It is said that “If you have half a mind to join the Hash, that’s all it takes”
Hashing is a form of non-competitive cross-country running with the main objective of working up a decent thirst. Great emphasis is placed on the social aspects – particularly the après-hash refreshment session. It’s a fun activity, strictly non-competitive and is not to be taken seriously.
If you’ve hashed before you will know the format, but for the uninitiated here’s a broad outline. A word of caution, however – all hashes are different, so this could be taken as a ‘best guess’!
The Hash usually meet at a pub – essential for ‘re-fuelling’ afterwards – but sometimes a remote car park may be used as it offers good opportunities for the trail.
The hosts for the event are usually volunteers who are referred to as ‘The Hares’. Their principal responsibility is to set the trail, that is to mark a route out for ‘The Pack’ to follow. This usually consists of flour, sawdust or chalk, dropped, dotted or marked in the tradition of the given Hash. The Pack set off with the front runners calling “On, On!” for the benefit of those behind.
Every so often, usually at a junction, there will be a ‘check’ mark which may be in the form of a circle or a line. The frontrunners on reaching the check are tasked with searching for the correct route, which may be in any direction, along paths, streets, even up rivers or streams! This searching enables those with less athletic tendencies to catch up with the aim being that no one is left behind and everyone arrives back at the start point at around the same time.
Beware of the wicked Hare who might well set false trails! These will end in an agreed mark and result in the Pack reversing back on the route they followed, searching for the correct route. Or maybe the trail will follow a route around 3 sides of a field for the front runners, and then short-cut the rest along the single side, thus the front runners become the back markers and have to play catch up!
Hash runs are usually 3 – 5 miles long and are designed to last 1 – 1½ hours. Celebrations and socialising après-hash vary greatly and are particular to a given hash, so it’s not too difficult to find a group that you’ll be comfortable with.
All hash groups are very welcoming, so if you're keen to give it a try, look in the directory pages for your closest hash group, or get in touch with the On Sec on one of the links above for help in locating a group near you.