WHAT IS A HASH?
(Borrowed from DC Full Moon H3 site.)
Now before you get all upset, the word hash does not mean that you are in the presence of a group of druggies. Over 70 years ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when the first Hash House Harriers club was started, hash meant food—it may still mean food over there, who knows! Just for completeness, harrier is supposedly Australian slang for runner.
A hash is a game of wits where one or more hares set a trail for the pack of hounds to follow. The hares use loops, backtracks, checks, and a clever trail to try to outwit the pack. Smart use of water obstacles, heavy shrubbery, unexpected changes of direction, etc., will make it very unlikely that the pack will catch them or gain an advantage by short cutting. A good hash will typically include a combination of water crossings, mud, hills, dense wooded game trails, poison ivy, wooden fences, ditches, culverts, storm drains, open fields, fallen trees, parks, etc. The trail is not intended to be a boring paved road race. At the end of the trail, hashers are rewarded for their efforts with the hash beverage of choice, that golden nectar of the gods—BEER!
RUNNING AND DRINKING?
Yes, we may drink a few beers before we run, we may stop once or even twice during our run and drink beer, and we will most definitely have beer at the end. Can't imagine running if you're full of beer? First off, we don't fill up on beer, we drink only as much as is comfortable. Having a 12 oz beer 15 minutes before your run is not much different from hydrating before a run. Once you're on trail, you'll be working up a thirst for more. Generally, all beer checks (where we stop mid-trail for drinks) include water - especially on hot summer days. We don't get drunk and then run (or at least, MOST of us don't!)
Hashing is a non-competitive form of exercise with great entertainment, relaxation, and a weekly release of frustrations and energy. (To distinguish this from your sex life, it's also held outside, with lots of other people around.) While the hash includes its share of serious runners, it is primarily a social group, not an athletic one. A good attitude toward your fellow hashers is much more important than athletic ability. Remember, the key here is to have fun and drink lots of beer.
If this sounds good to you, we invite you to participate as often as you can escape from life's outside pressures (girlfriends and/or boyfriends and/or wives and/or husbands and/or consorts and/or work—you get the idea). And while the hash is open to anyone who wants to participate and have fun, because we serve alcohol, if you are not 21 years of age or older, please do not come.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
Hashing began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a casual group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British paper chase, to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. This original group consisted of four members: Cecil Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Ronald "Torch" Bennett, and Albert Stephen (A.S.) Ignacious "G" Gispert. John Woodrow was also an original member of the group, but is rarely credited as a founder, having left Malaysia soon after the war and returning to Scotland.
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" in homage to the Selangor Club Annex, where the men were billeted, so named the "Hash House" for its notoriously monotonous food. The final word, "Harriers," refers to the role of those in the chase, where the "hare" was given a head start to blaze a trail and mark his path with shreds of paper, and then pursued by a shouting pack of "harriers." Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and finding the "true" path, harriers reaching the end of the trail would be rewarded with beer, ginger beer, and cigarettes.
The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is laid out in the following philosophy from a KL city 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 Japanese invasion of Malaysia, but was re-started after the war by the original group, minus A.S. Gispert, who was killed in the Japanese invasion of Singapore.
Apart from a "one-off" chapter formed in the Italian Riveria, growth of Hashing remained small until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded the second kennel in Singapore. The idea then spread through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, then through Europe and North America, booming in popularity during the mid-1970s.