Hash House Harriers: The Hidden Hilarious Social Sprinters

By: Rachel Gibson

I’m sure your first reaction to this is “ummm, what?  This sounds slightly…not legal”, but I assure you this is NOTHING like what you’re thinking. 

Hash House Harriers is a group started back in the 1930’s, and, well, for the full history, just Wikipedia it.  The general basis is:  a group gets together at a designated time, and then 1 or 2 runners leave 15 minutes ahead with chalk and flour in hand to “mark” a trail for the rest of the group to follow.  This trail can be on sidewalk or through the woods.  It can have twists, turns, dead ends and false paths.  Runners have no objective time goals—this isn’t a race for yourself, this is a team effort to try and catch the runners marking the trail (or to get to the end of the trail, whichever comes first; usually it’s the end of the trail).  Think of it like a detective series, but with running (and, of course, beer.  This IS a social activity, after all).  So the entire group follows the marking laid out by the front runners (called “hares”), add their own markings so that any runners that may have split up can follow the correct path, all while yelling out various terminology that comes with hash runs.  As crazy as this sounds, it’s quite fun.

Once the hares have completed their journey (usually no more than 3 miles), they end the hash run, fittingly, at a bar, where, as the rest of the group discovers the trail, begin to filter in to singing, pitchers and a sweaty camaraderie of social running. 

Have you heard of this phenomenon before?

I hadn’t, and just completed my first hash run last night.  Where has this been all my (over 21-year-old) life?  Hash House Harrier groups are prevalent nation-wide, and if any of the above appeal to you, I suggest a quick Google search for the group nearest you (in the Tri-State area it's the "Mountain Momma Hash House Harriers", you can find out more info on their facebook page) .  There are no yearly dues, no pace requirements, no commitment other than the dedication to have FUN while getting a run in. 





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*A group of us newbie hash runners after our first outing.  Sweaty, exhausted and absolutely hooked.  Just look at our smiles.*






To the Mountain Momma Hash House Harriers, thank you for giving me the most interesting 3ish mile run I’ve ever gotten in my life.  I look forward to many more of these as the years go on! 




For more random thoughts, follow me on Twitter: @nomad_runner!


And to follow my other guest blogging experience, be sure to check out http://info.georgiamarathon.com/blog/?Author=Rachel+Gibson!

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