. What is
wonderful about it, and what is something of a unique hash phenomenon,
is the total, unquestioning acceptance that hashers have for each other.
People do not come to a hash with agendas that include a need to impress
others with how important, or rich, or how smart they are. Nobody cares
if you're a plumber, stockbroker, big shot executive, tax collector
(well, that might create some negative disposition), lawyer (with a high
tolerance for nasty jokes), salesperson, chemistry prof (they're the
worst kind), or whatever. Criteria for acceptance into hash events are
simply a few bucks to pay for food and drink, a love of adventure
running on trails, and a zest for partying that is likely to be on the
"R-rated" side (ed - see this month's Ask Dr. Down-Down
With regard to attitudes and philosophies, the hash is typically a
land of diversity: Conservatives and liberals, religious types,
irreverent characters, party animals as well as quiet loners, and some
people who drift in who are right off the wall. But these unique
personalities are fully accepted and we don't call them "weird." We
prefer to say that they are just "different," and the encompassing arms
of the hash will be long enough and strong enough to encompass
"different" people within our circle. One of the really delightful
things about hashing is the chance it affords us to react to the
smothering effect of political and social correctness. To be a rebel. To
leave, temporarily, our sheltered structures and directed work-a-day
worlds that are so filled with expectations and responsibilities. There
are no Rules in the hash universe. The hash is the time and place for
behavior based on a mock disrespect for genteel conventions and family
values. But it's all done in a spirit of fun, and that's why it works
and exists as a major part of the hash mystique. There's a lot of
tongue-in-cheek insulting that goes on. A kind of crude banter that
elicits smiles rather than hurt feelings. It is clearly understood that
teasing is just a light-hearted bit of fluff among people who have
profound respect and genuine affection for each other. It's the hash
style to kid people about mismanaging events, laying ugly trails, or
botching up whatever it is that somebody with a brain would do
correctly. Another characteristic of many hash groups throughout the
world is the special nickname that assembled hashers hang on a newly
inducted member. The age, gender, or lifestyle of the newcomer is
irrelevant. The scatological approach is basic to any flimsy pretext for
selecting a raunchy name for the victim. Resisting an inclination to
give some examples, it will be simply noted here that this singular
event allows the hash to cross the line separating decency from the
realm of poor taste and cruelty toward wildlife (i.e., hashers).
Of course, the world of the hash has its share of human imperfection.
Most of us will occasionally have that kind of day where we feel a
little grouchy and behave in a way that rubs somebody's fur the wrong
way. Where onr draws the line between good-natured taunting and crude
insult varies with people. Some folks can handle an unrestricted litany
of jokes and songs and always find the humor. But when you get into
jokes involving sexual orientation, toilet functions, race, ethnicity,
blondes, and lawyers, some people will feel deeply offended. What
distinguishes humor from poor taste and gross insensitivity will always
be perceived differently by different people. Personality conflicts are
another inevitability, but that's something we'll always have to live
with. What is great about the hash is the degree of harmony that seems
to have become one of the major characteristics of our remarkably
It is largely because of this spirit, this attitude, that the hash
movement has evolved into an unstructured but nevertheless international
affiliation. For example, it is absolutely fantastic how a hasher from
one part of the world can get on the Internet and hit on the web pages
of hashes thousands of miles away, then, choosing among the e-mail
addresses displayed, contact an officer of any foreign hash, introduce
himself and announce his plans to be there on such and such a date, and
ask if there's a local hasher who has enough room for him to crash for a
day or two so that he can hash with them. In the hash, the answer is
never No, it's always positive. There is a real sense of fraternity
among hashers throughout the world that opens doors and multiplies
Hockessin HHH, Deleware USA
Elements of a Hash
Basically a hash consists of three main parts, none of
which have anything to do with the marijuana or hashish:
The Run (aka Trail)
One or two hashers, called the hare(s), lay a trail. They mark their
trail with chalk arrows, shredded paper, flour, or pieces of toilet
paper hanging in the bush, depending on local tradition or terrain. They
might pre-lay trail a day or a few hours before the hash, or they might
lay the trail as "live hares," running ahead of the pack with only a
short (15 minutes is typical) head start. At a given signal, the rest of
the hash (the Harriers, Harriettes, hounds, or pack) set off in pursuit
of the trail. The idea is to keep the pack somewhat together and this is
achieved by setting false trails, cunning checks, and sneaky loops. The
fitter front runners will often run twice as far as the more slothful
members, yet still finish the run at the same time as the rest of the
pack. The length and difficulty of the run depends on the hare and the
terrain but will typically be between four and eight kilometers, or
about 45 minutes to an hour of running with checks, false trails, and
The Circle (aka Religion)
At trail's end hashers gather to drink beer and observe religious
ceremonies . . . which consist of drinking more beer, this time
ritualistically. Circles may be led by the hash Grandmaster, the
Religious Adviser, or by a committee of mismanagement. Traditions (and
the degree of rowdiness) vary from hash to hash, but in general the
Circle consists of awarding "Down-Downs" for misdemeanors real,
imagined, or blatantly made up, and the recipients will most likely have
been dobbed in by their fellow hashers. Visitors are always given a
Visitors Down-Down as are Virgins (first-time hash runners) and anyone
else who comes to the attention of the Circle. The Circle can last a
couple of minutes or half the night depending on the level of religious
fervor of the hash. With changing times drinking has lost some of its
importance and most clubs now modify their ceremonies to cater to
non-drinkers and those stupid enough to think that hashing can improve
The On-On (aka On-On-On, On-Afters, or Après)
Some hashes suspend ceremonies for awhile to consume food provided by
the hare(s). Other hashes, at the conclusion of the Circle, repair to a
nearby restaurant or pub. This is the social part of the hash, and the
party usually breaks up afterward. In some hashes, however, religion may
continue during or after On-Ons, with the telling of jokes and singing
of songs, and all members, visitors, and virgins should come armed with
at least one joke or song lest they be called upon.
- The above article originally written by Steve "Modess" Trinka
and stolen from the
Hunter HHH page
- Additional information on starting and conducting hashes can
be found at Harrier Net
From The Random House College Dictionary
1. a dish of diced or chopped meat, as of leftover
corned beef, potatoes, and sometimes vegetables sautéed in a frying
pan or of meat, potatoes, and carrots cooked together in gravy.
2. a mess, jumble, or muddle.
n., Slang. hashish. [by shortening] See note
- hash house, Slang.
a cheap short-order restaurant.
1. a person or thing that harries.
2. any of several accipitrine hawks of the genus
Circus that hunt over meadows and marshes.
1. one of a breed of medium sized hounds, used,
usually in packs in hunting [rabbits].
2. a cross-country runner. [special use of HARRIER2,
by assoc. with HARE AND HOUNDS]
- hare and hounds, an outdoor
game in which certain players, the hares, start off in advance on a
long run, scattering small pieces of paper, called the scent, with
other players, the hounds, following the trail so marked in an
effort to catch the hares before the reach a designated point.
Note: Definition HASH2
is not related in any manner to the Hash House Harriers.
This is unquestionably the most important position in the hash. The
Beermeister has the weighty responsibility of making sure that the lifeblood
of hashing is available at each and every hash event. He keeps constant
vigilance to find the cheapest spirituous fermenti available, always has
coolers in the trunk of his car, cases of beer in his garage, and reliably
returns the empty keg between the On-On and On-On-On. This job requires a
strong back and a weak mind.
The head man. The chairman of the board. The Big Cheese. The HMFIC. The
guiding light. The GM is not simply a figure head for the hash, rather he
personifies the hash’s character (or lack thereof.) He leads with a dynamic
strength that permeates the fabric of the organization. Both directly, and
through his officers, he gives inspiration, direction, and vision to all.
This position ranks only below Beermeister, Hash Cash, Hash Mouth, and Hash
Flash in real importance to the hash.
The Hare Raiser makes sure that there a hare (or hares) for each hash, and
that the start location is known to the On-Sec well in advance of hash day
for publicity purposes. The Hare Raiser IS the hare if (s)he can’t find
anyone else to do it.
The holder of the purse-strings. Someone needs to dash about the start of
each hash begging for money. Someone has to keep track of what comes in and
what goes out (commonly referred to as "the old in and out.") These
generally unappreciated duties fall on the shoulders of the Hash Cash. This
trustworthy soul must withstand the whining of the Hares who have
over-spent, the whimpering of those who forgot their fees, and the
interrogations of those who mistakenly think there should be some sort of
accounting for hash funds. The Hash Cash also acts as Hash Haberdasher,
procuring and selling items of apparel to the hash.
The person who captures on film for posterity all embarrassing hash moments.
The hash flash must have an acute sense of the absurd to know what to take
photos of, and also a small degree of reliability to bring a camera, film,
take pictures, have them developed, and put only the finest thereof into the
sacred photo album.
This is arguably the most complicated position within the hash hierarchy.
The responsibility surrounds custody of a large card-board box filled with
the flotsam and jetsam of past hashes. Precisely why this crap is retained
is a mystery shrouded in the mythology of hashdom. However, the hashit
itself rarely makes it to the hash, although the custodian is almost always
there himself. This reinforces the argument that remembering to bring the
hashit is probably beyond the cognitive ability of your average hasher.
This position is the masochist’s dream. He struggles with piles of papers,
miles of computer wire, and attempts to occasionally produce a Hash Trash to
keep the hash members reasonably informed. He is the mother f*cking official
representative on the Internet maintaining the Web Site, eMail lists and
other such forms nonesense. The On-Sec also maintains the hash membership
data base. Boring stuff to say the least.
This is a hasher with no self-respect. (S)he never lacks for a song suitable
to the occasion. His songs are risqué, lewd, and vulgar. The Songmeister
speaks with other hashers and hashes to acquire songs to add to the hash
hymnal. The mission is to explore new tunes and new celebrations. To boldly
go where no Songmeister has gone before (pardon the split infinitive.)
ADVISOR: Keeper of the faith.
Enforcer of the scriptures. This is the hasher who has seen the light (Bud
light) and can taste in his soul the true spirit of Hashing. The religious
advisor spreads the word and inspires the zest and zeal of the hash in all
participants. Any hasher found transgressing the spirit of hashing is
disciplined by the RA. He is the keeper of the sacred Laws of Hashing and
comes up with sufficiently plausible lies to cover any serious questions of
propriety of actions within the hash.