Assorted articles about hashing

BBC Program

The Facts
1938: Kuala Lumpur - Mother Hash founded
1969: Commando Forces hash founded - first hash in UK
1971: Westcombe Park hash founded - oldest monthly running hash in UK
1974: Bicester hash founded - oldest weekly running hash in UK
1977: 90 hashes known in 35 countries
1984: Harrier International founded
1988: 700 hashes known in 125 countries
2000: 1,570 active hashes known in 184 countries with 200,000 hashers
Source: UK Hash House Harriers


Let's take to the countryside!
Described as a "running club with a drink problem", thousands of Hash House Harriers take to the open road each week for some serious exercise and some even more serious refreshment.
Join Inside Out as we work up a thirst.
"Hashing" as it has come to be know happens regularly up and down the country as eager runners and/or drinkers combine an invigorating run with more than the odd pint, before, after and even during the jog.
Never one to pass up a challenge, or a drink, Inside Out's guest presenter Linda Robson pulls on her trainers and heads to the Rockbourne pub near Fordingbridge.

Working up a thirst
The idea was born in 1938 when a group of expatriates in Kuala Lumpur instigated a modified hare and hound paper chase.
The chase was designed to work up a thirst, or work off a hangover, before retiring to the Selangor Club where drinking would recommence.
Linda embarks on her first 'hash'
The club was known locally as the "Hash House" so the name was adopted by the harriers and it stuck.
Today, hashing is an international pastime occurring in over 184 countries worldwide.
It is a non-competitive form of running with varying trails designed to suit differing fitness levels.
The run invariably starts and ends in the pub.

On the trail
As a new hash harrier, Linda is forced to put her spritzer and packet of dry-roasted on hold prior to the race as she is given the job of the hare.
The hare has the important task of laying a trail made of all manner of things including flour, toilet paper, powdered chalk or paper.
Linda and Rattlebones - nicknames are essential for harriers - lay the main trail, whilst Tall Paul lays a decoy trail to trick runners into long detours.
"Once we've laid the trail we just sit back and watch all the other silly idiots run around like blue-bottomed flies!"
Trails can either be "live", with the hare setting out 15 minutes before the pack, or "dead", in which the trail is laid in advance.
Linda's is a dead trail which means she has the option of getting a round in and sitting it out in the pub.
But not one to languish in comfort whilst other slog it out, Linda heads out on the hash.
But it's no easy task - as Linda soon discovers when she has a run-in with an electric fence!
'Tall Paul' lets the others know what they're in for!
And it looks like her discomfort hasn't gone unnoticed, as Tall Paul briefs tonight's runners.
"It's a very short run tonight - it had to be short because Linda moaned all the way around!
"There's a lot of barbed wire and there's also one very good electric fence, and it is on, isn't it Linda?"
Fortunately for Linda (and the cameraman!) the run is four and a half miles - which is apparently shorter than the hash house harriers are used to!

Liquid refreshment
Hashing is as much about enjoyment and socialising as it is about keeping fit, so don't be expecting a swift-half before home on the run's completion.

Down the hatch!
To ensure drinking is taken as seriously as the running, a forfeit system known as "Downs downs", insists that a pint must be guzzled in one for any misdemeanours occurring on the run.
And as for Linda's spritzer…
She'll be swapping to pints for the time being.

Hashing is a great way to combine exercise and socialising and if your legs aren't aching the day after the run, you can guarantee your head will be!

Readers' Comments
We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

For all the local Hampshire Hashing Info (well, all the info within a 2 mile radius of Hursley), try

Fantastic to read that hashing is becoming famous outside the normal circle, On On...

Willy Washer
Who was the good looking girl at the end in yellow? Surely a good advert for Hashing, a healthy female specimen who can drink as well as run!! BBC good topic well presented, a pat on the back for Linda and her pal.Wessex HHH

Mr Beacky
Good venue, good run, good company and great beer. Well done to all concerned, Linda gave it the humour the geese and live wire gave it credability...on on

Bouncer from Brightonandhovehaywardsheathandhorsha
Good article although the broadcast itself went out at prime hashing time (for many clubs Monday evening although some wimp it in the winter) so few hashers will have seen it! There are no two hashes the same so some of the strange goings on in the broadcast may be unique to HOVMRCH3. We all evolve differently with two essentials, well one essential, BEER, and one optional, the run! Well done Auntie ...

Any readers or viewers who like the idea can run (walk, stroll) with the Hursley Hash House Harriers ( any Sunday morning at 11:00, or the Worthy Winchester Hash House Harriers any Monday evening at 6:45 (, or with the R2D2 hash (Andover area) on Thursday evenings in summer, or Saturday mornings in winter ( There's also the Bourne Valley H3 and loads of others ... click around the various web sites, and you'll find helpful links. On on Cropcircle

Elvis the Pelvis
Well, there are other types of hash houses. For example in Tirana, Albania the hash is a "Family hash". You can see kids walking along with their parents and there is always a walkers trail along with the runners one. On, On..

Please see this site for further info on where "runs" are in the South! Hursley H3 "run" on Sundays at 11, & Worthy Winchester at 1845 on Mondays! Try it you might like it!

Bouncing Czech
Publicity for the Hash?! wonderful! a great 'free wheeling' liberally minded social group for both young and old who want to enjoy the fresh air and the beer! here in Prague we have our own 84 year old hasher (Veteran) - he walks the hash run and still manages to have a good few 'down down' beers for 'short cutting' the longer trail! Long Live Hashing round the World..... on on Bouncing Czech Prague Hash House Harriers

Good to see that our wonderful pastime is getting some well deserved publicity. Thank you BBC. I would like to add the following to the 'Facts' list though: July 2004, Cardiff Wales - First World Interhash ever to be held in the UK. And two world records broken to 'boot' - Cardiff hosted the world's biggest ever Charity Red Dress Run on the Thursday with 2035 hashers of both sexes running around the streets of Cardiff in red dresses - an amazing sight - and also the largest ever World Interhash was held in the Millennium Stadium over the weekend with around 5000 hashers attending from all over the world. For more information look up the website at The next World Interhash will be held in Chiang Mai in 2006 and you can also check out their web site at Cheers n Beers Clepto, WIH2004 Publications

Drag-Along Date, Co-GM San Diego H3
I'm personally gratified to see yet another article on the topic of Hashing. This looks to be one of the more accurate ones. In San Diego we have 12 to 15 Hashes, depending on who you ask, and each one has its own unique personality even though many are attended by a lot of the same people. It's no mystery to us that Hashing is thriving and growing throughout the world. It brings out the best in us. ON-ON, Drag

Incredible Hulk
Linda should try International Hashing, she would be welcome on the French Cote d'Azur where the Riviera Hashers enjoy sunny running and red wine!

Stu "The Colonel" Lloyd
Great to see the venerable BBC getting behind Hashing, although I'm sure some would prefer it was kept behind closed, er, drawers. (As I found when I wrote "HARE OF THE DOG - history, humour and hellraising from the Hash House Harriers" and was howled down by some anachronistic purists who felt it should remain 'secret men's business'.) Cheers, Stu Lloyd Sydney Australia

Mary Place (aka Gobby Tart )
The race????? Hashing isn't a race. There is no prize for coming in first, infact one can be penalised for it. Brilliant fun

Deep Throat
Dear Sir, I was appalled at the publicity you have given to this group of people known as the Hash House Harriers. In my experience, these people do not take running seriously enough and under the new Brussels directive on Hashing, they will soon have to amend their ways. According to the new European Commissioner for Hashing, Senor Going First, who was appointed following your article, drink on hash related activities will be banned unless the drink is less than 0.04 per cent alcohol. The only exceptions to this will be allowed on Sundays or on a boat, when the drink percentage allowed will be rise to 140% More importantly, in future all so called "down down" announcements, will have to be translated into each of 106 languages cuuently employed in the EEC. This will be raised to 108 languages when the new countries to the Community, the Island of Pitcairn and The Peoples Republic of Yeman join Europe next year. Yours etc Disgusted of Gloucester

Excellent article. A hit too coherant. Obviously not written by a real hasher! OnOn Amnesia On Sec Bicester H3

Gadget from BH3
I wonder Linda will be back for the next hash! On On Gagdet

March 31, 2004, 5:59AM
Jogger's powder shuts rail
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

A jogger caused a hazardous materials investigation Tuesday after he poured white powder on the ground at about 10 locations near Hermann Park, apparently to mark his trail, officials said.
The suspicious substance, found about 7 p.m. around Ewing near San Jacinto, temporarily shut down light rail traffic through the area.
Hazardous materials specialists analyzed about five samples of the power and concluded it wasn't toxic, said Houston Fire Department Inspector Javier Rodriguez.
The jogger, found carrying a small bag of the substance, was questioned and released without charges.

Marathon Maniacs

Hashers Go for the Gold. And the Blue Ribbon. And the Guinness And the Sour Apple Martini Shots.
By Libby Copeland
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 24, 2002; Page F01

The lawyer can't get his pants off.

He pulls down his sweat pants, then his underpants, to the shouting and booing of 80 frenzied runners grasping plastic cups of Guinness in a leaf-spattered back yard in Arlington. They have been drinking and running and drinking, and now -- at the ceremonial end of their beloved sport known as hashing -- they're getting quite a show.

In the midst of the circle on this Thursday evening, the 57-year-old lawyer for the Department of Transportation sits on the leaves to work the sweat pants over his sneakers. The crowd groans. The man struggles. The crowd drinks. The man triumphs, standing up (groan) and pulling on a pair of honorary shorts stamped with a hashing logo. He seems not at all embarrassed. But when you've been hashing for 10 years, when you've hashed in Kuala Lumpur, Tasmania, Goa, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Beijing and Madrid, as he has, you pretty much master the art of disinhibition.

"What goes at the hash stays at the hash," says the man, and thank goodness for that.

Hashing is freedom, baby.

Hashing: worldwide phenomenon, 64 years old. It is a running and drinking sport that feels like a traveling frat party. Hashers run through woods, along bike paths, along city streets and through tunnels, stopping en route for alcohol, ever more alcohol. Some call hashing a cult, though it's way too disorganized for that. Some say it has the same atmosphere as college rugby, with all the beer and none of the rugby.

There are at least 10 hashing groups in the D.C. area, and each runs a different route each time and follows slightly different customs. Here's how one of the larger chapters, the White House Hash House Harriers, did it on a recent Sunday.

They drank beer, then they ran through the streets of Ballston, following a trail laid out in flour by folks known as "hares." They stopped at a park -- panting -- and had sour apple martini shots. Then they ran some more and had more shots. Then they ran some more and stopped for beer. When they'd run a total of four miles to the end of the hash -- temporarily set up in an empty parking lot -- they had more beer and sang songs and made fun of each other for an hour. Then they went off to a bar.

Hashing is based on Hares and Hounds, a British schoolboy game going back at least to the 19th century. The first hash was held by British expatriates living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938 and then was spread around the world by the expat and military communities, according to Paul "Flying Booger" Woodford, of Tucson, who maintains a hashing Web site,

The hash works like this: The hares lay a trail marked with symbols in flour, chalk or paper, which the rest of the pack later follows. False markings make the run more interesting. The point is to keep the pack in a state of collective confusion. "Racing" is considered a dirty word, and anyone who seems to be trying to finish the hash first may be guilty of a violation (more on this later).

But hashing is more than an activity; it is a culture. There are about 1,400 hashing groups worldwide, according to hard-core hashers who keep track of such things. Last month, 937 people from around the country descended on Washington for its annual Red Dress Run. Hashers consider themselves part of an international family. When they travel, they explore new cities via hashing. They stay with hashers they've never met before. There are ordained ministers, like Woodford, who perform hash weddings. (In one he performed, the bride and groom were the hares and everyone ran in white gowns.) One married couple in the White House hashers has 1,000 hashes between them. Some hashers live together as roommates, like the four who live in the so-called Pleasure Palace, a house in Arlington.

But cut to the chase: How does one drink and run? As a "virgin" hasher, you may get to a beer check partway through a run and find yourself nauseated at the very thought of swallowing suds. (The groups provide water and soda as alternatives.) Even some veteran hashers drink only, say, half a beer during their run, and wait till after to drink more. And there are those who hash for the camaraderie and don't drink at all. But for those who wish to test their drinking-and-running stamina, the trick seems to be practice.

During the last Marine Corps Marathon, one hasher, a Marine officer who wants anonymity made use of his extensive hashing training. Before the race, he says, he had five beers, a glass of merlot and a cigarette. During the run, he had a bloody mary, then -- along with other hashers -- another beer at the 22nd mile.

He finished within 3 hours 10 minutes, good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Hashing is a way to try out an alternative persona: more fun-loving, more bold, more debauched. Because they run in packs, hashers tend toward a collective lawlessness. When they stampede across streets in packs of 50 or 100, they do it at the red, the green and the in-between. They storm through shopping malls. Sometimes they flash body parts at each other. This is made easier by their relative anonymity -- hashers would rather sing dirty songs than discuss what they do for a living. For a few hours, they forget that they are consultants, military officers, a lobbyist, a former officer with the CIA. (There is also an editor, an out-of-work hotel manager, a marathon trainer.)

Hashers are also afforded freedom by the fact that they go by nicknames, which tend to be derogatory and loaded with sexual innuendo. Here are some of the tamer ones: Pimp of Sarajevo, Summer's Eve, Big Bird Turd, Dumb&Dumber. It's entirely possible to hash with someone for years and not know the person's last name. It's also possible to forget just how foul someone's nickname is. It's the darnedest thing, says one hasher, when you're walking down a street in Alexandria, see a hashing buddy and start to call out his expletive-loaded nickname. Alas, the rules of life are stricter than the rules of hashing.

Speaking of rules . . .

"Hey, how ya doin', Swings-Both-Ways?" says a hasher named Twig, greeting a buddy during a running break where people are downing shots. Twig, who in real life goes by Wendy Lageman, a program analyst, is a scribe for the White House hashers, and she runs with a notepad and headset. It's her job to record the violations of other hashers and then read them during the evening's closing circle ceremony, at which time the violators have to drink beer or soda. Hashers say they don't believe in rules, but they do have some -- they're simply arbitrary and subject to change. You might be cited for wearing new running shoes or doing something stupid, like forgetting your dog at a beer stop. (A handful of hashers run with their dogs.)

Hash hazing is equal-opportunity, because the group itself is "all about inclusion," Lageman says. "We don't care if you're fat or thin or bucktoothed or have a lisp."

They do care, however, if a participant takes things too seriously.

"Prissy doesn't work," says John Hayward, 39, the outgoing Grand Master of Every Day Is Wednesday Hash House Harriers, which runs Thursday evenings. "People are just very crass. What I like about it is that everybody is pretty honest. There's no PC. If you want to hit on somebody, you just go over and do it."

Indeed, you do. Every Day Is Wednesday is considered the youngest hash in D.C., with many members in their twenties, and a good deal of flirting and dating takes place there. Annette Dumont, 27, says this is made easier by the absence of her non-hashing friends.

"It's kind of like my moral sidekicks aren't here to say, 'Nettie, what are you doing?' "

Perhaps Hayward -- who goes by the nickname HolyTit! for his one pierced nipple -- explains the hasher's free-spiritedness best by alluding to a split personality. "John was not jumping in the fountain on the waterfront," he says. "John wasn't jumping in people's swimming pools. HolyTit! does that stuff."

Hayward teaches people how to create Web sites and also works as a personal trainer. In his spare time, he's an ultra-marathoner. He has hashed during themed runs dressed as a cheerleader, as Little Red Riding Hood, as a geisha and in a "very nice Victoria's Secret French maid outfit."

He is very glad that his girlfriend is also a hasher, because she understands him. Recently, she was sorting through their clothes and found a single leg hose.

"She's like, 'Whose is this?' I'm like, 'It's mine.' "

Hurrah for hashing! It means irreverence, abandon, the killing of convention. After a Thursday night run, a horde of hashers descends on Dr. Dremo's Taphouse in Arlington, conspicuous in their jogging pants and sneakers. Over in a corner sits Sandi Tartisel, a 33-year-old legal secretary, her blond hair still wet from her beer baptism. She was nicknamed this evening, an honor that is bestowed only after many hashes. She explains that kneeling on a mat in front of a large group of people and being given a lewd name and doused with a full pitcher of beer would have once flustered her. But no more. She has broken through to another dimension. Because no matter what you do in hashing, "somebody else has already done something much more embarrassing."

Consider what she is capable of these days. Before hashing, Tartisel had never "peed outside." Now, "I'll do it without even thinking about it," she says, beaming. "Long as I have a bit of coverage between two cars."

© 2002 The Washington Post Company