In The Spotlight
articles on various aspects of the history of the Hash House Harriers.
10 First Hash House Harriers Clubs
In the Spotlight - A Long Overdue Revision to The First 10 known Hash House Harriers Clubs
1 Sep 2014 (Revised 20 Sep 2021)
The process of updating and editing Bill Panton's amazing HHH Genealogy Project, by validating existing information, and adding logos, dates, and various other details that are missing, continues. Occasionally I come upon corrections that are needed, and this month several very significant corrections have been made. It started with a question from my old friend Drainoil, who questioned the order of the Penang H3 and Ipoh H3. He claimed that when he started hashing in 1966, it was common knowledge that Ipoh H3 was #6, and Penang was #7. So an in-depth review ensued, with the following results. Some appear to just be input errors, fat fingers, or whatever reason, but this month the shakeup directly focuses on the first 10 hash clubs that are known to have existed. While I am always happy to receive and review new information . . . as of this moment, after corrections made, these are now the 10 oldest hash clubs (and be prepared for some additional revelations):
10. Penang H3 - Founded on 10 May 1965, by Robin Rawlings. No change, but moves from #8 to #10.
9. Ipoh H3 - Founded 31 Jan 1965, by David “Mad Dog” Denning (a.k.a. Kinta H3). Previous date in the genealogy was 9 Oct 1965, but has been updated. Moves from #10 to #9.
8. Jesselton H3 - Founded on 22 Jun 1964, by George Will (name changed to the Kota Kinabalu H3). No change, moves from #7 to #8.
7. Sibu H3 - Founded on 1 Jun 1964, founder unknown. (Original club folded ~1966, but was restarted 8 Oct 1995 by Ambrose Chung). No change, but moves from #6 to #7.
6. Miri H3 - Founded sometime in 1963, by Ian Nash. (Original club folded, but was restarted 27 May 1973). Since the specific date in 1963 is unknown, the date is set to 31 December. No change, moves from #5 to #6. If a more specific date can be identified, this club could move up in the future.
5. Sandakan H3 - Founded on 18 Oct 1963, by Jonathan Gray. Upon review, it was discovered the date was wrong, posted as 18 Oct 1965, with correction to 1963, moves from #10 to #5.
The only shakeup in the top 4 was made back in 2013, when the 20 year mystery of the Bordighera H3, was discovered to be a hoax. https://www.gotothehash.net/history/rmbh3/rmbh3.html
4. Kuching H3 - Founded on 21 May 1963, by Harry “God Knows” Howell - http://gotothehash.net/history/hhhk.html
3. Brunei H3 - Founded on 18 Feb 1963, by Colin Berwick - http://gotothehash.net/history/hhhb.html
2. Hash House Harriers Singapore - Founded on 19 Feb 1962, by Ian Cumming (a.k.a. Singapore H3, Father Hash) - http://gotothehash.net/history/hhhs.html
1. Hash House Harriers - It is common knowledge within the world of hashing, that the first HHH club (a.k.a. Hash House Harriers Kuala Lumpur . . . Mother Hash) was founded by Albert Stephen Ignatius “G” Gispert, with the assistance of a small group of mates. Due to the advent of WWII, this original club was suspended on 12 Dec 1941, after run #117, but was reactivated in Aug 1946. No one know for sure exactly when the first hash run was set, but by current lore it is believed to have been ~ Sep-Dec 1938. BUT . . . there has been on ongoing debate if this is actually true or not. What we can confirm is that the 100th Hash (see attached) was held on 15 Aug 1941 (and 17 weeks later, run #117 was the last). Counting backwards 100 weeks from 15 Aug 1941, would potentially make the first run on 22 Sept 1939, if there were no weeks missed. The big questions are, did the old gang have a memory lapse? Was there a major fat finger to the year? It is obvious that the HHH ran weekly from #100-#117, but did the club run bi-weekly, or sporadically prior to the 100th run? No one knows for sure. Guess I have a major research project ahead of me . . . more to follow, and let the debate begin.
See the map and all the details.
In the Spotlight - 1938
14 Mar 2022
Still to this day, no one has found any documentation that specifically defines when the Hash House Harriers ran their first trail in Kuala Lumpur. Conventional wisdom had placed the date as sometime between September and December 1938. About six months ago, my friend Colin “Hema” Snow sent me some interesting news from his personal interactions and a letter from Torch Bennett, that outlined his estimation of the founding date to be mid-summer 1939. Unfortunately, Torch was not on the first run, having taken leave in late November of 1938 and not returning to Kuala Lumpur until late July 1939. Torch also made it clear that “G” had not yet arrived in Kuala Lumpur as of the date of his departure. Although verbal recollections by other early hashers had generally pointed towards a start date of late 1938, Torch was adamant that he was right.
While reviewing more documents on the matter, another letter has shed more light on the situation. First, a little background. When Tim “Magic” Hughes was researching the history of the HHH back in the 1980s, he contacted many old hashers to get their story, and in 1987 came in contact with Frank Woodward. Frank was one of the few early hashers before the war, and is identified on the “List of Office Bearers” of Mother Hash, as a Joint Master in both 1948 and 1949. He would continue on, working and hashing in KL until his departure in 1953. Magic had recently published his “Harrier International World Hash Handbook 86/87” and started mailing out periodical HHH News on a subscription basis under the title “Harrier International.” As an introduction, Magic sent Frank copies of his work and asked for some of his recollections on his time with the HHH in KL.
Frank Woodward replied in a letter, stating . . . “I left Guernsey . . . in January 1939 and arrived in Kuala Lumpur about mid-February, 1939. I had been booked into the Selangor Club Chambers by my boss. At my first breakfast, I was invited to join the Hash House Harriers and as I had been a cross-country runner at school, I was delighted to accept.” Frank makes the most specific statement on record, for the actual founding date with “I took part in the sixth or seventh run of the club since it was founded.” Having run his first trail in February 1939, that would narrow down the date of the first run to sometime in December 1938, or possibly the first week of January 1939. Since there were a couple significant holidays in that timeframe, mid to early December 1938 is the most likely date of the first hash trail. It could not be sooner, as Torch had departed KL in late November 1938, and “G” was not there yet and the HHH had not started.
There was at least one account of the earlier Kuala Lumpur Harriers (that ran in the city from the early 1920s to the mid-1930s) in the Malay Mail (newspaper) in 1932. The oldest actual Hash House Harriers document we currently have, to the best of my knowledge, that specifies an actual event date is the notice for the upcoming 100th run, which occurred on Friday 15 Aug 1941, just 17 weeks before hashing was suspended due to the onset of WWII.
Frank’s letter also includes other insights into the early days of the HHH. He goes on to say . . .
“In those good old days, most of us Hash House members had Malay car drivers . . . and the procedure on the weekly run days was for the two ‘hares’ to go in a car with their haversacks full of torn-up paper and the boot of their car loaded up with a large galvanized tin bath packed with ice, bottled beer and ginger beer, to a pre-arranged starting point and then set off to lay the paper trails. The beer and ginger beer were provided by the ‘hares’ each week at their own expense. The club never had any funds as such and administration was minimal.”
Frank continued to explain that prior to the war, that trails were generally A to B, and that once the pack had assembled and set off running, the hare’s driver would lead all the other cars to the finish point. He also states “After numerous false trails had been investigated the ‘hounds’ eventually arrived at the finish point where the ‘hares’ would have already started on the beer and ginger beer. Shandies were found to be much more refreshing than beer by itself.” Which, to me, is another indictment on the false narrative some hashers believe, that hashing has always been about excessive alcohol.
Another revelation was that after the rebirth starting in 1946, trails were much more commonly A to A. Frank stated “After the war not many members of the H.H.H. had car drivers, especially the newcomers who had come to Malaya for the first time . . . starting and finishing points of the runs [were] at the same place; otherwise the routine was exactly as before.”
In closing, Frank finished with “I am so glad to hear that the Hash House Harriers clubs are spreading round the world, a fact of which I was quite unaware until very recently.” Both Frank’s and Torch’s letters are recollections of events that took place more than 40 years prior, so we have to take them at face value. Just like Frank states, new information continues to be presented to us on the history of the HHH, and more research will continue to expand our knowledge of the origins of this fascinating sport. More research will need to be done on Frank, but as of the time of his letter (circa 1987), he listed himself as a non-running member of the Tamar Valley H3, in Devonshire, UK.
In the Spotlight - Azerbaijan
11 Aug 2021
Part of joy of traveling to new countries, is not only to meet new friends and run the hash, but also the amazing things to see and do. History has always fascinated me, and I have learned so much from my traveling experiences. Just reading about things has no comparison to actually being there. This trip was no exception, and there are many interesting aspects of Azerbaijan. Located with the Caspian Sea to the east, Azerbaijan is bordered by Iran to the south, Armenia to the west, and Georgia and Russia to the north (There is also a small detached enclave to the west, that touches Turkey, and has been a flash point between Armenia and Azerbaijan). The capital city is Baku, and one unique fact is that it’s the lowest capital city in the world, residing an incredible 28 meters below sea level. Azerbaijan is an oil rich country, and was the leading producer of petroleum in the early 20th century. According to the encyclopedia Britannica, “Fine horses and caviar continue as some of the more distinctive traditional exports of the republic.” Annexed by the former Soviet Union in the early 20th century, Azerbaijan gained its independence on 30 August 1991.
As part of the Caucasus region, along with Armenia, Georgia, and southern Russia, Azerbaijan has been host to many regional hash events, primarily INTERCAUC (or INTERCOCK depending on who you talk to), rotating hosting duties every three years with Georgia and Armenia. The first INTERCAUC was held in 2002, and continued steady for nearly 2 decades, with the last one being held in May 2019, with over 80 hashers from Qatar, Georgia, Norway, UAE, Singapore, Belgium, Italy and the UK, and was also the 1000th Running of the Baku H3.
The history of the Baku H3 is fuzzy at best, and after much research and talking to many local hashers, the best I could come up with is, that the Baku H3 was born out of a random group of people holding informal hash runs on a random basis in the summer of 1996, according to Robert ‘Sir Snickers’ Radley. From that amalgamation, Sir Snickers (who came to Baku from the Accra H3 in Ghana) teamed up with Richard Price to officially form the first iteration of the Baku H3 around October 1996. After 2 years of steady hashing, the hash eventually faded for about a year, until another group of nameless and faceless hashers started up the second iteration of the Baku H3. Sir Snickers goes on to say, “I had very little to do with hash No. 2 as I was often working, though I did very occasionally run. Several of us left when the hash became a bit silly. and drew too much attention to itself at a time when running was 'NOT DONE’ other than on The Boulevard. I was hauled into a police station when running on Nobel Prospect and given a long lecture which I pretended not to understand.” This second iteration lasted less than a year. Finally, sometime in the summer of 2002, the third and current iteration of the Baku H3 was formed by Ben ‘Sir Moonboots’ Hodgson, assisted by his wife Phyllis ‘Stoned Banshee’ Lyon, and Suzie ‘Teletubby’ Cornell. Teletubby was the central figure of the Baku H3 for nearly a decade, but has recently retired and returned to the US, while Sir Snickers still pops in from time to time for visits and to attend hashing events. There were no records kept from the original Baku H3, so Moonboots randomly started this third Baku H3 on run number 100, and commenced from there.
On my recent visit to Baku, I enjoyed a blazing, and when I say blazing, I mean HOT, trail. At the time of the start, it was 106 degrees Fahrenheit (42C), and by the end the temps had dropped nary a degree. We had 10 hashers on trail, and the start was a bit of a mess. The hares planned to set trail from one park in the city, but posted the location of another park. As we stood waiting for the hares to arrive, highlighted by texting back and forth with the GM, saying “we’re here, where are you?” and getting a response of “we’re here, where are you?” . . . the hares finally realized their error, but it was the pack that paid the price. The only solution was for the hares to extend trail start from their park, to the park we were in, thus adding an additional kilometer to the day’s excursion (Did I mention it was 42C/106F degrees out? Reportedly the hottest day of the year so far.) All in all, the trail ended up being 11 Kms long, and while there was one actual drink stop at 9 Kms, the pack had to make an impromptu water stop well before that.
Finally making our way to the end of this A to B trail, the pack wasted little time breaking open the beer cooler, and drowning our weary bones in several pints of the local piss. A short but energetic circle commenced, the hares were appropriately punished for their efforts, and fun was had by all. We then shuffled our way back into town to HOPS, the hash pub, and continued to rehydrate our dried-out livers. It was a great day, in an equally amazing city, on the shores of the Caspian Sea. I highly recommend Baku as a travel destination. The food is good, the beer is cold, and the Baku H3 as a great trail running hash club. If you do go, you can also join various hashers who gather for an informal ‘Thirsty Thursday’ run, and if you are really lucky, current Baku H3 GM ‘Whisky Hole a-hhh’ or former GM ‘Peanut Bladder’ may also join you for a drink on the town.
In the Spotlight - Bahrain
21 Mar 2020
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of over 30 small islands located in the Persian Gulf, and has its capital in Manama, on the main island of Bahrain. Bahrain was the first place oil was discovered in the region, but due to its size, it appears it will also be the first to deplete its resources. Forward thinking, the government has diversified into tourism, and becoming a hub of the financial sector. Bahrain is also the home of several hash clubs, with the Bahrain H3 first invading on 7 Dec 1972. Founded by Geoff Whitehead, formerly with the Singapore H3, the Bahrain H3 has spawned over a dozen other hash clubs in the region, as well as in Asia and Europe. A common theme in several locations, the first spawn comes with a bit of drama.
The next hash to form was the Bahrain Black H3 (a.k.a. the Black Hash), and has its roots sprouting from the early days of the Bahrain Hash, and a hasher named Norman Moore. Norman, being a purest in the traditions of the original hash back in Kuala Lumpur, was frustrated with the path the Bahrain hash was taking, basically getting too soft. Thus, he created the legend of the Black Hash, as it was whispered about in jest during the weekly hash runs. Intrigued by this sentiment, Ted “Tumbling Ted” Lutley added to the lore, with more outlandish rumors of the Black Hash. He eventually teamed up with a former GM, Bob Tait, to set more difficult trails.
On the occasion of Bahrain H3 Trail #613 that was to be run on 23 Jul 1984, while drafting the instructions for the start location, the hares (Lutley & Tate) agreed to call it the Black Hash. Commemorative T-shirts were produced to mark the event, and soon after became coveted hash attire. Based on the success of that first event, the pair teamed up to conduct Black Hash runs every few months, with the fifth and final one being set on 10 Mar 1986. Intermixed with these events over the years, there was much grumbling about Bahrain needing a second hash club, but nothing really became of it, until . . .
The Bahrain Black H3 (or simply, “the Black Hash,” was officially founded by Gordon “Black Head” Clarke on 5 May 1986, assisted by Ted “Tumbling Ted” Lutley, Dorelle “Cloth-Head” Clarke, Arshed “Cowshed” Mubarak, and probably a few others. As Tumbling Ted explained it, the founding of a second hash initially created quite a stir, so much so that at first, the Bahrain hashers stated the term Black Hash belonged to them. In a conciliatory fashion, and to try to keep support from other hashers, they temporarily called it “the alternate hash.” Unfortunately, the unfriendly rift persisted for several years, with many hashers taking sides and only running with their chosen club. The rift has faded over the ensuing decades, with time, and the departure of some of the original protagonists, and today the rift is only jokingly referred to.
More recently, the Bahrain Independent Trail Chasers Hash House Harriers (BITCH3) was established on 6 Apr 2018. As indicated on their website, a consortium of hashers (One Rung Pussy Driver, Dick On The Table, Rapid Cherokee Choker, Scouts Anal, and Head With My Mom) created this bi-weekly hash on Friday, to allow for maximum participation. The website details the 32 rules, or rather guiding principles, that the hash club adheres to. Lordy lordy, yes . . . rules.
I recently arrived in Bahrain for the 20th running of the regional INTERGULF event. Originally established in Qatar, the first four occurrences were held there between 1979 and 1995. Bahrain hosted the first INTERGULF outside Qatar in 1996, and then again in 1998, 2002, 2015, and now again in 2020. This current event has been planned for over the past year, and the website boasted of nearly 60 hashers on the “Who’s Cumming” list with less than two weeks to go before the event. Then, on 11 Mar, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 virus a pandemic. The world began folding up their lawn furniture, rolling up the sidewalks, and continued on with lock downs, cancelled flights, and an ever-increasing list of restrictions.
In the end, all but one international visitor decided, or were forced, to drop out. As you may deduce, I was the only hasher to successfully arrive in Bahrain, only due to my scheduled trip to Jordan being cancelled. Heading directly from Cairo, I arrived a few days earlier than planned, and was on the first plane to arrive since Bahrain elevated simple temperature screening to full blown nasal swabs virus testing and quarantining (which actually occurred while we were flying), until results were accessed. After a 10 hour wait in a makeshift medical facility on a back lot of the airport, the entire plane of 50 passengers all test negative for the virus, and were subsequently released into the kingdom.
There was concern that INTERGULF would need to be cancelled due to ever increasing restrictions, and the Thursday evening pub crawl was in fact cancelled (since all the bars were ordered to be closed). Undaunted, the hash must go on and 11 hearty hashers turned up for the main event trail out in the desert. The runners’ trail consisted of one hare and two hounds, and we took off into the hills for what turned out to be an excellent 11+ Km trail of rolling hills, oil pipe lines, and sand. The walkers had one hare and seven walkers, that set out to beat the runners back into the finish. The walkers achieved their goal finishing in under an hour, as the runners popped up over the final dune about 20 minutes later, just as dark was settling over the site. Keeping our social distance, we conducted a circle and even managed to name one hasher . . . SLITHER.
An even smaller group of 4 hashers gathered up to enjoy the Black Hash Recovery Run on Saturday. A 9 Km trot around embassy row in Manama. It was a bright sunny (and warm) day, just right to help sweat out the indulgences of the weekend. Overall, this may be the smallest regional international hash event in history. Great weekend of minimum 2 meters distance between hashers in the era of COVID-19.
Ball Breaker Trail
In the Spotlight - The Ball Breaker Trail
2 Aug 2014
Also known by names such as Ball Buster, Nut Cruncher, Crippler, etc . . . I would be interested to know when the first BB Trail occurred, but my guess would be it was the simple description used to identify the longest trail at one of the early Interhash events. The first one I experienced was in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. Yes, that was the one where about a dozen hashers spent the night in the jungle due to a number of reasons (the primary one was the late departure of the buses as more and more hashers turned up wanting to participate - we started nearly two hours later than planned).
All the major events now feature a BB Trail as the ultimate challenge for trail lovers with strong legs and energetic lungs. Since there are usually many trails to choose from, there are always options to avoid this one. Over the years I have heard many takes on the BB Trail, some hashers say it is over the top or too extreme, some say it is great fun, but I have never heard anyone say ayyyyy, that was too easy. There are also specific events that have spawned from this ultimate test to the hasher's will, and one of the most difficult is the International Hash Challenge, an annual event that usually covers between 40-50 Kms through the jungle and rubber plantations in Malaysia, and hosted by the Petaling H3.
An example of a BB Trail goes back to Brussels in the summer of 2014, were I teamed up with Loping Scrotum, Biggles, EZ Over, and Automatic Balls to hare the BB trail. It was 27 Kms of hashing bliss out in the Belgian countryside in and around the city of Dinant, which is towered over by an amazing 11th Century Citadel. Now for the music lovers, Dinant is best known for being the birthplace of Adolphe Sax who invented the Saxophone. The BB Trail ran down through the town and over the main bridge that was adorned with over a dozen 10 foot tall saxophones. Much of the trail was single file dirt tracks through grassy fields and forest, but there were also sections of dusty country roads lined with fields of straw, oats, and other grains. There was also varying types of animals such as the usual cows and sheep, but this trail also included trotting by an Ostrich farm where hundreds of birds could be seen staring inquisitively. Nearly 130 hashers completed the 3.5 hour trail. See the actual track and a bit of the circle.
In the Spotlight - Bangkok, Thailand
23 Feb 2014
Rumor has it that the first attempt to start a hash club in Bangkok actually took place in the early 1970s, but failed in the effort. It was not until 1977, when William "Tumbling Bill" Panton, of the World Bank, was transferred from Washington, DC to Bangkok and established the Bangkok Men's HHH, setting the first trail on 11 June 1977. The Bangkok Hash has run continuously ever since, and will be running their 2000th hash trail in the fall of 2015. Read the full account of the founding as recorded by Tumbling Bill.
Once hashing was established in Bangkok, the hash soon spread to Chiang Mai in May and Songkhla in Oct, both in 1981. Hashing then multiplied in Bangkok with the founding of the Bangkok Monday H3 and the Bangkok Harriettes, both founded in March 1982. Next hashing spread to Pattaya in 1984 and Phuket in 1986, and there are now as many as 40 hash clubs running trails throughout Thailand. Thailand has hosted world Interhash three times, first in Pattaya in 1986, then Phuket in 1992, and the last time in Chiang Mai in 2006.
In the Spotlight – Bangladesh
29 Apr 2020
Bangladesh is located in the region of South Asia, surrounded mostly by India, except for a small section of the eastern border with Myanmar, and the Bay of Bengal to the south. Although a fairly small country in size, it has the 8th largest population of about 160 million. Geographically, Bangladesh is probably best known as the confluence of several major river systems that flow down from India, Nepal, and Bhutan, south of the Himalayan Mountain Range. These rivers bring in a constant flow of water and rich soil, which form the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, the largest river delta on earth. The capital city is Dhaka, formerly spelled Dacca, which was changed in 1983 to better match the pronunciation in Bengali.
Like most of the major cities of the world, the Hash House Harriers are no stranger to Dhaka. The first hash club formed is still active today as the Dhaka H3 (Men Only) – (a.k.a. “The Night Runners of Bengal”) which began on 17 Oct 1977. Moving from Jakarta to Dhaka, Steve “Laggard” Jaggard is credited as the founder, when gathered up some mates to enrich the Bangladesh cultural scene forever. Originally enjoying the countryside on the outskirts of the city, due to the exponential increase in traffic in recent years, and running on Monday evenings, the Dhaka H3 is limited to runs in the city.
The details of who founded the next hash club to form are a bit fuzzy, but the Dhaka Mixed H3 set its first trail on 2 Jan 1983, in order to provide women an opportunity to freely join in and enjoy the wonders of the world of hashing. Not satisfied with hash clubs only in Dhaka, Trevor White founded the Chittagong H3 on 21 Jun 1984. Chittagong (a.k.a. Chattogram) is about 250 Kms southeast of Dhaka, along the Bay of Bengal. The Chittagong H3 only lasted for a few hundred runs, but is revived every couple of years by the older hashers of Dhaka, for special events. Also in the Chittagong region, another club (Kulshi Hills H3) formed for a short period, but did not last too long.
The Dhaka Full Moon H3 began its very spotty existence in October 1997, when David “Fantum” Lewis wanted to expand the hashing activity even more around Dhaka. The Full Moon hash fizzled after about a year when he departed, but was revived by Asif “WebF@rt” Ahmad in 2002, and had a steady following until 2008 when he also departed. This hash club has seen a few short-lived revivals, but is currently in hibernation with about 100 trails to its credit.
After the turn of the century, the original Dhaka H3, through a series of events, began slowly allowing the presence of women on the hash. So, in a show of protest, the Dhaka Men's H3 was formed on 26 Mar 2007 by Murshed “Coco Loko” Salam, which goes by the standard of Men Only, all the time, no exceptions. Not to be outdone, in 2013, the women, led by Nippy Knickers and Joystick started the Dhaka Pussy Hash for women-only. Meeting once a month on Wednesday evenings, this club is more of a social wine drinking event rather than a traditional hash.
On my recent visit to Dhaka in February, I met up with a couple old friends, Sir Rail Jerker who I have known for over 20 years, he has hashed in Dhaka since the early days. I also met up with WebF@rt, who provided wonderful hashpatality helping with arrangements for transport, entertainment, and lodging during my stay. He also provided essential input on the history detailed above. During this visit, I was able to run with the Dhaka H3 on a Monday night. Due to the heavy traffic, and the advancing age of the pack, this club often just meets for an evening run led by a hare, with no actual trail laid. But for this special occasion, the Gispert Memorial Run, women were allowed to join and there was a full 6+ Km trail marked with paper. A large pack of over 45 hashers enjoyed a fun filled evening dodging cars and carts, while looking for paper. Trail was followed by a fun circle, and an On After party that lasted until after midnight.
If you ever get the chance to visit Dhaka, make sure to get out and experience the rich history of the region, but for the real fun, make sure you arrive in time for the weekend hashing where you can get out to the countryside.
In the Spotlight - Barbados
6 May 2022
Looking at the map, Barbados is the most easterly island in the Caribbean. According to Wikipedia, the “original name for Barbados . . . was Ichirouganaim . . . with possible translations including ‘Red land with white teeth’." Archeology studies have found evidence of various human presence on the island as early as 1600 BC, and others around 400 AD, 800 AD, and 1200 AD. Spanish explorers first arrived in the late 15th Century and claimed it as a possession. Portugal then claimed the island around 1532, but later abandoned it in 1620. England eventually claimed the island in 1625, bringing in the first permanent settlers in 1627. It remained part of the British Empire until 30 Nov 1966 when it became an independent state within the British Realm. Barbados completely severed ties, when on 30 November 2021, recently elected President Sandra Mason became Head of State replacing Queen Elizabeth II.
The exotic sport of hashing has a similarly eclectic history on Barbados. There are three active Hash House Harrier clubs, with the first being the Barbados H3 founded by David Craig. David came to the islands from the Mainland H3 in United Arab Emirates, and was assisted by Chris Harvey from Lagos, Nigeria and Nigel Minette. They set their first trail on 16 Nov 1985, and although they were dormant for a period of time due to COVID, they are fully active again on Saturday afternoons, and have run nearly 2100 trails.
After nearly two decades, it was determined that one hash club was not enough. Enter Trinidad born Francie “China Brush” Ammon, who on 1 May 2001 founded the Moons Over Barbados H3. She was assisted by Carlos 'Bandana' Freitas, and this club can be found running monthly nearest the Full Moon.
It would be nearly two more decades before China Brush founded yet another hash club on Barbados. The Barbados Bike H3 was founded on 27 Mar 2016 and rides monthly on the last Sunday of the month. China Brush, as a travel agent, also organizes various hash cruises primarily in the Caribbean, but also adjacent to various other large regional hash events and INTERHASH.
I have been fortunate to join China Brush on several of her Caribbean hash cruises, with the most recent being the pre-lube to OUTERHASH 2022. Sailing out of Barbados in April, our first trail was with the Barbados H3 where we had a lively pack of about 75 hashers including the 30+ members of the cruise. Trail was an amazing 13 Kms of varying terrain including goat pastures, back alleyways, sidewalks and city streets, parks, and other dirt tracks, with the final 2 kms through a maze of sugarcane fields. We paid 2 Barbados dollars ($1 US) for the joy of the trail, and then at the end beer and other soft drinks were available for purchase from the Beer Meister. In circle, there was no singing, and they recently replaced beer down downs with a shot (1/2 ounce) of a blue liquor . . . that has had a Scotch Bonnet pepper soaked in, making it VERY spicy. You do your shot on your knees, and all first-time visitors are simply . . . virgins. Hashing on Barbados was a most excellent experience, and we followed up trail with a night on the town for more fun. If you ever get the chance to visit Barbados, make sure to take in a hash trail or two, you won’t regret it. See the links to all the hash clubs on Barbados. On On
In the Spotlight - Belgium
4 Jun 2014
Brussels is about to be the host city for the largest beer party in the history of the Hash House Harriers (25-27 July). Nestled in the near center of the country of Belgium, the capital city of Brussels is the home of the European Union, as well as, and maybe more importantly, has been the home of many hash clubs over the past 35 years. The first recorded hash in Belgium was the GRAND BRU H3 founded by Jan "Once-a-Year" Slaats on 21 June 1980. It was a yearly hash in the Belgian Ardennes set up by Dutch ex-pats. Soon after, the Brussels H3 was formed by Stephen Lunn in December of 1980.
Other hash clubs followed in Mons (SHAPE H3) in 1982 and Antwerp in 1999. The Shape H3 faded out in 2006, but has recently been revived by some Norwegian hashers, Mata Hari and Dog Handler and is now called the Shape-Mons H3. Undeniably, the two most renowned (or scorned) hash clubs currently running in and around Brussels are the Brussels Manneke Piss H3 which has been on trail since 16 April 1990 and the Going Nowhere Always Drunk (GoNAD) H3. The BMPH3 was founded by Dick "One Way" Bryant who started hashing with the Dhaka H3, and runs trails regularly on Sunday afternoon at 1500 and Monday evening in the summer months at 1930. Their big annual event is the Belgian Nash Hash, hosted in a different Belgian City or village every year.
The GoNAD H3, an equally notorious hash club, was Founded on the 25th of September 1993 by Phil “P.EnNIS” Ennis as the Oostende Hash House Harriers. GoNAD H3 initially ran in Oostende on the Belgian coast, but has since migrated to Brussels. This hash sponsors some very interesting events throughout Europe, such as the Trust Us hash, where you sign up by putting your money on the table, and you are told later where the event will take place. The GoNADs also conduct events such as the Beer University, where you work towards a degree by sampling numerous types of beer. They also host trails in conjunction with other major hash events throughout Europe and partner with crazy hash clubs like the DIVA H3.
For the running enthusiasts, there is the Brussels Blue Moon, who normally run weekly, at least when they feel like it. This club is founded by Barry “Hash Hole” Rasberry and Eric “Nut Bitch” Borremans. The big annual event is the Blue Medoc. One year, the Medoc Marathon became very commercial and tried to make the Belgian hashers buy an expensive package deal, so instead they decided to hold the Medoc Marathon in Brussels. They run 30-42 km between hasher’s homes where there is a wine stop. Only wine form the region of Medic is allowed. It has caught on and is now an annual event. One must not forget the BELLY Hash held on every 29 February (Brussels European Legless Leap Year) founded by Michael ”Mick Mac” McAlinden on Thursday 29 February 1996. If you have never hashed in Brussels, you are missing out!
In the Spotlight - Brazil
6 Dec 2021
As the largest country in South America, and the southern hemisphere, Brazil borders with the Atlantic Ocean, and all other countries on the continent with the exception of Ecuador and Chile. According to the World Factbook, Brazil is the fifth largest country, behind Russia, Canada, China, and the US, at 8.5 million square kilometers, and is seventh in total population at just over 213 million. According to “Hey Explorer,” Brazil is famous for carnival festivals, soccer players like Pelé and Neymar, the fighting technique of Capoeira, and the Bossa Nova. Popular tourist attractions include the tropical beaches, waterfalls, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and probably the most commonly associated land features of Brazil . . . the Amazon River and Rainforest. For those with a taste for adult beverages, Brazil is home to the Caipirinha, a bitter sweet lime cocktail.
Most of South America speaks Spanish (with local dialects), but the predominant language of Brazil is Portuguese. This is due to the Treaty of Tordesillas, which was agreed upon on 7 Jun 1494 between Portugal and Spain, and split Brazil in half. Portugal claimed all land and resources to the east, and Spain claiming all to the west. According to National Geographic, “Spain and Portugal adhered to the treaty without major conflict between the two, although the line of demarcation was moved an additional 270 leagues (about 1500 kilometers or 932 miles) farther west in 1506.”
Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil for about 200 years, until 1960, when it was moved to Brasilia. The whole story behind Brasilia is fascinating, and includes an Italian Roman Catholic priest named Dom Bosco, who in 1883 had a dream that one day a vast open area by a lake would become the land of milk and honey. Some people believe this was a premonition that one day the capital of Brazil would be in Brasilia. When Juscelino Kubitschek ran for election as President in 1955, his platform was focused on a promise to build a new city in the center of Brazil, call it Brasilia, and move the capital there. True to his word, upon election, he began an aggressive plan. Designed in the shape of a bird, or airplane, the city took only 41 months to build, and was inaugurated on 21 April 1960. Dom Bosco is memorialized throughout the city, including a vast park in his honor. Based on its futuristic design, Brasilia was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
Brazil is also famous for amazing hashing. The HHH Genealogy lists the Sao Paulo H3 as the first hash club in Brazil, founded by Dave 'Mauler' Lawler on 5 Dec 1987. The last known contact with this club was 2010 for the Interhash Directory. Sao Paulo also has another club, the Brazil Nuts H3, founded by Jan 'Konkorde' Roberts in Jul 2000, after arriving from Jakarta, Indonesia. It appears both clubs held runs from 2000-2010, before the Sao Paulo H3 began to fade away (I have been told that the Sao Paulo H3 was a bit exclusive). Other hash clubs of Brazil are the Brasilia H3 originally founded in 1989, and has had a couple rebirths with the latest one in 2012. Other clubs include the Curitiba H3 founded in 1992, the Rio H3 in 2000, the Rio Full Moon H3 in 2002, and the Fortaleza H3 in 2005. Although COVID had shut down hashing all together for over a year, the Brazil Nuts H3 and Brasilia H3 are currently active, and the Rio H3 is showing signs of new life.
I recently spent a couple weeks in Brazil to visit a couple old friends from Europe, Weeny Schnitzel and MaBouche, experience the Brazilian culture, check out the beaches, and run some hash trails. The first one was on a Saturday afternoon with the Brazil Nuts H3. Trail was about an hour bus ride outside the city beyond the airport. We had a pack of about 14, and enjoyed a trail that took us to a near hilltop for some fantastic views of the region. After trail and a short circle, the BBQ was fired up for some tasty Brazilian BBQ. Saying goodbye to many new friends of the BNH3, it was then off to the coast for a few days and some beach time.
My second week in Brazil was in the capital city of Brasilia. I was fortunate to get an extensive tour of the city by the local hash kingpin and GM of the Brasilia H3, Opulence. Born in Germany, Opulence took off at an early age to see the world, eventually finding his way to Australia, where he would settle down for 28 years. Growing restless he took off again, discovering new places to explore and hash, and eventually wound up in Brazil, where he met and married a local girl. Finding the local hash in a state of disrepair, he soon took the club under his wing and has rebuilt it to a steady biweekly hash club that engages with the local community through “Hashers not Trashers” clean ups, and hosting the “Brasilia 4 Dummies” website supporting the local Expat community. The region is generally flat, with a few rolling hills, warm temps year-round and palm trees waving in the breeze. It has an expansive night life, open areas with a minimal spread of tall buildings and mostly single-family dwellings dotting the countryside.
After a few days getting to know the city, Sunday finally rolled around and it was time for a trail with the Brasilia H3. We had an excellent 8 Km trail, and the circle was fun, and the whole pack was so friendly . . . I will DEFINITELY be back to hash in Brasilia again. Why you ask, because after chatting with Opulence for a few days, we agreed that South America needs its own intracontinental hash event. So in June of 2023, Brasilia H3 will host the 1st running of the Pan SoAm Hash in Brazil. We will be taking bids for 2025 as this event moves around South America every two years.
In the Spotlight - Brunei
28 Sep 2013
Brunei is a small independent country (less than 6000 square kilometers) situated on the island of Borneo, surrounded by Malaysia on three sides, and the South China Sea to the north. Although it is small, Brunei hosts several hash clubs, and is home to the third oldest Hash Club: Hash House Harriers Brunei.
The founder, Colin Berwick, was only present at the first three trails in 1963 before being reassigned to a new military posting. He did not return for a visit until 1999, but he did write a letter in Dec 1987, nearly 25 years after founding of the Brunei hash, that provides interesting details of how things got started. I have added a few updates and provided some supporting details within the text. It ties nicely into the accounts of the founding of both the Singapore Hash and Kuching Hash clubs. Included in this letter is an interesting and very plausible spin on where the name Hash House Harriers comes from, since Cecil Lee made it clear that the food was generally quite good at the Royal Selangor Club, not the mundane gruel that has been attributed to the name. The boys actually ate HASH after their runs. Colin also appears to have coined the term H3.
In the Spotlight – Cambodia
14 May 2020
Cambodia (a.k.a. Kampuchea) is officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia. This wonderful country is full of many beautiful historic sites, with the most famous being the lost temple of Ankor Wat near Siem Reap. Cambodia has vacillated between communism, authoritarianism, unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, and various other forms of governing. Unified under the Khmer Empire in 802 AD, the country flourished for over 600 years, followed by over 300 years of decline due to the rise of Thailand to the west, and Vietnam to the east. In 1863, France claimed the lands as a protectorate, and it eventually became part of the greater French Indochina. Gaining its independence from France in 1953, the country soon became a central part of the Vietnam War, with the Khmer Rouge taking power in 1970. This eventually led to the mass genocide of the late 1970s under Pol Pot. After the Cambodian – Vietnamese War, the country was under Vietnamese control for 10 years, until the United Nations interceded until 1993, when elections were held. Cambodia is currently considered an elective constitutional monarchy under the Cambodian People’s Party.
Due to the civil unrest in the area, Cambodia was late in relative terms, to be graced with the arrival of the Hash House Harriers. Primarily located in 3 locations, that being the capital city of Phnom Penh, the coastal city of Preah Sihanouk (Sihanoukville), and the northern city of Siem Reap, the hash has seen many incarnations. First arriving in the capital, the Phnom Penh H3 was founded on 23 August 1992 by Lorna “Job” Jacques, according to the hash genealogy. A common warning was given in those early days, that hashers should not shortcut trail as you could end up running over mines!
The hash genealogy lists the UNCTAD H3 as the next iteration forming in February 1993. After a bit of research, UNCTAD stands for United Nations Conference on Trade And Development, which really does not make sense. Tapping into my own military background (and a bit more research), my best guess would be that it is actually the UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia), which sounds much more likely, as hashing has followed the military in numerous combat and peace keeping environments over its long and sordid history. As an example, in 1993 I was able to run a hash in Somalia during UNOSOM (United Nations Operation in Somalia). Much like this one-off hash, the UNTAC was probably a short-lived hashing experience while UN forces were deployed to Cambodia.
The Sihanoukville H3 was founded by Colin “Mister Memory” Jerom in 1995, but was short lived. Another iteration of a club in Sihanoukville was formed by John “Flasher” Critchley in late 2002, assisted by Peter "Miscarriage" Burke and Tim "Missing link" Salter. This hash club was based at the Seabreeze Hotel, which was part owned by Missing Link's brother John “Colonel Klunt” Salter. According to Flasher, the club ran a few times, and had even attracted a few locals to join, but abruptly ended when Colonel Klunt got called away for other career pursuits in Thailand. Shortly afterwards the hotel closed.
In 1997, Don “Big Boy” Boring created the myth of the Phnom Penh Full Moon All-Lesbian Nude Bike H3 (P2FMALNBH3). This is simply listed as the Phnom Penh Full Moon H3 in the hash genealogy, so I was unaware when I first started looking into its origin. In recent discussion with Big Boy, he reminded me this was only the gag shirt he created for Interhash 1998 in Kuala Lumpur. A second shirt was printed as a tribute to his fellow members of the Seoul H3 on the occasion of our 1500th hash. In an interesting twist of irony, I actually hared the Seoul H3 1500th hash up above Seoul (near the DMZ) on 12 February 2000. This club (only commemorated by the two shirts), never ran a trail, never existed (same as the Bordighera H3), but you can see the second shirt on page 43 in the Hash T-Shirt Museum at the bottom right corner.
The next hash club to form was the Angkor H3 in Siem Reap, founded by Franklin “Darjeeling” Pate in 2003. Darjeeling had previously hashed in Sri Lanka, where he had founded the Colombo H3 back in 1980. The original Ankor H3 was short lived, but in 2009, Hanno “Short Stump” Stamm restarted the club which had been dormant for a few years. According to Short Stump, the Ankor H3 “was very successful with many runs having more than 100 runners. We also organized the [Mekong Indochina Hash] in 2016.” Unfortunately, Short Stump departed Siem Reap in 2016, and the hash quickly faltered.
The next noted club was the Gentlefolk Abroad Saturday H3, as a splinter group off the Phnom Penh H3. Founded by Richard “Chicken Shit” Pullen in 2005, as the name alludes to, this was likely a more social aspect of hashing that was also short lived.
Outside of the three major locations previously listed, exists a hash club that is still clinging to life, but runs very sporadically. The Stung Treng Evergreen H3 was founded by Barbara "Hand Job" Rochester, with the first run being held on 4 October 2011. They usually conduct 2 or 3 trails a year, but if you contact Hand Job, she stated she could set you up with some locals in the area and potentially organize a hash for you. Stung Treng is located in Northern Cambodia, just south of the Laotian border.
I have had the pleasure to do 4 or 5 hash trails in Cambodia on a couple of their event weekends. The first was their 20th anniversary hash back in 2012, and the most recent being back in December of last year for their 1500th Hash. On both occasions, we boarded a river boat along the Tonle Sap River, and steamed our way up to one of the islands in the middle of the Mekong River. The 1500th trail (main event) was an excellent 12 Km trail on dirt tracks, through cow pastures, and along dusty backroads, that ended back along the river. An excellent circle, with food and adult beverage that accompanied an amazing sunset, followed by a return boat trip down the Mekong that lasted until well after dark. Current GM, Flaccido Domingo, let me know that the first annual Cambodia Nash Hash took place in Kampong Cham in 2012. This went on for four years until 2016, when they decided to host them every two years.
Hashing in Cambodia is amazing, and tie that in with a couple days sightseeing in Siem Reap, and a couple days on the beach in Sihanoukville, you can easily fill up a week or two vacation. So, when you get the chance to travel again, keep Cambodia in mind. Just hit Cambodia on the links at http://gotothehash.net
In the Spotlight - Colombia
30 Mar 2021
Colombian history can be traced back nearly 15 thousand years, and is naturally and culturally diverse due to being the migration point between North and South America. Annexed by Spain in the early 16th century, it was declared the “New Kingdom of Granada.” Over the ensuing centuries Colombia has had many other names, including the United States of Colombia. However, since 1886 it draws its current name, “The Republic of Colombia,” from early Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Geographically, Colombia has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, and is bordered by the 5 countries of Ecuador and Peru to the south, Brazil and Venezuela to the east, and Costa Rica to the north up until 1906, when Panama gained its independence.
Now, you may wonder when hashing first found its way to Colombia, well that is a good question. The hash genealogy had scant information on this, listing only that there was a Bogota H3, founded on 31 Jan 1993. No founder, no origin, and no descendants. After a bit (quite a bit, but always looking for more details) of research, I was able to track down some old-time hashers and confirmed that the first Bogota H3 lasted only a couple years in the early 1990s, and that the Britannia Inn was a common hangout. The second iteration of the Bogota H3 was founded in January 1998 by Simon ‘Delhi Boy’ Batty, who had hashed his way around Egypt and the United Kingdom, before arriving in Colombia. This hash also only lasted a couple years, holding about 20 hash runs, before fading away around the time that Delhi Boy moved on to Greece in 2000. The third iteration of the Bogota H3 actually links me to hashing in Colombia. Founded on 14 January 2012, by George 'Nut 'n Bone' Samuel assisted by Jorge 'Corey Feldman' Miramontes, who both came to Bogota from Korea where they hashed with the Seoul Southside H3, a club I founded back in 1999 (small world). This third iteration had a steady following of 12-15 hashers, and lasted for almost three years until Corey moved on to Saudi Arabia.
The fourth, and current iteration of the Bogota H3 was founded by Crystle-Day ‘CD’ Villanueva on 6 July 2019, having arrived in Colombia from the Xian H3 in China. The pack is very young, but enthusiastic, led by CD who makes everyone feel at home. On my recent visit to Bogota, I was fortunate to be able to join them on an out-station weekend event at Cerro de Quininí (which is a national park, with a massive outcropping of plate tectonic rock, pushed upwards to form an amazing ledge overlooking Porto Bello). We had two excellent trails, and enjoyed Colombian BBQ and played a couple hours of Tejo, the traditional throwing sport of Colombia. Tejo is similar to Cornhole, but you throw shaped stones at a board of clay. There is a metal circle in the middle, lined with small explosive charges. Closest to the center scores the points, hitting the charges can also score points.
To the north, I also discovered that the first iteration of Medellin H3 was founded on 8 August 2005, by Andres 'Dazed and Confused' Vargas, who had returned home after a stint with the Ankara H3 in Turkey. This first Medellin H3 club had a short tenure of less than a year, when DnC moved on to China. Hashing would not return to Medellin again until 19 January 2019, when current founder ‘Pablo Pisscobar’ moved in from Bogota. Pablo was introduced to hashing in San Diego, California, and hashed his way around the United States before returning to his home in Colombia to rejuvenate the club in Medellin, after a short stay in Bogota. He was assisted by ABBAA (Another Blonde Bearded Arain Asshole), and currently run trails monthly on Saturday afternoons. Additionally, history is also about to be made in Colombia, as the Medellin H3 will host the InterAmericas’ Hash in September 2022. This will be first time this (or any major regional hash event) will be held in South America.
I recently had the pleasure to hash in Medellin as well. The Medellin H3 trail was on the Saturday after St Patrick’s day, so was themed as a Green Dress Run. It was a warm sunny day in the city, and we had an excellent pack of 12 hashers (5 of them were virgins). The scheduled hare had to drop out at the last minute, but Pablo Pisscobar stepped up to set an excellent 8 Km trail through the city. Trail made its way through several parks and neighborhoods, with plenty of elevation, which is common in Colombia. Trail was followed a lively circle, including welcoming 5 virgins, and one interesting naming. This hash is working hard to grow its numbers and spread the hashing culture here in Colombia.
If you are looking for a fun and interesting city to visit and hash in, put both Bogota and Medellin on your list . . . and don’t forget about InterAmericas’ Hash next year. Pablo is bringing lots of new life into the hashing effort in Medellin, with several young and virgin hashers. They should be old salts by the time IAH rolls around next year. By the way, I am collecting names for volunteers who want to assist with packing and handing out goodie bags, haring, and various other requirements to put on IAH next year, all are welcome to help, Spanish speakers preferred.
In the Spotlight - Costa Rica
10 Mar 2022
Costa Rica is one of seven countries that make up Central America, but they are all really just part of North America, along with Canada, Greenland, the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the east, Costa Rica also has coasts on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. As with most of the countries in this region, Spain was the first to dock their ships along the coast, but Costa Rica eventually claimed its independence in 1821. Aligning with Mexico for a couple years, then the Federal Republic of Central America, Costa Rica achieved its own autonomy in 1838.
Costa Rica is a relatively small country, with a population of around 5 million. The landscape is dominated by over 100 active and extinct volcanos with the most recent eruption in 2010, and is predominately an agriculturally based society. Although Spanish is the official language, English is widely spoken in urban areas. Costa Ricans enjoy a high standard of living, making it a popular place for tourism and expat retirement.
As you might expect, the Hash House Harriers has also become a staple in the capital city of San Jose. I spent an afternoon with Ian Young in San Jose recently, where he told me about how he first found the hash in the newspaper in Hong Kong in 1969, and was on trail #2 of the newly formed Hong Kong H3. Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ian got a job with Pfizer, and that took him all over the world. He hashed in Hong Kong for a couple years before being transferred to Korea, where he founded the Seoul H3 in 1972. He was then sent back to Hong Kong before eventually making his way to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and Ian got busy with other activities for a couple years, and did not feel he was meeting the right sort of people that would be interested in the hash. That was, until he met Bill Barbee. Explaining the concept in detail, Bill immediately thought it was a great idea to get a club started, so he and Ian started getting the word out. The first hash trail set was on 3 Feb 1979, when Ian Young and Bill Barbee founded the San Jose H3. Although Ian was the founder, he was transferred to Colombia shortly after starting the club, and it was actually Bill Barbee that was the driving force to keep the San Jose H3 going after Ian’s departure. Under Bill’s guiding hand, based on what he learned from Ian, the pack continued to grow. So much so, that with hashers living all over the city, the run start locations were also all over the city. This went on for over 25 years.
Ian continued on with his life and career throughout the 80s and 90s, living in several other countries and eventually starting a family. He weaved in and out of hashing during this time, but did spend some time in England and Indonesia where he was able to connect with other hash groups, but family life limited his desire to start a new club where there was none. After retiring from a long and successful career with Pfizer, Ian and his wife moved back to San Jose.
As with many metropolitan areas, over the years the growth of the city was outpaced by the growth in traffic, and it became harder to get through town for the weekly runs. Both Ian and Bill lived in Escazu out in the western suburbs of San Jose, along with many of the old timers, and this group started to miss too many trails. To ensure everyone was able to get their weekly fix of hashing, a splinter group was formed. On 10 Jan 2005, Millard 'Fancy Pants' Farmer took the lead on forming the aptly named Escazu H3. The two-club system went on happily for a number of years, but eventually numbers started to drop much like in other parts of the world. The breakaway old timers of the Escazu H3 rejoined the others and they all have run together as the San Jose H3 since.
More recently, another new hash club has formed about 3 hours’ drive south of San Jose in Uvita, founded by Dave “SCFAL” Peters and Pam “GILF” Kexel. These two lovers first came to Costa Rica for InterAmericas’ Hash in 2003, where they started their lives together. Going back to their homes in Waukesha, they married and lived happily for many years. Then, they woke up to the realization that it snows in Wisconsin like 10 months out of the year. They devised a plan to return to the land that they loved down in Central America, and hatched a plan to build their dream home, along with a few cabanas to rent out.
Although still under construction, Camino a la Paz is a small eco retreat in Uvita that will have rentals of 3 full apartments, with 4 queen beds and 3 futons, sleeping 11 people, along with a pool on site (and camping space if you desire). The area is full of opportunity for full on adventure hashing, full on beach bum, or somewhere in between. The facility is surrounded by jungle and wildlife including monkeys, scarlet macaws, sloths, and iguanas. Along with that the Uvita H3 was born. If you would like to gather a few hasher friends and try out some hashing in Costa Rica, contact GILF on WhatsApp at 506.8665.6983 and make your reservations (special hash rates apply . . . and you can also help schedule a hash run). They are hashers through and through and miss their hash family. If you come and visit, they will set trail, show you around town, or just be available as needed.
But wait, that is not the end of the story . . . Costa Rica has another unique aspect when it comes to hashing, dreamed up by Giles “Patchwork-Quilt” Paget-Wilkes. Patch first arrived in Costa Rica in 1979, just after the San Jose H3 was formed. He was on run #5 and immediately become a regular. It would only be a few short years before Patch became the Grand Master of the San Jose H3, and looking out over the world of hashing decided that one city, nor even one country, was big enough for his rule. He hatched the idea of creating a bigger event . . . making San Jose the birthplace of the biennial InterAmericas’ Hash in February 1984.
In the 1985 annual program of the San Jose H3, Patch described it this way. “As usual this year some great guys have left us for ‘greener pastures’ . . . However things are changing compared with the early days when people just disappeared, as all of these people are either running with other hashes or have started a new chapter if there was nothing in the town they moved to. As a result Hashing has spread like wildfire through Central America with 3 new clubs in the last year. Communication between all these new and existing clubs was greatly improved by the first Inter-Americas Hash, which was held in San Jose this February. With Hashers from 16 different clubs at the gathering many long lasting relationships were initiated, and this together with greatly increased travel and visiting between the clubs is helping to form a solid hashing network throughout the Hemisphere. This can only result in benefit and enjoyment for all concerned, which is what hashing is all about.”
Patch can also be seen explaining the first INTERAM, as it is now known. Approximately 250 hashers turned up for that first one, so another was held again in 1985. INTERAM has continued on the odd years (with the exception of 2021 due to COVID) opposite INTERHASH ever since. The next one will be the 20th INTERAM, and is scheduled to take place in September 2023 in Guatape, Colombia. The whole history of INTERAM is coming out soon.
I recently had the pleasure of traveling to San Jose for the 43rd anniversary of hashing in Costa Rica, and was able to meet up with both Ian Young and Patch-Work-Quilt. I first met PWQ in 1993 on a hash run with the Mosquito County H3 in Florida, that ended at his house. I’ll have more on that in a future article, but on this event we had a fine hash social on Friday night where we got to meet and greet with about 25 hashers. Saturday, we had a hash trail with the San Jose H3 out in the countryside, along with a BBQ after a short trail (it was 3 miles if you ran it 4 times, like I did). Keep in mind, the majority of the pack here is in their late 60s and up (Ian will be 80 in May), and the trail was all shiggy with a few obstacles.
On Sunday, we boarded a bus for what was usually a 90 minute drive, but it ended up taking 2.5 hours to get to the beach out in Jaco. The newly formed Uvita H3 sponsored this trail, which had us first going up the hill for a beer stop on the top of a steep dirt road (with some 4 & 5 points of contact on the eagle loop). All this leading us up to some great views, then back down for a long stretch on the black sand beach. We watched a local surfing contest for a bit, then circled up for a few down downs and songs, before grabbing some delightful food and watching the sunset. We then boarded the bus back into San Jose, which by this time, the beach goers were all doing the same, and it would take 4 hours to get back. As you might guess, we had to make a couple breaks to download, and upload, more beer. Costa Rica is amazing, come visit . . . you will not be disappointed.
In the Spotlight - Croatia
8 Mar 2020
Croatia, or rather Hrvatska as it is pronounced in Croatian, was once part of the former Yugoslavia. Declaring independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, along with Slovenia, resulted in a period of unrest and 4 years of war in the region. Since 1995, Hrvatska has seen many years of economic growth and peace, and today is a thriving and peaceful country. In the midst of this, the city of Zagreb has enjoyed weekly bliss in the form of the Hash House Harriers. Founded on 2 Jan 1975 by Paul Redmond, who had been hashing in Washington, DC, and Peter Armstrong who had most recently been hashing in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, were both in attendance at a Christmas Eve party in 1974 in Zagreb. I recently joined in for a run with the Zagreb H4, and the following story was explained to me by Sir John (the Sir was added when he hit 1000 hash runs), who has been running with the Zagreb H4 since its third hash back in January 1975, and has been a member ever since. If you do the math (45 years times 52 weeks a year, that equals 2340 weeks), and on my recent visit I had the great opportunity to run on Zagreb H4 Trail #2355. So, you can easily see that no level of threat kept the hash from running their weekly trails. Although there is no sign in or records, Sir John figures he has run nearly 1900 trails with Zagreb H4.
Getting back to the founders, as Sir John explained to me, Paul and Peter were chatting at the Christmas party, and Paul mentioned he wanted to start a hash. Peter responded with something like, how do you know about the hash, and the conversation went on to reveal how they both were hashers and had hashed in Kuala Lumpur some years ago. Two weeks later the first trail was set, and included great hash drama. As Sir John continued to explain, the pack of about 10 got arrested when locals heard a bunch of foreigners running through the woods yelling. The police were called, and they come out to investigate, eventually arresting the whole pack. On the way to the police station, Paul says he has to call his wife, as she is sick. He actually calls some local officials, but tells the police that his sick wife wanted to talk to them. Handing the phone over to the police, they are informed that Paul and Peter are diplomats, and the police need to return them to their start location and drop them off. Disgruntled, they do just that, and the Hash is never bothered again. The hash genealogy includes listings for the Zagreb Strollers H3 founded in May 1995 by Derek “Poopers” Cooper, which has faded into the sunset. Also listed is the Dalmatian H3 founded in Jun 2003 by Sami “Antibiotic” Sakoman, that conducts hash cruises every year or two (8 so far) along the islands and coast line of the Adriatic Sea.
On my recent visit, I found Zagreb to be lovely and well-maintained. The hash met on the north side of the city, in a park that bordered on the forest. After some brief introductions and instructions, we set off down the road. Soon enough, we turned right onto an access trail that began a long uphill climb through the forest, on dirt roads and associated mountain bike trails. Dodging many mud puddles and various other obstacles, the pack of about a dozen solved many checks to eventually arrive at the top of the mountain. From there, as they say, it was all downhill, and the pack was soon all gathered up back at the start. Since it was still about 12C degrees out, we all quickly changed into dry clothes, and then gathered for some socializing.
On the Zagreb hash, there is no charge, but the hares are responsible to provide food and beer for the pack. Our lead hare for the day was Quickie, and she had set out a large loaf of bread, with a stack of cheese and meat, and two cases of beer. As we munched away, she explained that her father had cooked a pot of beans and sausages the night before, but something happened overnight, and the whole pot went bad. “It all went into the toilet” she explained. Another hasher chimed in, “It was destined to end up there anyway” to many chuckles. A quick circle covered most of the usual offenses, and after about 45 minutes, with our toes and fingers going numb, we bid farewell and moved on to the warmth of the car. It was a great day with the Zagreb H4, and I will certainly be coming back (when it is warmer out) for another run around the forest. Many thanks to the Zagreb H4.
In the Spotlight - Cyprus
29 Feb 2020
Cyprus is a fairly large island in the Eastern Mediterranean, with Turkey to the north and Egypt to the south. Based on its precarious location, Cyprus has a long history of conquest, being part of the ruling empires of the Persians, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans, and the Ottomans, just to name a few. Cyprus gained its independence in 1960 (capital city being Nicosia), under a three-way agreement of Great Britain, Greece, and Turkey. In order to have a successful three way, you need to hit it and quit it. But this three-way endured, and has resulted in decades of strife. By way of a series of hostile actions, initiated by a coup d’état by the Greek Cypriots and followed by an invasion by Turkey in 1974, Cyprus has been divided into a northern Turkish Cypriot sector, and a southern Greek Cypriot sector. Although in recent years the island has enjoyed a relative amount of calm, the border is still monitored by numerous outposts on both sides. I arrived at the northern airport at Ercan, Nicosia, rented a car, and headed south. Crossing the border (either way) was fairly simple, but required the purchase of an insurance policy for about 25 Euros.
In the heart of the worst of the troubled times, due to an extensive military presence, the first of many hash clubs appeared. On 30 Jan 1967, Ray Thornton assisted by Jim Pell, John Symons, and N. Gris Davis-Scourfield, founded the Dhekelia H3. Not only was the Dhekelia H3 the first hash on Cyprus, it was also the first hash in Europe. Ironically, up until this week, they claimed to be the “longest running” hash in Europe, still mentioning the footnote of the Bordighera H3 in Italy. I provided the details to them that the Bordighera H3 has been decidedly discovered to have been a hoax based on Amnesia’s research, and they are in fact the true and original first hash in Europe. Another interesting point about the Dhekelia H3, since they were founded in the 60s before the advent of the Jakarta Circle in the70s, they do not conduct a circle. Just a great trail, drink some beer, laugh joke and socialize, and occasionally followed by a dinner.
The hash genealogy, so brilliantly collected by “Tumblin’ Bill” Panton, lists numerous other hash clubs that were formed and faltered over the past half century, including bike hashes, full moon hashes, and clubs in various other cities. Thankfully, there are still currently 8 active hash clubs on Cyprus including the Dhekelia H3; they are the Episkopi H3 (Nov 1967), the Polygon H3 (1981), the Larnaka H3 (Apr 1987), the Amathus H3 (Jun 1987), the Nicosia Horrible H3 (1989), the Kition H3 (1999), and the Happy Valley H3 (2006). Cyprus was also the site of INTERHASH 1996, hosted in Limassol.
On my recent visit, I was able to hash with 4 clubs (Larnaka, Nicosia Horrible, Dhekelia, and Polygon) in 4 days, but it took a bit of driving (of note: all the currently existing hash clubs run on the southern Greek side of the border. There are no active hash clubs on the northern side of the border). All the hashers I met were very friendly, and very welcoming. Only looking at the clubs I ran with, most hashers here are expats with the exception of the Nicosia Horrible H3, who proudly claimed they were all born and raised here on Cyprus. All four trails were good fun, and provided the opportunity to see several parts of the island for such a short visit. I will no doubt be coming back for future visits to hash on Cyprus.
In the Spotlight - Czech Republic (Czechia)
27 Aug 2021
Located in Central Europe, the Czech Republic (a.k.a. Czechia since 2016) is a landlocked country, bordered by Germany to the north-west, Poland to the north-east, and Austria and Slovakia to the south. According to the World Factbook, Czechia merged with Slovakia after World War I to become Czechoslovakia. After several ruling parties failed, including annexation by Germany in World War II, Czechoslovakia fell behind the Iron Curtain of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party was “swept from power at the end of 1989 and inaugurated a return to democratic rule and a market economy. On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a nonviolent [separation] into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.”
The first hash club to form in then Czechoslovakia, was the Prague H3 in 1984. The founder was Dave 'Fantum' Lewis, and he was assisted by his wife Terri 'Shadow' Lewis, and Glen 'Hornblowes' Johnson. Fantum and Shadow were international school teachers, and that afforded them the opportunity to live and work in many different locations around the world. They were introduced to hashing in the late 70s while working in Indonesia, by Brian ‘Clavdivs’ O’Sullivan, the founder of the Rumbai H3 (founded 24 April 1978), in Sumatra, Indonesia.
I was able to track down Fantum, and he told me that . . . “We moved to Prague when hired to work at the International School of Prague [ISP]. We loved Prague but missed Hashing as it had become an important part of our lives. By that time, we had attended Interhashes in Kuala Lumpur  and Jakarta .” They wasted no time in getting a new hash club started in Prague, setting their first trail on 24 Oct 1984. Those early trails were often prelayed, and ended at hashers homes. Fantum also mentioned that “Glenn Johnson and his wife Karen were our neighbors and fellow staff members at ISP. They were new to the concept of Hash but were instant converts.”
I was curious as to how difficult it may have been to start a hash behind the Iron Curtin, so when asked about it, Fantum told me that “Starting the Hash was relatively easy. Due to restrictions of the time, only non-Czechs could join, but we had quite a number of foreigners who were eager for physical and social activity. We did have one Czech, Eva Parun, PE teacher at ISP, who could join us because she had a foreign (New Zealand) passport.” The Prague H3 has been hampered due to COVID, and has been in hibernation for several months, but you can see more on their website.
The next hash club to from was the Prague Once in a Blue Moon H3, on 25 Aug 2002. Founded by Irena 'Bouncing Czech' Brichta, who added this new club while also hashing with the Prague H3, but unfortunately is no longer active. More recently, the Brno H3 was founded by Damien 'Sloppy Stool' Smethurst on 16 February 2019, and is still active. Sloppy was the chairman of the recent EUROHASH held in Prague in August 2021, where over 450 attendees gathered for some great hashing and enjoyment. I found the countryside to be very much like Germany, with numerous trails throughout the forested areas, with rolling hills and amazing views that were open to access for running, hiking, and biking.
As a side note, Slovakia also has had one hash club, the Bratislava H3, that was founded by Matt 'Groin' Erickson on 12 Aug 1994. Their runs in recent years have been sporadic, and often in conjunction with the Vindobona H3 out of Austria. The last recorded trail I could find on their Facebook page was trail #342 on 9 September 2018.
In the Spotlight - Ecuador
1 Mar 2021
Ecuador is one of just 11 countries that are split by the equator, but the only one that gets its name from it, as Ecuador is Spanish for equator. Roughly two thirds of the worlds land mass resides in the Northern Hemisphere, but 90 percent of Ecuador is in the Southern Hemisphere, along with the Capital of Quito, and the two major cites of Guayaquil and Cuenca. Located on the west coast of South America, Ecuador has a population of just over 16 million and is bordered by Colombia to the north, and Peru to the south. Over 500 years ago, Ecuador was at the northern tip of the Inca Empire, and is represented by the Ingapirca Temple site. The mystical Galapagos Islands are also part of Ecuador, located about one thousand kilometers off the coast in the Pacific Ocean.
The joy of hashing was first introduced to Ecuador in the capital city of Quito on 14 December 1986 by Alan Fernie, who had previously hashed in China with the Guangzhou H3. He was assisted by Phil 'Tonto' Townsend from Aberdeen, and Mark Grove-Smith from Karachi. I was lucky enough to meet Tony ‘Upchuck’ Lloyd, who ran with Quito H3 in the mid-1990s. He explained to me that there were two trails every week, years ago. The first on Sunday was more family oriented, and would take the pack out into the countryside. The Monday trail ran more in the city and was predominantly expat men. He also explained that there were monthly outstation hash events that would take the adventurous hashers to other locations throughout Ecuador. Upchuck put me in touch with Mark Thurber who was an avid hasher, who stated “I remember the Quito H3 as an important social event for expats and some Ecuadorians in the 1990s and 2000s.” He also mentioned that “. . . the Quito H3 hash was a friendly environment for all types, families with children, young single people, and very welcoming to new comers from all walks of life and nationalities.” Paula ‘Knotted Crotch’ Newton, who was a regular on the Quito Hash between 2008 and 2011, also added that “One of the best hashes that I did [in Quito] was the ‘Purple Dress Hash’ - we had a lot of fun, and the locals in the city that day were very amused by it. We also ran events at the Pululahua Crater and out at Papallacta Hot Springs.”
The next hash to form was the Galapagos Boobies H3, founded by Jill ‘Front Bun Flasher’ Pether on 1 June 2014. Jill had previously hashed with the Batu Hijau H3 in Sumbawa, Indonesia and the Kiribati H3 before that. She was assisted by Cindy ‘Tuna Helper’ Cook. Jill told me that “GBH3 was set up as a women’s group with men accepted. They had to carry eggs on their first run, symbolic of our eggs. Our red dress run money went to Darwin Animal Doctors.” She has since moved on to Australia, but has fond memories of her time in the Galapagos.
Unfortunately, the Quito H3 and Galapagos Boobies H3 clubs are not active at the present time, but hashing has recently been revived in Ecuador by Rick ‘Circle Jerk’ Murray. Circle Jerk founded the Cuenca Alpaca’s H3 on 14 Sep 2019, assisted by Audrey ‘Missed Lyrics’ Kenyon from Trinidad, in the city of Santa Ana de los Rios of Cuenca. Circle Jerk is a bit of a hash traveler, and hails from Prince Edward Island in Canada, his home hash is the Ottawa H3. Traveling back and forth to Ecuador for the past few years, he eventually met Missed Lyrics, and they decided that Cuenca needed a hash club. The Cuenca Alpaca's H3 runs monthly on a Saturday afternoon, and fortunately for me, I had the good fortune to hash with them on my recent visit to Ecuador. Being February, the theme for this trail was Mardi Gras, so the pack was adorned in beads, masks, and brightly colored clothing. We had a solid 25 hashers on hand, and trail started from a Beer Garden that serves and distributes local craft beers. The Cuenca hash club is still new, and developing their identity, but the hash spirit is alive and well here in Ecuador. If you are looking for a friendly, warm, and inexpensive place to visit, put Ecuador on your list (and don’t forget to include a trip out to the Galapagos Islands, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites).
In the Spotlight - Egypt
16 Mar 2020
Everyone knows that Egypt has those amazing Pyramids, tombs of many ancient kings including King Tut, the mouth of the Nile river, and the Sphynx. Egypt has such a long history, trying to paraphrase it to a few key items would be a disservice. There have also been a series of revolutions and attempted constitutional changes over recent decades, that also cannot be condensed into anything comprehensive enough to grasp the complexity, so let’s just talk about hashing. Despite the continued upheavals, the hash continues to give people in Cairo a chance to get away from it all and enjoy the good company of their fellow hashers.
Located on the North-Eastern most point of the African Continent, Egypt has seen many hash clubs come and go. According to the current GM, the first attempt to start a hash in Cairo in Feb 1980 lasted just about 2 months and fell over. A few short months later, the same group got it going again when Adrian Hromiak organized the current and longstanding Cairo H3, running its first trail on 19 Oct 1980. On my recent visit, the Cairo H3 enjoyed their 2089th consecutive trail in Egypt. According to the hash genealogy, other hash clubs that have come and gone include the Alexandria H3 (a.k.a. the Delta H3), founded by Angus McComiskey on 27 Aug 1984; the Heliopolis Atomic Breakfast H3, founded by Stan “Organ-iza” Andrzejewski on 06 Feb 1998; and the second coming of the Delta H3, founded by Jimmy Riddel on 01 Mar 2009, who had previously been hashing in Dhaka.
To get some more background on hashing in Egypt, I turned to my old friend Ra (and when I say old, I mean he is old . . . not me). Ra lived in Cairo from 1989 to 1994, and stated he was the RA of the Cairo hash for about three years up until just before his departure. Some of the highlights from Ra included the world's entirely first underwater hash held on 9 November 1990 at Sharm El Sheikh over near the Sinai. He stated that “in addition to a land-based hash that weekend, a fully underwater hash dead-hare trail was laid using fluorescent orange aluminum squares 1-inch on a side. 5 hares served as safety divers and leaders of groups of 4-5 scuba Hashers which set off with a delay so each group could break trail out of sight of the previous and succeeding groups. Fortunately, everyone (barely) survived.” Ra also pointed out that “on 22 March 1996, Cairo Hash held a Hash which left Africa and emerged in Asia, by running through a yet to be flooded irrigation tunnel under the Suez Canal. More than 100 people ran the trail which was around Port Said and finished with a run through the tunnel to arrive in Sinai.”
The Cairo hash currently runs every Friday, often meeting outside the Ace Club in Ma’Adi at 1300, before driving out to some place in the desert to run awesome trails. Most people are probably aware that Egypt has an arid desert type environment. Checking through the climactic history shows that Cairo experiences on average, just one inch of rain per year. On Thursday of my recent visit, Cairo experienced a near biblical downpour of over 3 inches of rain that flooded out many parts of the city. Water service was actually discontinued in parts of the city to reduce the flow into the backed-up sewage systems. This torrential downpour also flooded the intended trail site, leaving some areas impassable. Despite all this, the hash goes on. Changing gears, the hares reorganized a 5 Km city run that weaved its way through and around many flooded streets, leading to beer checks in their homes along the way. The finish was at the GM’s place of residence, where we got to witness the story he explained earlier on trail. There on the street, was his vehicle with a tree tipped over on it, crushing the roof and hood (bonnet). Right next to the vehicle, on the side walk, was a small one-man guard shack also partially crushed. On the bright side, the guard who was sitting in the shack at the time the tree fell over, claims the car saved his life, as he certainly would have been crushed had it not broken the tree’s fall. Talk about having . . . a lucky day.
Anyway, making our way to the roof, we enjoyed a rousing circle alongside the rooftop pool. After 30-40 minutes, and nearly finished anyway, oncoming rain broke up the circle, so we all hiked on back to the Ace Club for some dinner and a few more beers. As you might expect, hash songs spontaneously broke out, and fueled by more beers, lasted for a good hour or more. In the end, a grand time was had, and off we went back into the drizzle to find a hot shower and dry clothes. Here’s to the continued success to the Cairo H3, with many more awesome trails.
In the Spotlight - Fiji
28 Jan 2018
Fiji is an island nation of nearly 1 million people, located in the South Pacific about 2000 Kms North-East of New Zealand. Consisting of more than 330 islands, about 110 have permanent residents, with the two largest islands are Viti Levu and Vanau Levu. There are currently six hash clubs listed as being active for Fiji, and they are all on the island of Viti Levu. The first recorded hash club for Fiji is the Suva H3 beginning to run on 26 November 1974, and was founded by Joe Shaw who came to Fiji from Port Moresby. About a 4 hour drive away from Suva, the Lautoka H3 formed in March 1976 by Grant "Snotty" Scott who had run with the Suva H3. Soon after, the Suva Harriettes formed, with the first trail in 1977 but no longer appears to be active.
The Lautoka Hospital H3 was formed in December 1982 by Dr. Raghwa Narayan, and is believed to be the only such hash club in the world at a hospital. The Nadi H4 was founded on 5 February 1990 by Neville "Weathercock" Koop, with the support of Steve "Slippery" Hanrahan, Jon "Wigless" Orton, and Rodwell "Period" Campbell, and is short 30 minute drive south of Lautoka. The Pacific Harbour H3 was founded on 24 June 1999 by Jon "Wigless" Orton, and is located about an hours' drive west of Suva. And finally, the Suva Full Moon H3 was founded on 25 March 2004 by Stephen "Reverend" Keevil. Fiji is the honored host of World Interhash 2018, taking place in May, in the city of Nadi.
Full Moon Hashing
In the Spotlight - Full Moon Hashing
30 Jun 2017
There are numerous Full Moon HHH clubs around the world these days, seems every big city can boast of having one of these monthly hash clubs. But do you know when and where they became such a phenomenon? My first recollection of running a Full Moon hash was back on Okinawa in 1984-85, when the Okinawa HHH would occasionally host a Full Moon trail as part of their normal rotation.
After digging through the hash archives, there is some scant evidence of full moon hash club forming in Singapore in 1983, Christchurch in 1984, and Chicago in 1987. I was unable to validate any existence in Singapore and Christchurch, but was able to validate with Horn-E that the Chicago Full Moon Hash actually started in 1988.
So, that leaves San Diego as the “Original” home of the first Full Moon HHH club. Digging into the history books, we find that the founder of the Okinawa HHH (1980) was Dal “Jock” Trader, who coincidentally also founded the San Diego HHH in 1981. Hmmm, I think we found a link . . . but, the Original Full Moon HHH in San Diego was founded by our old friend John “Mr Spock” Martin, ably assisted by David “Van Go” Painter on 17 October 1987. So I contacted Jock, but he has never run a full moon hash, so that also is a dead end.
I would be very interested to hear from anyone out there with any background on their first experience with a Full Moon hash club prior to 1987.
Future of the Hash House Harriers
In the Spotlight - The Future of the Hash House Harriers
10 May 2021
The best way to understand the future of this eccentric pastime, is to know and understand some of the background. If you have read the history of harrier clubs, you already know they are the human adaptation of the age-old method of hunting with dogs. If you are not familiar with this, you can get a more detailed description. This human act of mimicking canines started out as a children’s game sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century in the United Kingdom. One or two children acted as the hare, setting a trail with paper, and the other kids playing the part as the dogs on the hunt.
Harrier clubs first became an adult activity in 1867 when the Thames Rowing Club took up running to stay fit in the offseason. Harrier club popularity and growth followed the expansion of the British Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century, most notably into South East Asia. Early clubs include the Kinta Harriers, Malacca Harriers, Kuala Lumpur Harriers, and Springgit Harriers. Then, at some point in 1938, Alberto Esteban Ignacio Gispert, (a.k.a. "G") convinced a few friends to join him on a harrier run. Recalling that there had already been a Kuala Lumpur Harrier club, G decided to call this new club the Hash House Harriers (HHH). Many of the early members lived in the Selangor Club chambers, where they often ate at a small Chinese café (referred to as the Hash House) on the grounds of the Selangor Club.
The original Hash House Harriers club was disrupted for a few years during World War 2, but restarted in 1946. While other harrier clubs continued to spread with the expat community, back in the United Kingdom they transitioned to more of a racing preparation atmosphere. Fortunately, an anomaly occurred in 1962 in Singapore, that would begin the formation of Hash House Harrier clubs into a worldwide phenomenon.
Although Ian Cumming is generally credited with founding the second hash club, Ian recollected things differently. In a letter written 30 years hence, Ian suggested that "Shortly after our arrival in Singapore, in 1961, my wife and I became aware of the eerie dearth of activity following weekends, and although she has denied it vehemently ever since, Jane was the first to suggest that what was lacking was the Hash.” Excited to get back into hashing, Ian set about to organizing a new club. First thing he did was contact John Vincent, who was the current Honorary Secretary (HonSec) of the HHH back in KL (a.k.a. Mother Hash), to enquire if there was some sort of process of coordinating affiliation. According to Ian, the response he received “established the incredibly enlightened tone of International Hashing that has endured.” The response was along the lines of "I donno. Do what the hell you like. Nothing to do with us. Let us know how you get on." With that short exchange, the second club (a.k.a. Hash House Harriers Singapore, or “Father Hash” as it eventually became known as) was born.
HHH Singapore had a slow start, but gained a steady following. Other current and former hashers from KL and Singapore continued to migrate to other locations, and more Hash Clubs would form. By the end of 1963, there were clubs in Brunei, Kuching, Sandakan, and Miri. Sibu and Jeselton (Kota Kinabalu) would see new clubs in 1964, and in 1965, Ipoh and Penang rounded out the first ten hash clubs. Early records indicate that by the end of 1975, there were 68 clubs in 23 countries. Coincidently, at this point in history, the running craze was taking over throughout the world, after Frank Shorter won the marathon in the 1972 Olympics, and Jim Fixx published “A Complete Book of Running.”
Hash House Harrier clubs would continue to flourish throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, when we reached what I believe was the heyday of hashing. At that time, various accounts stated there were over 2000 hash clubs. A detailed review, or even a cursory scanning of the HHH Genealogy clearly shows that the greatest expansion of clubs, was during this period, but began to taper off in the late 90s. This, along with the fading of the running craze, can likely be attributed to the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) (a.k.a. the Internet).
Surprisingly, up until this point, growth of hashing was mostly by word of mouth, and we relied on printed paper copies of directories, or other rudimentary means of finding hash clubs (e.g. listings in phone books, or calling one of the local embassies). I recall using a printed copy of a directory published by Mr. Spock in San Diego, to find a dozen or so clubs on a cross country US tour in 1993. Even as late as 1999, in South Korea, we were still publishing paper copies of the hash trash to drop off at local hotels and expat hangouts to provide the weekly start locations to members. In more recent times, the Internet has made it significantly easier to find hash clubs all over the world, but has also contributed to our demise, in that it is also much easier to find a multitude of other activities to participate in.
I probably should insert one of those “trigger warnings” here, I am a ‘boomer’ and what I have to say from here on out may be controversial. Now, having said all that . . . the original intent of this article was about the future of hashing, and I will start by saying that the hash world is in decline, and has been for about 20 years. I have had several discussions about this over the decade or so, with my older hash friends (no pun intended). As mentioned, the Internet has contributed to the decline of hashing, as you would expect, so too has the aging of the multitude of hashers. Coming up on 40 years of hashing myself, those of us who were enthusiastic runners back in the 70s and 80s, are now pushing 60, and on up into their 80s (insert a mental image of the self-acclaimed oldest hasher in the USA, Teflon Don, Mr. Jackson himself . . . The Chaplain). He is a stalwart hasher of more than 40 years, and still on trail.
While some are still able to move at a pace resembling jogging, most of the older hounds are relegated to walking or biking, and prefer shorter trails. We are fortunate to have these older hashers around to tell us their stories. On the other hand, people also leave hashing for many different reasons based on health issues, as they would any sporting activity. New and younger hashers continue to join in on this fun, but growth of hashing is in decline and we probably don’t recruit very well. This also has a direct correlation on the decline in number of hash clubs.
Determining the exact number of active hash clubs is tenuous at best, but from my recent inspection and ongoing update of the HHH Genealogy, I estimate that the number of clubs worldwide has dropped from what was once recorded at over 2000, is now below or right about 1000 active clubs (I will have a more accurate number in about a month when finished with the updates). Additionally, the number of hounds that were once 50-100 or more on trail on a weekly basis, now number 20 or less, and that was even before COVID shut a great deal of hashing down worldwide. There is at least one bright spot though, Taiwan has added several new clubs over the past decade, and the packs are large and vibrant.
As for the decline, the area that most concerns me is the significant increase in the amount of drinking before and during the trail. From what I have witnessed, in some places, drinking has become the focus . . . rather than getting out for the pure joy of running/walking trail. The first beer “on trail” I ever recall seeing, was when my friend Bimbo hared a trail in Waikiki back in 1992. Setting the trail into the back door of one of the many strip clubs in Honolulu, he arranged for a couple pitchers of beer to be on hand for the pack as they passed through. Probably so they would have a reason to stand around observing the environment, on their way to the front door. Certainly a novelty for its time. There certainly has been beer provided at some level for many years, but not at the current level I see. It would not be until about the mid to late 2000s that multiple beer checks started to become regular occurrences on weekly trails in the places I hashed (your experience may differ).
Beer checks and other gimmicks have also become crutches for hares to slow down the pack (e.g. fish hooks, hash holds, clothing swaps, back checks, and various other annoyances). When I express my concern to newer hounds, they believe that is the way it has always been, simply because of that unfortunate moniker of ‘A Drinking Club with a Running Problem.’ That is not the case, from my experience reaching back to 1984. I do not even recall seeing walker’s trails (or turkey / eagle splits) until sometime in the late 1990s. There was only a running trail, and everybody (mostly jogged) ran the trail. Walkers of all ages now seem to dominate in many hash clubs. Another area we could certainly do better in, is the naming process. I cannot count the number of perspective hashers that were excited, only to never come back once named.
Overall, our numbers are dwindling, at least in part, due to the overemphasis on drinking and our own form of hazing. Some runners are turned off, or gravitate away from hashing, choosing other type clubs to run with, and that is disappointing. I would like to see, in general, more emphasis on the trail and kinship with fellow hashers, and leave the alcohol for after trail. One area of the world that still focuses on the trail is South East Asia. Recently visiting hash clubs in several different countries in that region, hashing was still all about the trail, with almost everyone participating, and the consumption of alcohol predominantly after the trail. It may be just my opinion, but that is what hashing started out to be (not in a competitive sense), and needs to get back to if hashing hopes to prosper again.
Keep in mind the objectives written back in 1950:
(a) to promote physical fitness amongst its members
(b) to get rid of weekend hangovers
(c) to acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it with beer
(d) to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
Fitness, recovery, first developing a thirst through participating in trail, and comradeship. Food for thought, yes? I would be interested to hear your opinion on this matter. Feel free to disagree, or if you agree let’s work together to shift the focus back to a more trail centric atmosphere.
In the Spotlight - GoToTheHash.net (20th Anniversary)
26 Dec 2017
This is the story of the Regional Hash Webmasters from back in the mid to late 1990s, and our effort to organize. Harken back to the day when E-Mail was king, E-Mail Lists were the social networks, and flame wars were abundant (not that they cannot be found on F-Book now). Created in January 1998 from primordial internet fudge, GoToTheHash.net (a.k.a. WORLD HASH LINKS), is now 20 years old. Originally, GoToTheHash.net started out as just a listing of a small group of hashers that managed websites containing links and contacts for the H3 clubs within a country or region. Our merry band of hashmen back then included: AFRICA = Slumpy, ARABIAN GULF = Baldrick2Dogs, AUSTRALIA = D2HD, CANADA = Mr. PeeeeNut, CHINA & HONG KONG = Geriatric, EUROPE 1 or EUROPE 2 = Floater or Prof, INDIA = Spiderman, INDOCHINA = Hanoi H3, JAPAN = Beerhead, SOUTH KOREA = Hazukashii, MALAYSIA = Sim Campbell, NEW ZEALAND = Wendy, PAPUA NEW GUINEA = Dimple, PHILIPPINES = Scar Face, SINGAPORE = Dirty Hacker, SOUTH PACIFIC = Web Head, THAILAND = Rottweiller, UNITED KINGDOM = Prof, and the USA, SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA, and CARIBBEAN = Flying Booger.
Built on the small “homepages” provided with an AOL email account back in the 90s, the address was long and hard to remember. So, in an effort to make it easier to remember, a forwarding service was found and http://go.to/thehash became a simple solution to the concern. In January 2001, GoToTheHash.net got its own domain name and has been there ever since. The site went through several color and design changes in the beginning, but for the past 15 years has settled into what you see today, and now only the information changes. It may look tired, but the information is normally up to date.
Over the ensuing years, various features have been added, including a digital hash T-shirt museum, a hash events calendar, Hash Songs, an extensive Hash History, a mailing list that provides monthly updates, and a Facebook page for announcements. Now that a significant majority of hashes have migrated to Facebook, the need for this old tired website may no longer exist. I’ll keep it up and running as long as there is interest, we’ll see what happens over the next year or so. On-On!
Greatest Hash Hoax of All Time
In the Spotlight - The Greatest Hash House Harriers Hoax of All Time
23 Aug 2020
Several years ago, when I really started to dig into the HHH History, I recalled an article I saw in the INTERHASH 98 INFOMAG titled "The Royal Bordighera Hash House Harriers - The World's Second Hash" . . . and was intrigued to learn more. So I conducted a search, and finally tracked down Robert "Bwana" Walker. Exchanging several emails over the period of a couple weeks, he confirmed and added to the story that I eventually posted on my website. As a side note, earlier this year I had the good fortune to hash on Cyprus with the Dhekelia H3. I was chatting with the GM, who proudly made the statement that Dhekelia H3 was the second oldest hash, but the “longest running” hash in Europe (referring to the now defunct Bordighera H3 in Italy founded back in 1947). Additionally, a couple hashers also made reference to the Bordighera H3 last month when I posted a story about Harriettes, and that included the Top 10 oldest hash clubs. So hence the following . . . and for those Paul Harvey fans, here is . . . "The Rest of the Story"
Soon after I published my article "Hash Club #2: Hash House Harriers Bordighera" I was contacted by Iain "Amnesia" Belton who had some serious misgivings to the validity of this hash club. He undertook a project to validate the story, but after extensive research, he found that no trace of the identified people (hashers and claimants) could be found. While it is nearly impossible to prove something did not happen or exist (in this case, the Bordighera H3), no evidence could be found that it actually did exist. Unfortunately, Bwana has passed away, and with him, so does the myth of the Bordighera H3.
Getting back to my visit to the Dhekelia H3, I informed the GM of all this information, and let him know that Dhekelia was in fact the first Hash Club in Europe, as well as the longest running. For the record, on 30 Jan 1967, Ray Thornton assisted by Jim Pell, John Symons, and N. Gris Davis-Scourfield, founded the Dhekelia H3. Another interesting point about the Dhekelia H3, since they were founded in the 60s before the advent of the Jakarta Circle in the 70s, they do not conduct a circle. Just a great trail, drink some beer, laugh, joke, socialize, and occasionally enjoy a social dinner after trail.
In the Spotlight - Greece
7 Apr 2020
I may be reaching here, but would guess that Athens might very well be on many a hasher’s bucket list. In my case, it was for viewing the Parthenon and the many other ancient ruins. On an adjacent hilltop you will also find three other interesting sites; the Altar of Zeus Agoraios, Meton's metonic calendar (solar clock), and the Pnyx. You may not have heard of the Pnyx, but this is where ancient Athenians gathered as early as 507 BC to host popular assemblies, thus making it the birthplace for the political system called democracy. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the food, oh the food. On my recent visit to Athens I could not get enough of those traditional Greek salads, with the rich and juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, assorted olives and other ingredients . . . not to mention the Tzatziki, and Gyros. There is so much to love about Athens, and all of Greece (including the islands), that you will just have to go and see it all for yourself.
Fortunately for us, the Hash House Harriers have also established a footprint on the history of Greece. How did hashing arrive in Greece you may ask . . . well let me tell you. Piecing together the trail, leads us back to Croatia, and the Zagreb H3. The Zagreb H3 was founded by Paul Redmond in 1975, and after completing his consular duties in Croatia, Redmond moved on to Greece and established the Athens H3, setting the first trail on 10 Dec 1978. Assisted by Brian Grey and Jason Mathews, the Athens H3 has flourished over the past four plus decades.
Like many cities around the world, the Athens H3 has seen its highs and lows, with huge packs and small packs. Arriving in late February on my recent visit, the COVID-19 news was just beginning to surface. That did not interfere with the hash running an excellent trail along the northern edge of the city. We had a pack of about a dozen including children, with about half runners and half walkers. The theme for the day was festival garb, and the local hashers were dressed up in their best beads and happy hats. After trail, and an entertaining circle, we walked to a nearby restaurant where we feasted, family style, on a wide assortment of tasty Greek dishes. You may have also heard about Greek wine, which we also sampled quite liberally.
Although the Athens H3 is currently the only hash still active, at one time the Athens Honeys H3 also enjoyed running trails in Athens, and they were founded on 17 Oct 1982. Unfortunately, there is no founder listed in the hash genealogy, but there is a third hash club listed, called the Twin Cheeks Moonshine H3. This club was founded on 18 Apr 2000, by Brian “Strawbelly Foreskin” Kirman, although that is probably a fat finger typo for Strawberry Foreskin. While there are many reasons to visit Athens, between all the glorious meals you will enjoy, make sure you take time to catch the Athens H3 on a Sunday, at 11 O’clock in the morning. You will not be disappointed.
In the Spotlight - Guyana
16 May 2022
Guyana is located in the North-East region of South America, with Venezuela to the west, Suriname to the East, and Brazil to the south. The Atlantic Ocean provides a coast line of over 400 Kms to the north. Like many other countries in the region, Guyana was occupied by various European powers in the 17th & 18th Centuries. First the Dutch settled in, but then the British took possession around 1815, according to the World Factbook. Gaining independence in 1966, a succession of various leadership has not fostered the best of circumstances for the citizens of Guyana. Despite this, the people of Guyana are very friendly and active. As one of the poorest countries in the region, the discovery of oil in 2015 may lead to better economic times in the future of the country.
Guyana has many natural sites to see, with the Kaieteur Falls being the primary tourist attraction. According to Beautiful World (dot) Com, “Kaieteur Falls is one of the tallest and most powerful waterfalls in the world. Located in Kaieteur National Park, Guyana, the falls’ impressive combination of height and force make it a fearsome sight.” Kaieteur Falls is located approximately 225 Kms inland from the capital city of Georgetown, and near daily flights can be arranged with the local airlines, or charter flights can be booked when available.
Whenever I visit a new country, I try to confirm the data in the genealogy, while also digging up any additional details. This trip would be no exception. In discussion with the current and longtime GM, Colin "Chopsuzuki" Lee, he generally confirmed the primary information in the genealogy, and added much more. Chops stated that the first hash actually happened in 1988 as a random event, and was pretty sure that Richard Clayton was involved.
The HHH Genealogy credits Dave 'Jungle Man' Taylor as the founder of the Georgetown H3 on 10 December 1989, assisted by Mike 'Mighty Dimple' Haigh, Steve Waters, Amanda Rowlatt, Stephen Fell, Richard 'Dickhead' Clayton, David 'Nine Lives' Knevett, John Reynolds, Carol Ennifer, Sher Brock, Peter Giles, and Simon Harding. The genealogy lists Mother Hash as its source, and I was delighted to see Dave Taylor listed on the membership roster from 1987 to 1 Feb 1989, after which he headed to Guyana following a short stopover in the UK. I say delighted in this case, as a number of hash clubs have mistakenly listed themselves as direct legacy back to Mother Hash, when in actuality, the founder came from somewhere else, and never even hashed in Malaysia.
Chops mentioned that “At the time, the Guyana Sugar Corporation was being managed by Tate & Lyle of the UK, and all the upper management posts were staffed by Brits, who usually brought their families with them. They became the backbone of the Georgetown Hash House Harriers. Hashes happened on Friday afternoons after work.”
Chops also described a breakaway hash club, the Demerara H3, that was short lived from July 2012 to early 2014. They took their name, Demerara, as it is the region that Georgetown is located, and extends over 2000 square kms to the south of the city. They actually shared the same GM (Chewbacca) for the final 6 months of their existence. Started by the "Young Turks" . . . Clinton "Swampy" Urling, Latchmi "YapJack" Seecharran, Christine "Applebottom Bitch" Gooding, Merissa "3way Tramp" Hosein. The Young Turks wanted more regimented and regular hash runs, but after a year or so, Chewbacca slowly merged them back into the regular Georgetown H3. The Demerara H3 has now been added to the genealogy. Chops was not sure when it happened, but at some point over the past decade, the Georgetown H3 became the Guyana H3, which made it easier to identify the location, and they did not even have to change the abbreviation of GH3.
On my recent visit to Guyana, there was a hash scheduled for a Thursday morning at 6 am, meeting in front of the British High Commission. The pack showed up on Guyana time, assembling between 7 and 7:45 am, with the pack setting off on 8. The hare was Gypsy Bitch, and It was his birthday, so he had planned for a trail, followed by a breakfast on the waterfront. After that, there was a pool party and lunch. Later that evening, we adjourned to Taco Loco for drinks and more hash craziness, making it a full day. It was my good fortune to be there when this hash occurred, as they have been very irregular over the past few years, especially during COVID. Having run only 4 trails in 2021, this was actually their first trail in 2022 for the GH3.
The hashers of Guyana are very friendly, and happy to have visitors, but if you want to join the hash, you better plan ahead by checking the website.
In the Spotlight - Harriettes
7 Mar 2015 (Updated 21 Sep 2021)
The Hash House Harriers (a.k.a. HHH or H3) were believed to have been founded in late 1938, as a variant of the old English Harrier clubs that date back to the early 19th century, or possibly even before. The history of the HHH has been fairly well documented, with the first 10 clubs being formed between 1938 and 1965 in Malaya (now Malaysia) and the near region to include Singapore and Borneo, as MEN ONLY organizations. What we have not heard is a discussion on the origins of the Harriettes (a.k.a. Harriets or Hens). There are references of women running with harrier clubs in the 1800s (the pre-HHH era), but early clubs are rumored to have allowed women to run, but not allowing them to set the trail. I have no specific details, but during my research on hashing, I recall a reference to a regular harrier club in Kuala Lumpur being active in the 1920s and early 1930s, as a mixed club for both men and women. Some of the founding members of the HHH had run with them as well.
The first recorded women's version of HHH is the Brunei Hens which were founded on 21 Nov 1966, by Robert Tiepel (no mention whether he ran with them or not). The Ipoh Harriettes are next, and were founded on 29 Aug 1968, by Loke Kai Heng. In a recent discussion with the current GM of the Ipoh Harriets, Boon Lee Lim "Jenny001", she explained to me that the Ipoh Harriets claim the title of the first mixed HHH club. Now, over 50 years later, there are numerous variations of mixed and Harriette only HHH clubs all over the world. Examples (from my own experience) include the Mission Harriettes in California, USA where men were required to remain behind two women at all times on trail. Another example is the Tokyo Ladies HHH, where only women were allowed to hold committee positions. The Harriettes of Oahu (HO Hash) and the No Strings Attached H3 in Florida, do not normally allow men, but when they do, they must wear pink. Also, the Kuala Lumpur Harriettes and Bangkok Harriettes, where a woman is always the GM, but they are just a mixed hash club beyond that.
The first 10 recorded Women's Hash clubs are:
Brunei Hens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Nov 1966
Ipoh Harriettes . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Aug 1968
Kota Kinabalu Harriettes . . . . . 10 May 1970
Ladies of Hong Kong H3 . . . . . 15 Jun 1971
Sandakan Harriettes . . . . . . . . 31 Dec 1971
Kuching Harriettes . . . . . . . . . 20 Jun 1972
Penang Harriettes . . . . . . . . . . 21 Nov 1972
Singapore Harriettes . . . . . . . . 17 Oct 1973
Kuala Lumpur Harriettes . . . . . 18 Jun 1974
Port Moresby Harriettes . . . . . 30 Sep 1974
There were potentially some mixed clubs that formed during the 60s and 70s, but the records are unclear as to when they transitioned from Men Only to Mixed. There are also isolated incidents of some women being allowed to run with Men Only clubs during this period, to include one Judy Prosser (an Aussie consulate member) that was a regular on the Jakarta Men's Hash in the early 70s. Another instance was, according to the club website, the very first run of the Colombo H3 in Sri Lanka had 40 runners on that first trail, including two women (Handwarmer and Iron Lady). At one point in 1984, Handwarmer injured her knee and could not run for a bit. The wife of another hasher was allowed to join the Monday hash, and enjoyed it so much she started bringing more women along. Well, this went on for a couple weeks and before you know it, the old boy’s network started to revolt and declared that the Colombo H3 would become a Male Only club. In a show of uncommon grace, they did allow the original ladies to continue on as honorary gentlemen. The change in membership to male only caused a stir in the hashing community, and the forming of the Colombo Harriettes on 20 Jun 1984. According to the hash genealogy, this club was founded by Mike “Climb Every Mountain” Hill, as a mixed hash club. Originally it ran on Wednesday, but has since shifted to Saturday to allow for travel to more areas around the island.
The title of oldest active Harriette is bestowed upon Rajendar ‘Glamour’ Kaur, born 9 May 1933, has been an avid hasher for well over 50 years. Her first hash was on the Brunei Men’s H3 in 1966, during a short period when women were allowed to participate. Once the number of ladies had grown, they were encouraged to start their own club (and leave the men to their own fun), and the Hen House Harriers, the first ladies hash ever, were founded on 21 Nov 1966. Glamour participated on their first trail and was the first hen to achieve 100 runs, and the second to achieve 200. Unfortunately, at one point in the 70s she moved to another town to operate a branch of the family business. Sadly missing out on the weekly fun, Glamour asked for the Hens to move their hash day to Tuesday when her shop was closed. They agreed, and Glamour was able to rejoin the ladies hash, and it has remained on Tuesday ever since. Glamour states “There are so many things I enjoy about the Hash such as Halloween runs, 7and7 runs, Head dress runs, Pajama runs and so on.” She has also traveled to hash events in Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Bali, Tawau, and Labuan, and has “at least 60-70 hash t-shirts in her collection. Fifty years is a long time to be a member of one hash club. She said, “Many of the ladies that participated were expats, so contact has been lost with most of them.” Although, she does keep in touch with two dear friends in the UK, who hashed with the Hen’s in the 1990s, and both have returned from time to time to visit her. Contributing to the hash, she has held positions as Grand Mistress, Egg Collector, and various other Committee positions. She still attends the Ladies Hash nearly every Tuesday, and has participated in over 1450 trails. Now at 88 years of age (and due to an old knee injury), she cannot run any longer, but is still a regular attendee to walk around and see her friends on the hash.
In the Spotlight - Hash Firsts (or simply Trivia if you prefer)
27 Jan 2021
HASH HOUSE HARRIERS (a.k.a. HHH or H3) – No one knows the specific founding date, but it is believed that the HHH was founded in late 1938. But the basis for the HHH goes back well over 100 years earlier to Rugby School and the kid’s game of Hare & Hounds (a.k.a. Paperchase). The first recorded transition of this kid’s game to adults is credited to the Thames Rowing club in 1867, when they organized the Thames Hare & Hounds club in order to stay fit in the off season. The Hare & Hounds (or simply Harrier) clubs followed along as the British Empire expanded throughout Asia, and even becoming popular in the United States in the early 20th century.
MISMANAGEMENT COMMITTEE – The first established organizational document for the HHH was drafted in 1950, when social clubs of all kinds were required to register with the government in Kuala Lumpur. Originally, the club committee consisted of a President, Vice President (a.k.a. Joint Masters), an Honorary Secretary (HONSEC), and a Treasurer. The members of the Committee had the ability to co-opt additional committee members (e.g. Hash Horn or Holder of the Horn) or to elect new committee members should they not be able to fulfill their current term in office. While some older clubs still use these original positions, at the present, Joint Masters are uncommon, as Religious Advisor (RA) has become popular as the leader of the circle. Honorary Secretary has given way Hash Scribe, and Treasurers are now commonly known as the Hash Cash. The first documented use of the term Grand Master (GM) was in 1974 when HHH Singapore appointed Albert Withnall as GM, above the Joint Masters. Other mismanagement positions commonly found now are Hash Haberdasher who acquires and sells all sorts of clothing and trinkets, Webmaster that takes care of the Public Relations via the World Wide Web, and the Beer Meister who is responsible to bring the refreshments.
HASHIT – The Brunei H3 is credited for first bestowing this honorary award. The following excerpt comes from the Brunei H3 Hash Trash dated 28 April 1966: "A Hash Award Committee (of one) was formed and unanimously decided that an award on the lines of a Golden Disc, Grammy, or Oscar should be presented for hashing and this award would be known as a "Hashit." The "Hashit" Committee decided that this award would be made to the hares of the most hashed up run of the year." The hashit (a.ka. Hash Shit) is now often bestowed weekly, for any sort of noteworthy activity that occurred on trail. The Hash Shit can take the form of a plunger, a toilet seat, or some other awkward device, and is often required to be carried or worn on trail.
HASH T-SHIRTS – While it is quite certain there were hash t-shirts before 1972, the Sydney H3 currently has the oldest documented hash T-shirt from their 250th Run on 10 Jul 1972.
HASH NAMES – It is believed that hash names originated in the Jakarta HHH. In order to get the word out in the days before the Internet or WWW, hash clubs would mail out the weekly hash trash to members. Unfortunately, the mail system in Jakarta was not timely enough to deliver them before the next week’s run, so the trash was printed and placed in a handful of local establishments so the members could pick them up. As this allowed anyone who passed by the opportunity to read what was going on within the hash, the use of real names was soon abandoned to avoid any conflict with employers or the general public at large.
THE CIRCLE – The circle is also credited to have originated in Jakarta, but not necessarily for fellowship among hashers and the issuance of down-downs, but merely to create a type of barrier between the hashers and the local people that would become very curious of what was taking place. As time went on, the circle slowly became more entrenched in the weekly activity and could often last up to two hours, with regular down-downs and the singing of songs.
HASH SONGS – It is commonly believed that singing was a carryover from rugby, which many early hashers also played. Over the years, many new and often bawdy songs have been adapted and/or written by hashers for various occasions.
HASH EVENTS - The first invitational gathering of Hash House Harriers clubs was the 1000th running of Mother Hash in March 1966, when there were only about ten clubs total, and all in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. By 1973 many other hash clubs had been formed, and had spread out beyond Southeast Asia, so Mother Hash repeated the effort for their 1500th trail that drew about 300 hashers to Kuala Lumpur.
INTERHASH – Sometime in 1976, the Kowloon H3 thought they might host a major event (jokingly referred to as "The International Hash Unconvention"). By May of 1977, invitations had been sent for all good hashmen to come to Hong Kong for INTERHASH 78. A reporter for the Washington Post, Jay Mathews, happened to be on hand and made this report. Based on the success of this gathering in Hong Kong, Mother Hash stepped up to host again two years later and the pattern was set. We now have World Interhash every two years (with the exception of 2020 due to COVID). Interhash has become a prime opportunity to catch up with many old friends from hash trails gone by. Normally a 3-4 day event, it generally consists of a Red Dress Run, a welcoming party or opening ceremony on Friday night, followed by 2 days of hash trails of varying length and difficulty from short walkers trails to the Ball Breaker, all spread out around the countryside. More details about Interhash.
This is the most accurate information I have uncovered in my years of hashing, as well as years of research and study. As I, and other hash historians continue to dig into the old documentation, updates may occur.
Hash Founders' Hash
In the Spotlight - Hash Founders' Hash (a.k.a Global Emeritus Hash)
5 Oct 2014
The Founders' Hash (a.k.a. the Global Emeritus Hash), consists of people who were responsible for founding a hash club. The object is to keep the spirit of the Hash Founders in one International Hash. There are over 150 founders from all over the world, check out the founders already in the circle. To qualify as a Founder, your hash must run at least monthly, and have lasted for at least 12 months. Where two or more people claim to be the Founder, it is the person who first said "why don't we start a hash" and who laid the first run who is defined as the Hash Founder. If you would like to see how to join, see the website.
In the Spotlight - Hash Genealogy
27 Oct 2020
Many hashers were first introduced to the Genealogy of the Hash House Harriers at INTERHASH 1998, where a long scroll of paper was laid out on a table. This scroll contained listings of several hundred hash clubs that had been formed over the previous 60 years (at that time), and currently contains over 2000 listings. The Hash Genealogy project provides a historical listing of all known hash clubs, and was created by Bill "Tumbling Bill" Panton. Tumbling Bill (TB) ran his first hash in 1954, but did not take to it initially due to an already active schedule. TB would return to hashing in 1958, and become a prolific hasher for the rest of his life attending hash events well into his 80s. Initially, finding another hash club was all word of mouth. As the sphere of hash clubs expanded, and hashers started traveling to events at other clubs, TB began collecting club contacts and even actively searched them out. These efforts created a simple listing that was mailed to each of the other known hash clubs. Early listings show 41 clubs by March 1974, 54 by December 1974, and by the end of 1975, he had amassed a listing of 68 clubs in 23 countries. The listing continued to grow, and TB looked for a way to connect them, so turned to simple ancestry methods which with the assistance of Mike Lyons in 1994, a computer program was applied which led to that first long paper scroll at INTERHASH 98. Even that became cumbersome over time, and TB looked to Neil Campbell for a more capable web based application that could be shared on the internet. In conjunction with TB's efforts, a small group of hashers were building national and regional websites with contact listings of local hash clubs that expanded on the initial listings that Magic, Mr Spock, and others had been publishing in booklets that were mailed out for a small fee. After that first meeting with TB in 1998, these regional webmasters started coordinating, and hash club contacts are also on line.
In the Spotlight - Hash Progeny
26 Nov 2018
Much like your own family, each hash club has its own genealogy. The HHH Genealogy project was founded by William "Tumbling Bill" Panton back in the early 1990s. His goal was to capture the lineage of the hash, and how it has spread out since 1938. As you would expect, every hash club can be traced back to the "Hash House Harriers" (a.k.a. Kuala Lumpur H3, or Mother Hash). Now the question posed to me was which hash club has the most ancestors. But first, let's take a look at which clubs have the most "direct" progeny. Also as you might suspect, Mother Hash has the most direct progeny with 38 clubs that were founded by hashers who left KL and went off in their lives and started hash clubs in new locations. Mother Hash is closely followed by the Singapore H3 with 31 clubs, Okinawa H3 with 28, Jakarta H3 with 27, and the Hong Kong H3 with 23.
Getting back to the original question, after a bit of research I discovered 5 hash clubs that had 10 ancestor clubs, of which 4 are located in the USA (Dallas Fort Worth Family H3, Los Alamos Atomic H3, Nuclear Meltdown Full Moon H3, and the Old Frederick and Rural Territory H3). But the most diverse lineage of all was the Hindu Kush H3 in Afghanistan, which traces its roots through the Every Day is Wednesday H3 in Washington DC, the White House H3 also in DC, the Vindobona H3 in Austria, the Carthage H3 in Tunisia, the Islamabad H3 in Pakistan, the Shanghai H3 in China, the Beijing H3 also in China, the Hong Kong H3, Father Hash in Singapore, and finally to Mother Hash back in Kuala Lumpur.
Now to further expand the genealogy question, which has the most combined ancestors and progeny? Mother Hash leads off with the 38 progeny, Singapore H3 with 1 ancestor and 31 progeny, Okinawa H3 with 3/28, Jakarta H3 with 1/27, Hong Kong H3 with 2/23, the Bangkok Men's H3 with 2/20. Next is the Houston H3 with 3/18, followed by Bicester H3 with 5/15 and San Diego H3 with 4/16, Cheltenham & Cotswold H3 with 6/10, Vindobona H3 with 7/6, and the Whitehouse H4 with 8/4. If you would like to look up your hash club to discover its genealogy, see the listings.
In the Spotlight - Hash T-Shirts
2 May 2015
The oldest known hash T-Shirts were made to commemorate specific club milestone runs such as 250th, 500th, etc, which made them few and far between. They often had logos or advertisements on them, from a business that one of the local hashers worked for and sponsored the printing costs. Nowadays, it is quite easy to turn up at a hash and see 50-60 people wearing different hash T-shirts, for any number of things, there are so many.
It is believed that Mother Hash did not create their first actual club T-Shirt until their 1500th Run in 1973. But that is not the oldest hash shirt, as the boys down in Sydney currently have the first known hash shirts from their 250th Run in 1972. If you want to see both of those, and all of the top 10 oldest hash shirts. To get a glimpse of over 1400 event and generic hash shirts from around the world, see the whole collection. New photos always accepted, see the details on the website.
Hashing and the Military
In the Spotlight - Hashing and the Military
11 Nov 2021
As the history goes, the original harrier clubs (a.k.a. Hare and Hounds or Paperchase clubs) spread from the United Kingdom to South East Asia via the expat community working abroad. There was an assortment of harrier clubs (e.g., Springett Harriers, Kinta Harriers, Kuala Lumpur Harriers, etc) in the 1920s and 1930s throughout the region. When Gispert (G) founded his Harrier club, he did not want to repeat the name Kuala Lumpur Harriers, so chose a more offbeat name of “Hash House” Harriers. In reality, the Hash House Harriers was just another harrier club at that point, but events would take place that would turn it into the worldwide phenomenon that it is today.
There has been a rumor around hashing for many years, that G and Torch, and the rest of the fellows there at the Selangor Club were British military officers, living in a military barracks . . . but that is not exactly correct. The full story is a bit more complicated.
In the Spotlight - Hawaii, USA
30 Nov 2013
There were various unorganized hash runs in Hawaii back in mid the 1970s, but it was not until 1978 when the first organized hash club formed when Castel Myers moved to the islands from Bangkok, where he first experienced hashing with the newly founded Bangkok Men's H3 (The BH3 started in 1977). Looking around the lush green hills that were lined with plenty of trails, Castel thought Hawaii would be a great place to hash. So he put the word out and soon had his friends Russ Hoylman, Hutch Hutchinson, Dave Benson, and Dick Hoyer to join him.
On 16 March 1978, the Honolulu Hawaii Hash House Harriers (H5) conducted the first hash trail, running every other Tuesday evening in the early days. The packs were small and there were no circles conducted after the run, but there was a lot of horseplay with beer chugging being a common event, with winners collecting various prizes. On one occasion the prize was a live chicken, which ended up as a menu item at the Chop Suey shop they frequented after their runs.
During the 1980s, the popularity increased and the H5 began running every Tuesday evening. There were rumors of other hash clubs forming and folding on Oahu, which is the Capitol island and home of Pearl Harbor, but it was not until the 1990s when the next major hash was born. The Aloha H3 was founded on 22 Sep 1991, and was soon followed by the Hawaii Full Moon H3 in 1992. Now there are several other hash clubs on Oahu, as well as some of the other islands (Maui H3 and Kona H3), and a traveling Volcano H3 that makes annual trips to all the other islands. So hashing is alive and well in this remote island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
In the Spotlight - Heidelberg, Germany
24 Jul 2013
On Sunday, 21 July, the Heidelberg H3 gathered for the 3rd Annual Final Hash, and like the previous two it was a good time. You see, the pack has pretty much all moved away, but on occasion when several former H4 hashers happen to be around, it is cause for a reunion. The Heidelberg H3 has a long history dating back to 13 June 1979 when Godel Adler set the first trail near the historic and picturesque city of Heidelberg. The hash had its ups and downs over the years, stalling out but getting a restart on 4 April 1990.
As has happened in many locations around the world, the pack has thinned out significantly over the past couple years as the once large military population has been relocated to other areas (but that is a story for another time - I am working on it). Heidelberg is located on the south-western region of Germany near France, and is about equal distance between Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
Like many German cities, Heidelberg is dominated by an amazing castle, this one dates back to the 13th century. There is no telling how long it will be before another hash is run in Heidelberg, but it was pegged to host the projected world Interhash of 2013 (as some of you may know). In a related story, the sole organizer of world Interhash 2013 gave up after receiving no support from the non-existent local hashers.
In the Spotlight - Hong Kong
30 May 2015
Through various treaties and leases, Hong Kong was a Crown Colony of Great Britain from 1841-1997, with the exception of 1941-1945 when Japan occupied the peninsula. Although not technically correct, many refer to the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 as the day the sun set on the British Empire. One thing left behind after the turnover is the Hash House Harriers.
Having moved to Hong Kong from Singapore, John Beavon contacted several other former hashers and expats and the records show they set the first trail of the Hong Kong H3 (H4) on 23 February 1970. Continuing with the traditions of Mother Hash in Kuala Lumpur, and Father Hash in Singapore, the H4 is a men's only club and runs on Monday evenings. One of the long standing traditions of the H4 is participating in the annual Sedan Chair Race for charity.
It did not take long for the second club to form, as one member's office moved from the island up to Mongkok. Grouping with a small core of other hashers, it was soon determined that transiting the Kowloon Bay in a timely fashion on Monday afternoons was difficult, so something had to be done. Led by founder Chris Rowe, the group gathered in a bar over beers, and thus agreed that the first running of the Kowloon H3 would be on 26 October 1970.
The fairer sex soon grew tired of the men having all the fun, and thus the fourth oldest recorded Harriettes Hash was founded by Hilary Prior on 15 June 1971. The Ladies of Hong Kong H3 attracted 27 members in that first year as a ladies only club, but a handful of men were additionally allowed as honorary male members (no pun intended).
Over the last 45 years the fun of hashing has spread throughout the territory, and Hong Kong currently boasts of 14 active hash clubs. Not to be forgotten, just a short ferry ride away rests the two island Taipa-Macau H3 that was founded by Rob "The Captain" Kirby on 2 June 1998. Without a doubt, the rich history of the Hash House Harriers lives in Hong Kong. If you have the good luck to visit, make sure to catch up with one of the Hong Kong hash clubs. Details can be found on this website.
In the Spotlight - Horse (Frederick "Horse" Thomson)
8 Feb 2022
There are many unattributed references to Horse on the internet, as many hash websites practice the old mantra of plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery, but most accounts actually go back to work done by John Duncan in the 1970s, and Mike “Father’ Lyons and Tim “Magic” Hughes in the 1980s. Many of the accounts came from those who knew him on the hash, prior to his final departure from Kuala Lumpur in 1951. Horse was a founding member of the “Hash House” Harriers. Hash House is emphasized, as at the time, it was just another Harrier club of the day in SE Asia (it would be another 24 years before the HHH would begin to become the worldwide phenomenon it is today).
If you search the WWW, you will find a multitude of listings for Horse Thompson, but Horse is officially listed in the Mother Hash Black Book as THOMSON (HORSE), no first name, and more specifically, no P in THOMSON. Some old accounts also make reference to the names HORSE, TORCH, and G, as early references to hash names, but that is also incorrect. These nicknames were just names they picked up amongst their mates from daily life (as best I can tell from copious hours of research, hash names originated in Jakarta in the mid-1970s).
Why “Horse” you may ask? That nickname originated in his boyhood school days, stated Ralph Wadsworth, (Honorary Secretary of the HHH in 1963, and Joint Master in 1964), and was due to him having what could best be described as a face with equine (long) features. Like most of the other founding members, Horse was a British expat working in SE Asia. In his professional life, Fredrick Thomson was a manager at Malayan telecommunications, which in the 1920s & 30s was telephone and telegraph.
Before arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Horse lived and worked in Johor Bahru, the capital of the state of Johor, Malaya (the name was changed to Malaysia on 16 Sep 1963). Johor Bahru is located approximately 350 Kms south east of Kuala Lumpur on the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia, just across the Strait of Johor between what was peninsular Malaya and Singapore, both of which were part of Malaya in the 1930s (Singapore did not gain its independence until 9 Aug 1965). Horse is quoted as stating, that he had run paper chases in Johor Bahru as far back as 1932. He had also run similar type events in Malacca (aprox 150 Kms south of KL) as part of the Springgit Harriers (this is where Gispert was said to have first run paperchase events). Horse also claimed to have run pre-HHH type events with another club in Taiping (aprox 250 Kms north of KL). They were all referred to as mixed (allowing women to run), and some even brought their dogs on trail. The runs were often on Sunday morning, and were followed by a curry tiffin lunch.
Horse was recorded as participating on the first run with the newly formed Hash House Harriers, and is listed as one of the first Joint Masters from 1938 (the founding date in 1938 has been disputed by Torch Bennett, as being in the summer of 1939) to 1940, and then again after the war in 1951 before his eventual departure from Kuala Lumpur.
Various accounts state that Horse was first allowed to leave Malaya before the outbreak of hostilities on the peninsula, and subsequently joined the Royal Air Force (RAF), who posted him to Hong Kong. Unfortunately, Japan launched an assault on Hong Kong the same day (8 Dec 1941) that it began occupying Malaya. Horse was taken as a POW, but after a period of time managed to escape. Teaming up with other rogue forces, they were recaptured, and Horse was shot in the neck during the encounter. He was returned back to Hong Kong where he recuperated from his injuries, but it left his head with a slight lean. He was released after the war, and returned to KL to resume his civilian life. He also rejoined the hash in 1946, when Torch got things going again.
In 1951, Horse retired from his career in Telecommunications, and moved to the Philippines where he managed a sugar cane plantation for many years. Interestingly, he was said to have been fluent in Hokkien. Hokkein is the Chinese dialect which is native to Taiwan, and also spoken by the majority of Chinese in the Philippines, according to Wikipedia. Later in life, Horse occasionally turned up on various hash events, most notably at Interhashes in Sydney in 1984, and Pattaya in 1986.
In the Spotlight - Ian Young
7 March 2022
I am always in search of new opportunities to capture HHH History, and this past weekend I flew down to San Jose, Costa Rica to chat with Ian Young.
This journey all started about four or five months ago, while preparing for the upcoming 50th anniversary of hashing in South Korea. I sent a short note out to some of my Seoul Bruddahs asking about some old details of the Seoul H3. I only received a few substantive replies, primarily from Hugh Robinson (who if you have read any of my previous steaming piles of guano) you may recall Hugh started hashing in Korea, and brought it back to the USA, and was the first American to start a (the third hash) club in the USA, the Little Rock H3. Hugh provided some great info, but another email string lead me to the founder . . . Ian Young. Chatting via email, Ian provided some great insight into the early days of the Seoul H3 . . . and it was then I started plotting a trip to Costa Rica.
While having lunch with him today, Ian regaled me with many great stories about his life, and trips to Vietnam (during the war), Japan, Australia, and others. Going way back, Ian was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he eventually found a job with Pfizer. First assigned to Hong Kong, he was in sales, and had the opportunity to travel all over the Far East. But it was not until 1969 that he first found the HHH. Ian started hashing in Hong Kong on trail number 2 back in 1969, after seeing an announcement in the local newspaper. Being a fit fellow, playing rugby and running, he was keen to give it a go. He took to hashing right from the start, and was a regular. Fast forward to 1971, and Ian was transferred to Seoul, where after a few months of getting settled, decided to get a hash going. The first trail was on 11 Jun 1972, and 4 brave souls turned up for that first run, but once the words started getting out, it was not long before the circle of orange began to grow. Hash circles as we know them today probably stemmed from Jakarta, but due to the extreme temperatures of Korea, a fire was essential while at the end of trail, where the pack would gather round with a cold beer, and keep their buns warm (that is how traditions begin).
Now, the Seoul H3 is one of my favorite hash clubs, and fast forward to 1997 when I joined the SH3, the circle tradition had been honed into a work of shear brilliance. Once the GM calls the circle to order around the fire (by the time I got there and probably well before, the fire was present in circle year round), the assembled pack is no longer allowed to speak, unless granted permission. All down-downs are administered from a bed pan, starting with the hare. The "Wingee" (FRB) was next, and then the GM would call up random hounds until the beer ran dry, or the time was right. When you come up for your down-down, you had to sing a good song or tell a good joke . . . the pack would decide what good was. It made for an orderly circle, there were no side conversations, and you never heard anyone shouting SHUT THE !@#!@ UP!!! But I digress . . . (don't ask about the secret handshake . . . but I might be accommodating if you come up to me after some future trail with a cold beer). The Seoul H3 has its own unique closing song, and has spawned 14 other hash clubs, most of them in Korea, Canada, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, China, Cambodia, and several states in the USA.
After ensuring the Seoul H3 was off to a good start, Ian was sent back to Hong Kong for a year and more good times with his old friends, before getting sent to Costa Rica. A little slower on the draw here, not finding the right sort of people, and having other endeavors to fill his time, he did not get the hash going for almost 2 years. One day, he met Bill Barbee, and that was all he needed. Explaining the concept of hashing to Bill, he and Ian set about contacting some others and the San Jose H3 was formed on 3 Feb 1979 as the first hash club in Costa Rica. It was only a few months later, and Ian was transferred to Colombia for 4 years, where he did not hash at all. Next up was a three year assignment back in the United Kingdom, south of London, where he managed to hash on occasion. Next he was sent to Indonesia, where he spent "8 glorious years" running with the Jakarta H3 on occasion, but mostly with the Jakarta Harriettes.
Ian's last two assignments were in New York City and India, where he never managed to find the hash, mostly because he had a family by now, and was focused on that. Having completed a successful career as country manager in many locations, he returned to Costa Rica with his wife, where Ian can often be found still scooting along on trail with the San Jose H3. Ian never really acquired a hash name that stuck, but he was called Chino in Indonesia, and Speedy somewhere else along the way.
In the Spotlight - Interhash
1 July 2018
The first invitational gathering of Hash House Harriers clubs was the 1000th running of Mother Hash in March 1966, when there was only about ten clubs total, and all in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. By 1973 many other hash clubs had sprouted and spread out beyond Southeast Asia, so Mother Hash repeated the effort for their 1500th trail that drew about 300 hashers to Kuala Lumpur. (Note: Mother hash runs weekly, with only a few extra events. So if you are doing the math, you see that Mother Hash went from 1000 trails to 1500 trails in just 7 years. That happened because on the occurrence of their 1000th run event, they unceremoniously added the original 117 runs from the pre-war era of 1938-1941. So the run immediately following the 1000th was 1118, and they have continued on from there). Read the extended article.
In the Spotlight - Jakarta, Indonesia
4 July 2015
Jakarta is the capital city of an island nation made up of over 17,000 separate land masses, with about 6000 being inhabited with the wonderful culture of Indonesia. Jakarta is the largest city and is located on the main island of Java, where, as you would expect, lives a thriving hash house harriers culture. The first hash club in Indonesia was the Jakarta H3 founded by Jeremy “Burong” Pidgeon and Gordon "Bent One" Benton on 22 Mar 1971. I had the opportunity to chat with Gordon a couple years ago, and he was happy to reveal the amazing history of the Jakarta H3.
According to Gordon, in those early days, hashing was very austere with only paper used to mark the trail, and there were no arrows, checks, or falsies; the trail just ended and the pack had to look around to find which new direction it went. The terms Front Running Bastard (FRB) and Dead F*cking Last (DFL) were not used at that point, but the last one to complete the trail did receive special attention. They did in fact use the sometimes derogatory term of Short Cutting Bastard (SCB), an art that can be as rewarding as it can be detrimental to the timely finishing of a trail.
When the Jakarta hash first started running, the hash was not viewed well by the local people, as they initially thought that the Dutch had returned. After that was dispelled, there was concern about the pack running through the crops, damaging mud walls and rice paddies. Fortunately, after a period of time and reparations, and teaching the hashers to tread lightly, the local people became familiar with the calls of on-on and the sight of paper. Gordon said that the local farmers eventually got used to seeing hashers, so much so that sometimes the kids would move the paper to change the trail. There was a hash horn used at the Jakarta H3, and you could hear the terms ‘On-On’ and ‘Are You’ between fellow hashers to help navigate through the jungle.
In the humble fashion that many hash clubs begin, there were only 7 or 8 on that first trail in 1971. It did not take long for the pack to grow to over 100 through word of mouth, and advertising through hash T-shirts sponsored by ICI, Shell, and eventually as part of the special relationship that soon developed with the local distributor of Anchor Beer. The distributor would dispatch a truck to the run site each week that would bring beer and soft drinks, as well as lights for the circle. Speaking of lights and circles, it is believed the circle originated in Jakarta, but not necessarily for fellowship among hashers and the issuance of down-downs, but merely to create a type of barrier between the hashers and the local people that would become very curious of what was taking place.
As time went on, the circle slowly became more entrenched in the weekly activity and could often last up to two hours, with regular down-downs and the singing of songs. It was a requirement for the hare to write his own song each week and to entertain the pack with it. As in many parts of the world where hash trails go, many of the jungle routes were single file foot paths, so various rules came into existence. One such rule created to avoid knocking each other down, was to never pass a hasher who appears to be, or at least 'thinks he is running' the trail.
This next piece of history is open for dispute, but it is quite possible that hash names were also originated in Jakarta. In order to get the word out, some hashes would mail out the weekly hash trash to members, but the mail system in Jakarta was not timely enough to deliver them on time for the next weeks run, so the trash was printed and placed in a handful of local establishments so the members could pick them up (Note: this method was still in use in Seoul when I arrived there in 1997). As this allowed anyone who passed by the opportunity to read what was going on within the hash, the use of real names was soon abandoned to avoid any conflict with employers or the general public at large.
By the time Gordon left Jakarta in 1980, Jakarta was believed to be one of the largest hash clubs in the world. So, having completed his mission to bring the hash to Indonesia, Gordon next headed off to Singapore to begin a decade of running with Father Hash. Having been firmly established, and becoming one of the most popular hash clubs in the world, building on the success of Hong Kong in 1978 and Mother Hash in 1980, the Jakarta H3 with Hash Master Ron "The Penguin" Strachan, stepped up to host the third biennial Interhash in 1982.
In the Spotlight - Jordan
26 July 2021
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see? Well, let me tell you. Officially named "The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan," it is bordered with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Israel, and would be a landlocked country if not for a small 16 Km strip at the very southern tip that accesses the Gulf of Aqaba. Rich with history, this area has been inhabited, literally, since the original Stone Age. Subsequently, the country has many ancient ruins including Jerash and Petra. Jerash has artifacts dating back for nearly 10,000 years, but has been ravaged by earthquakes that have caused severe damage. Located about 50 Kms north of the capital city of Amman, there are still many stone structures from the Greco-Roman period to see, and well worth a visit.
Another location in Jordan, for the biblical scholars, is Mount Nebo. Located near the northern end of the Dead Sea, Mount Nebo is where God took Moses to see the Promised Land. Which takes us back to "Looking Over Jordan." Just 35 Kms southwest of Amman, you can see the vast area of the Valley of the River Jordan, and also a stone's throw from where I had the pleasure to run a hash trail not so long ago. Petra dates back to the fourth century BC, and may be much more well known. It has been showcased in many movies, including Indian Jones in the Last Crusade. Dr. Jones ventures out, in Hollywood fashion, in search of the Holy Grail, but is much more visually aesthetic than Monty Python's version.
The first hash club to form in Jordan, was the original Amman H3 that runs in and around Amman. Founded by John Ward in July of 1979, there appears to have been a name change sometime in the early 1980s to the Hashemite H3, and has now completed over 2300 hash trails. John came to Jordan from Iran, where he had previously hashed with the Tehran H3. The following snippet comes from the 1985 Middle East Interhash program, giving an unusual early history of the Amman H3 . . .
THE FIRST AMMAN HASH was held in July, 1979. The exact date has been the subject of some discussion, but appears to be lost in the fog of history along with the Etruscan language. The runners were John Ward, John Abu Said, Randy Old, Chuck Cogan, Tom Sexton and Sam Starrett. The course was moderate and completed by all. Unfortunately two of the runners had just arrived from a mensef, or Arab feast, where, unbeknownst to the guests (and in all fairness probably the host), the menu featured salmonella typhi in large quantities, thus producing acute gastric distress, followed soon by raging attack of typhoid fever. Once this small item was taken care of Hash runs resumed in earnest.
The next hash to form was the Dead Sea H3 in December of 1980, founded by Martin Bennett, Jon Bu Hon, and Alan Brown. At the southern end of the country, the Aqaba H3 was founded on 5 March 1982 by Alan Brown, who had previously hashed in Amman with the Hashemite H3. A snippet of their history was also contained in the 1985 Middle East Interhash program as . . .
The Aqaba Hash 200th run was on June 27-28  and was enjoyed by all. At Christmas '84 there was a doubt whether we would reach this far as members left for pastures new. The previous [Hash Master] (Brownie) handed over to 'Hash-It' in September as he expected to be away soon. Needless to say, he is still commuting twixt Amman and Aqaba. Our numbers vary between 6 and 20+ depending on the holidays, overland tours, visiting battleships and peripatetic Ammanites.
On 28 August 1996, Reem Farkouh, founded the Amman Full Moon H3. Finally, and more recently, Stefan 'Big Fellow' Branisavljevic has founded the second coming of the Amman H3, on 26 November 2016. This hash has been in hibernation due to COVID, but plans to restart running trails soon along with the Hashemite H3.
Depending on which definition you use of the Promised Land, the broadest being that land between the Nile and the Euphrates Rivers, on my recent visit we did in fact hash in the Promised Land with the Hashemite H3. We had a rousing group of 25 hashers, who had been partying all afternoon, and only 7 of us ended up running trail, but the circle was full on hash gaggle with plenty of laughs. After mentioning my recent visit to Jordan, Michael James "Sister Michael" Fotheringham told me about his experience . . . "Back in 1997 we attended the Hashemite H3 1000th run when we were stationed in Israel, they had arranged with the interior ministry to let us Hash through the souk in Petra. Dozens of excited Hashers ran down the ravine to be confronted with the treasury. About 40 of us crammed into the treasury and sang Swing Low. The acoustics were awesome."
In the Spotlight - Kuching, Malaysia
25 Aug 2013
Kuching is located along with Brunei and Indonesia on the Island of Borneo. There are currently 6 hash clubs listed as running in and around Kuching, and is the home of the 4th oldest hash club after Mother Hash (1938), Singapore H3 (1962), and the Brunei H3 (1963). The Kuching H3 recently reached 50 years old, and was founded by Harry “God Knows” Howell on 21 May 1963 in Kuching, Malaysia. God Knows, coincidently, was a founding member of the Singapore H3. While he is not the oldest active hasher, he has been hashing longer than any other hasher alive, having run his first trail with Mother Hash in 1958 (only a few weeks before another long time hasher "Tumbling Bill" Panton. Read the whole story about the founding of the 4th HHH club.
More Missives from Torch Bennett
In the Spotlight - More Missives from Torch Bennett
11 Oct 2021
Following up on the revelation of when ‘Torch’ Bennett believes the ‘HASH HOUSE’ Harriers got their start (July 1939), in his letters to Hema (a.k.a. Colin Snow) (letter1 and letter2) from 1981 . . . here are a few more bits on hash history for you to ponder.
1. As one of the founding members of the HHH, and an early On-Sec, Torch wrote the hash trash with a special sort of British humour. Torch stated . . . “I did the weekly circular and used to try to embellish them with a little ode on some incident on the previous weeks run, a variant of the cartoon character “Sporting Sam” . . . “or match-stick-man drawings, but by the 100th run we were all too pre-occupied with other things.” Sporting Sam was a British political comic series that ran from 1908-1995. This cartoon seems poignant for the time.
2. Both G and Torch worked for Evatts & Co as accountants before the war, where they first met in Singapore in 1934. After the war, Torch continued to work for Evatts stating . . . “I actually left Evatts for Neill & Bell (now Couper Bros) on 31/3/47 and retired from N. & B. on 31/3/58.”
3. As far as his hashing career goes, he states . . . “I had actually stopped active participation some time earlier [before his retirement in 1958], partly on account of anno domini and partly as having survived the war and subsequent P.O.W. life, I didn’t want my impending retirement stopped by bandits.” This confirms his status as a POW, which I will need to do a little more research on to better elaborate. The bandits he mentions refers to an incident that occurs post war in 1948, as told by Cecil Lee: “This has been widely misreported, but what actually happened was that below where the Lady Templer Hospital is now, in an area that was then rubber and belukar, the Hares on a darkening and rainy evening came across some men wrapped in ground sheets sleeping on the ground. The following pack found the bandits on their feet but someone, in the general confusion nobody got hurt. One member ran to Cheras Police Station and raised the alarm; the army laid ambushes on tracks leading out of the area and first thing the following morning bagged three bandits trying to break out. One of them was found to have a substantial price on his head and the bounty was shared among the non-government employees on the run (government servants were not allowed to participate in such rewards).”
4. Torch makes reference to the original Hash Anthem being Anthony Rolly. This is actually an old British children's song known as ‘A Frog be would a-wooing go.’ So, for those looking to replace Swing Low, consider this:
(a.k.a. Anthony Roly, Anthony Rowley . . . A Frog be would a-wooing go)
The tune can be heard in this children’s version
"A" is for asshole, all covered in shit
[Chorus, the first (c1)] = "Heigh-ho," says Rolly.
"B" is for the bugger who revels in it,
[Chorus, the second (c2)] = Singing rolly, poley, up'em and stuff'em, "Heigh-ho," says Anthony Rolly.
[Then start the sequence again]
"C" is for cunt all dripping with piss, (c1)
"D" is for the drunkard who gave it a kiss, (c2)
"E" is for the eunuch with only one ball, (c1)
"F" is for the fucker with no balls at all, (c2)
"G" is for goiter, gonorrhea, and gout, (c1)
"H" is the harlot who spreads it about, (c2)
"I" is for insertion, injection and itch, (c1)
"J" is the jerk of a dog on a bitch, (c2)
"K" is for knight who thought fucking a bore, (c1)
"L" is the lesbian who came back for more, (c2)
"M" is for maidenhead all tattered and torn, (c1)
"N" is the noble who died on his horn, (c2)
"O" is for orifice all cunningly concealed, (c1)
"P" is the penis all pranged up and peeled, (c2)
"Q" is the Quaker who shat in his hat. (c1)
"R" is the Rajah who rogered the cat, (c2)
"S" is the shit-pot all filled to the brim, (c1)
"T" is the turds which are floating within, (c2)
"U" is the usher who taught us at school, (c1)
"V" is the virgin who played with his tool, (c2)
"W" is the whore who thought fucking a farce, (c1)
And "X", "Y", and "Z" you can shove up your arse, (c2).
5. And finally, for those who are still doubters . . . Torch makes it clear when he says: “. . . an American friend sent me a cutting from the Wall Street Journal in 1975 with a long article about us, and said ‘surely there can’t be two Torch Bennetts in this world”. In it, both G. and myself were called Australians, horrible thought.” No offense to the chain gang down under, (well . . . then there is Hamersley of course). If any hasher out there has a Nexis Lexis account, I would be grateful if you could look up this article and send it to me. Much appreciated.
In the Spotlight - Myanmar (Burma)
1 Jul 2013
Updated: 14 Apr 2021
Up until a few years ago, Myanmar was exceeded only by North Korea in reclusiveness. A shift in consciousness in 2011 by the ruling junta, has allowed Yangon to become a bevy of activity with businessmen and tourists now being commonly seen (although things are looking a little tense at the moment). Back in 2013, I had the pleasure of journeying over to Myanmar, to visit the Yangon Hash for their 33rd Anniversary Weekend. Originally founded as the Rangoon H3 in the largest city (at that time it was the capitol) of Rangoon, the club adjusted when the ruling junta changed the name of the city and the country to Yangon, Myanmar in 1989. While there were a couple gaps of 6 months and 18 months where there were no runs, the YH3 has run weekly since January 1992 and now totals well over 1700 hash runs in their 41 year history.
Hashing actually first arrived in Burma in 1978, when Philip Gill of the US State Department arrived. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Phil (now 90 years old in 2021), and get some of the details. He explained that after a few months of getting settled, he looked around and thought Rangoon would be a great place to run a few hashes. So, at some point in 1978, no one knows for sure (much like Mother Hash), the Rangoon H3 was born. As Phil explained it . . . “The Rangoon Hash had three runs in 1978. The third run was interrupted by a military force saying that we were in a cantonment area (news to us). Burmese and non-diplomatic runners fled in various directions. The U.S. Defence Attaché was called on the carpet and that was the last run. We made no attempt to restart it.”
Hashing would not take long to resurface in Burma, as Andrew Engel and Geoff Percival teamed up to form the second coming of the Rangoon H3 on 23 Jun 1980. Only a name changes has occurred since, from Rangoon to the Yangon H3, but the hash has continued with only a couple minor disturbances ever since. Andrew Engel is credited as the founder, but it is believed Geoff Percival may actually have been the spark to get the Rangoon H3 off on its way back in 1980. Despite the uncertainty of the founding details, there is one person who has really kept the Yangon H3 on schedule and consistently hashing since the mid-1990s. Bob "BoBo" Thomas is a hash icon in Myanmar and throughout SE Asia. He took the lead on hosting the regional Mekong Indochina Hash events in 2003 and 2009, and often turns up in Bangkok, as well as a wide array of hashing events throughout the region. BoBo has recently returned to Mother England, but I'm sure we'll see him pop up on the Far East as COVID concerns minimize.
Among the many hash supporters in Yangon, Fenton "Don't Call Me Shirley" Holland has also been a regular on the YH3 for nearly two decades. The 33rd Anniversary weekend celebration consisted of a welcome dinner on Friday evening, a 14 Km Saturday main event trail, and a Sunday running of the Yangon Full Moon H3, which was founded by Michel “Ibo Ibo” Desloover in January 1998. Another hash club has since formed in September 2018, in the new capitol city. The Nay Pyi Taw H3 runs every other Sunday starting from Park Royal Hotel.
Aside from the hash, Yangon boasts one of the oldest structures in SE Asia. The Shwedagon Pagoda is believed to be over 2500 years old, and can be easily accessed from anywhere in the city. If you are looking for a weekend getaway in SE Asia, definitely consider Myanmar (although you may want to wait a few more months to allow things to settle down).
In the Spotlight - Nepal
20 Feb 2020
Nepal is best known for Mt. Everest and the Himalayan Mountain Range, as well as being the home of Buddhism. Surrounded by China and India, Nepal is a landlocked country of over 25 million people. The capital city of Kathmandu has a population of ~2.5 million, and is home to the Himalayan H3. According to their website, the Himalayan H3 was founded by Roger Binks, assisted by Keith Robinson, with the first trail taking place on 15 October 1979. The first trail consisted of two hares (Binks & Robinson) and 6 runners from Canada, Australia, Sweden and the UK. Starting out as a hard corps Men’s only hash, “these runs continued on Monday evenings with the occasional Saturday special. About 1985 ladies broke in and it became the fast hash. This continued until the early 1990s when it faded out due to ‘dreadful mismanagement’.”
The hash genealogy confirms that a second hash, the Himalayan Mixed H3 was founded on 19 March 1980, by John White. This new club ran on Thursday evenings, and the trails were less extreme. After the demise of the Men’s Hash, the Mixed group started running on Saturday, and still does to this day, as the Himalayan H3. I recently had the extreme pleasure of running with the Himalayan H3, which took place on Monastery Road in the Kathmandu Valley. The directions to the start took us through the southern side of the city, where the roads are a mixture of paved and dirt streets. Heavy traffic combined with stop lights, circles, and policemen directing traffic, caused many a traffic jam. It took just over an hour to make our way the 20 Kms, but the directions were superb, and brought us up a narrow single lane road to a dirt parking lot, that was surrounded by several monasteries.
The start was overlooked by a large Buddha statue of the Dollu Monastery, which we eventually ran around on our way to the top of the mountain. The trail on this day (~6.5 Kms) was shorter than what they usually run (8-12 Kms) according to the pack. The shorter trail was slightly disappointing, because it was an awesome trail. I describe an awesome trail as one you do not want to end, because it is so enjoyable . . . but eventually a hasher needs to stop, put on a dry shirt, and enjoy a nice cold beer. So, after a long climb up the side of a mountain, followed by a long downhill loop back to the start, the gathered pack of about 20 settled in for a fun and entertaining circle.
The national beer of Nepal is Ghorka Beer, and was actually pretty good, but I did not see any at the hash. The cooler had Tiger, Heineken, and a couple other assorted brands, along with a few bottles of cider. We honored the hares after the excellent trail, the usual assortment of mischief was also recognized, and in the end, for some odd reason, I received the honors of the Hashit. The voting was rigged for sure, but I enjoyed my down-down out of the sacred mug. The hashers of the Himalayan H3 are very welcoming and friendly. After the festivities of the circle, about half the pack ventured back towards the city to enjoy a dinner of various local culinary delights including Buffalo, compressed rice, and other vegetable dishes. With the sun setting, and the temperature dipping, I had to say goodbye. No doubt, if you ever get the chance to visit Kathmandu, make sure to look up the Himalayan H3.
In the Spotlight - Okinawa
4 Jul 2014
This month’s excursion into Hash House Harriers history is one that I have thought and wondered about for decades. If you have been around even for a short while, you have certainly seen or heard about the Okinawa HHH, with those colorful orange and blue happi coats standing out in any crowd of brightly colored hasher frivolity. I started my hash life in 1984 with the Okinawa HHH, which has directly spawned nearly 30 new hash clubs all over the world. See the whole story.
In the Spotlight - Oman
26 Feb 2020
Updated 9 Nov 2021
Hashing in the Middle East is continuously confounded by various struggles, and failures of diplomacy that limit travel and peaceful coexistence. Additionally, sadly, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, a long-ruling (and much loved) king of Oman passed away in January 2020, at the age of 79. In the world of hashing, Oman (like many locations in recent years) can be explained in terms of the Theory of Relativity that ends with the “big crunch.” Although the presence of the hash house harriers took 38 years to reach Oman, with the forming of the Muscat H3 in 1976, it quickly branched out to nearly a dozen clubs throughout the county by 1989, only to end up back to a single club.
It all began when Roger Forrest, who had been hashing in Brunei, teamed up with the support of Peter Courtney Green, Dave 'Skid' Marks, Ron Strachan, and Johnny Johnson, founded the Hash House Harriers - Oman on 25 October 1976. One of the original members, Ron "The Penguin" Strachan recently provided me with additional details, including the first hash trash. Ron started hashing with the Jakarta H3 in January 1975, and was on assignment to Oman at the right time to assist in getting this new club up and going, and even hared trail number 2. His time in Oman would soon come to an end though, and by run number 7, he was already on his way out. As other clubs began forming throughout Oman, the name was changed to the Muscat H3. By 1989, there were 8 other hash clubs running over the sand dunes of Oman, they were the Rima H3 (1980), Thumrait H3 (1982), Fahud H3 (1983), Marmul H3 (1984), Khasab H3 (1985), Jebel H3 (1985), Wudum H3 (1989), and the Hormuz H3 (1989). The 90s would see yet a couple more clubs, the Salalah H3 (1992) and the Muscat Full Moon H3 (1997) also form. There is also a listing for the SHAQ H3, but it has no founding date. The Muscat Reunion H3 had also formed in Great Britain by John Dorr to celebrate all those hashers that had moved on from Oman.
As a matter of fact, the Muscat H3 is credited with expanding to Yemen, three clubs in Great Britain, and one club in the United Arab Emirates. These 14 offspring would only branch out to form three more clubs in the 1990s before the big crunch began. Of the 10 clubs that once set trails all over the countryside of Oman, only 1 remains with the recent merger of the last two remaining clubs (Muscat H3 and Jebel H3) to form the Oman H3. Nevertheless, based on my recent visit, I can confirm that hashing in Oman is alive and well. The countryside is an arid desert atmosphere and the trails are most excellent, and the hashers all enjoy the fun. The Oman H3 runs every Saturday, promptly at 5 PM, and even though it is a dry country, you can still scare up a cold beer on the hash.
Papua New Guinea
In the Spotlight - Papua New Guinea
25 Mar 2020
New Guinea is the second largest island on the planet, behind Greenland. It is roughly split equally down the middle, with the western half being the Indonesian province of Papua. Papua New Guinea (PNG) occupies the eastern half of the island, and is an amazingly diverse country, with over 800 acknowledged languages. Located on the “Ring of Fire,” PNG also includes over 600 occupied and unoccupied additional islands. Like many of the island nations in the South Pacific, the island has gone through many phases of affiliation, with PNG most recently being administered by Australia for about 60 years. Prior to 1919, PNG was split with the northern half being controlled by Germany, and the southern half being administered by the British Empire, before Australia took over administration. PNG gained its independence in 1975 from Australia, and has been a member of the United Nations since Oct of that year.
PNG, like other former British outposts, is another example of how the 1990s were the high-water mark of hashing, and as the British Empire reduced in size, hash clubs started to fold as the world changed. Although new clubs are still popping up in other parts of the world, hashing in PNG has been on the decline ever since. The Hash House Harriers first arrived in PNG on 13 Feb 1970, on Bougainville Island, when Joe Griffiths, assisted by Bob Duffy, founded the Panguna H3. Researching for this article became increasingly detailed when I looked at Magic’s records, which identify 27 hash clubs that had formed. When cross referenced against the hash genealogy, there have been as many as 31 hash clubs that once scurried around the major islands of PNG.
After the Panguna H3 formed, the following clubs soon followed: (Arawa H3 – 1971), (Port Moresby H3 – 1974 / Jan), (Port Moresby Harriettes – 1974 / Sep), (Lae H3 – 1974 / Oct), (Goroka H3 – 1975 / Feb), (Rabaul H3 – 1975 / Mar), (Arawa Harriets – 1975 / Dec), (Rabaul Harriettes – 1976 / Mar), (*Kavieng H3 - Apr 1976), (Lae Harriettes – 1977), (Wewak H3 – 1979), (Bululo H3 – 1980 / Feb), (Kundiawa H3 – 1980 / Dec), (Star Mountains H3 – 1982 / Aug), (Madang H3 – 1982 / Dec), (Vanimo H3 – 1986), (Boroko H3 – 1987), (Porgera H3 – 1990), (Port Moresby Full Moon H3 – 1994), (Kokopo H3 – 1996), (Kwariwai Very Occasional H3 – 1997), (Taurama H3 – 1998), (Moresby Over The Hump H3 – 2005), and there is no founding dates available for (Ajotau H3, Gazelle H3, Kimbe H3, Loloho H3, Mount Hagen H3, Popondetta H3, Yonki H3). [NOTE: Any updates to the founding dates for the aforementioned hash clubs, would be greatly appreciated. *Updated Sep 2020.]
Currently, there are only two remaining hash clubs in PNG, and they are in the capital city of Port Moresby. The oldest currently running hash is the Port Moresby H3 (a.k.a Pukpuk H3, a.k.a. POM H3), which had its first run on 7 Jan 1974, when Horst Wippern, assisted by Peter Mendl, came over from the Mother Hash in Kuala Lumpur. On my recent visit, I was focused on joining the Monday evening Port Moresby H3 trail, but once we arrived, I noticed there was a Port Moresby Full Moon H3 trail scheduled for Saturday evening. The Port Moresby Full Moon H3 was founded on 19 Oct 1994, by Chris “Krinkle Kut” Smith, assisted by Rob “Malibog” Denny, and usually runs on the weekend closest to the full moon. Never one to pass up hash run, I quickly rearranged my schedule, and we walked about 4 KMs to the outskirts of town and joined in the fun. Being a night time trail, and having been warned about the safety of the streets after dark, I did not expect it was going to be too long.
A pack of about 20 had a short trail of less than 2 Kms around the gated community, with a couple stops along the way. This gave us an opportunity to chat and enjoy the clear sky and the full moon, eventually making our way back to the hares’ house. After completing the trail, we relaxed with a beer or three (SP Beer), and the hares provided an excellent dinner buffet. The kids were then moved into the living room to watch some movies, and we commenced a fun filled circle of down downs with many jokes, songs, and revelry. Having walked to the hash, we were warned about being on the streets after dark, and were graciously offered a ride back to our hotel by T-Rex, a local hasher. He is a hash superstar in my book, as he also offered to take us on a hike in the Varirata National Park the next day. It was raining on the drive out, and for the first hour or so of the hike. Then it cleared off just as we arrived at the first of the two main lookouts. Amazing scenes of green mountains and countryside made it well worth the effort.
On Monday, the following day, we joined the Pukpuk H3 (a.k.a. the POM H3, a.k.a. the Port Moresby H3) for another excursion of hashing fun. As Men's hash clubs around the world have grown old and grey, their numbers have diminished. Further confined by the changing mining processes on PNG, and expat community dynamics, this has had a huge effect on the available recruits to keep the hash going. Such is the tale of the Pukpuk H3. We had a small pack of about a dozen, but it was very robust. A daylight walking trail took us through one corner of the city, and was followed with plenty of delicious food (and beer of course). The circle was mixed with good fun, many songs, and lively banter, and all combined for a fun evening and another exceptional hashing experience, which somehow (haha), ended with me getting awarded the Prick of the Week. Guess that was due to my exceptionally wacky personality, or the many songs I kept singing. If you ever find yourself in the South Pacific, make sure to get over to Port Moresby, and enjoy yourself a most excellent hashing experience.
In the Spotlight - Paraguay
24 Feb 2022
Paraguay is one of only 2 landlocked countries in South America (the other is Bolivia), and is bordered by Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the northwest, and Argentina to the southwest. Asunción is the capital, and is located on the south-western border near Argentina. The most common travel destinations outside of Asunción are the Iguazu Falls, which are located where the borders of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil intersect. These majestic falls are surrounded by the Iguazu National Park, and they are considered one of the new natural wonders of the world. There is also the World Heritage site of the Jesuit Mission that dates back to the early 17th century. Paraguay is also home to one of the world’s most powerful, hydro-electric dams at Itaipu, which in partnership with Brazil can produce more electricity than 12 nuclear power plants.
Paraguay gained its independence from Spain in 1811, but according to WikiTravel, “Paraguay has had a very troubled history. Being one of the richest countries in the 1800's (and the only one in the Americas to have railway transportation at that time...before the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70). Paraguay, facing the allied forces of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory.” This resulted in a century of what you could call, shall we say, women sharing the few men that remained, to (copulate) repopulate the nation. In current times, Paraguay’s economy is primarily agricultural, and it is listed as one of the most economical countries to live in based on its very low cost of living.
Paraguay also has a history with the Hash House Harriers. There have been three hash clubs, all in the capital city of Asunción. The first Asunción H3 was founded in August 1992 by Jürgen "Old Rock" Ruder. It took a while to get his story, but I was able to track down Old Rock, who will be 82 years old next week. He does not do email, but was able to enlist my old Friend “Little Adonis” (current GM of the Hannover H3 in Germany), to get the following information for this article. Old Rock began his hashing life in Rangoon, Burma back in 1980, shortly after the second Rangoon H3 formed. Very much enjoying the hash, he took what he learned back to Germany with him, and founded the Hannover H3 in 1984. Fast forward nearly a decade, and Old Rock makes the first of three 3 trips to Paraguay (between 1992 and 1996) as an engineer for the Federal Institute for Geoscience and Raw Materials. Although he enjoyed his work, there was something missing. Connecting with some local embassy personnel (including the Marine Guards at the US Embassy), and along with a few of his colleagues, he founded the first Asunción H3 in August 1992. Old Rock stated that they ran their trails outside the city in the sprawling fields surrounding the capital. They consumed lots of beer in circle, while singing songs like Father Abraham, and could often be seen drinking out of their shoes. Departing for the first time in December 1992, Old Rock assured that the club was in good hands to keep it going for his eventual return in the summer of 1994, just in time to celebrate the 50th run. Saying farewell after his third and final visit in January 1996, the hash was still very active, continuing with their biweekly schedule, but without his leadership it appears to have faded out after his departure.
The second iteration of the Asunción H3 was founded by another old friend of mine, Steve 'Burnt Sox' Royster and his wife 7 Minutes. In conversation with Burnt Sox, he explained the club he founded like this . . . “Picture it: seven intrepid souls facing another weekend in landlocked Paraguay, left to themselves for entertainment, descended on the Botanical Gardens on July 22, 2001, with one common purpose - beer. Over the next 54 runs, the ASSuncion Hash House Harriers - later tamed to the Asunción H3 - would chase hares and beer all over the city, to quench our thirst and better our souls.” This club lasted for about 2 years, until Burnt Sox and 7 Minutes departed. Little did he know, that it would be 18 years before another hash club would form in Paraguay.
The third iteration of the Asunción H3 was founded by Eric “Ban the Cock” Jost and Harma “Double Dutch Mountains” Eilander on 5 Dec 2021. They have both been avid hashers over the years, but after moving to Paraguay over a year ago, they felt something was missing, so a new hash club was in order. While chatting with Ban and DDM at Eurohash in Prague, he told me about his desire to start a hash club, but just needed a little push. So, I made plans to visit Paraguay to prod him along. Coordinating my visit, I dragged MaBouche over from Brazil, just in time to participate in the first trail of this new hash club. There was a modest turnout of 9, but several other local friends of the founders promised to join up on future runs. When Burnt Sox (founder of the previous AH3) learned a new hash club was forming, he happily exclaimed “7 Minutes [and I], the ASS H3's founders, are thrilled to see the pack taking to the streets and parks of Luque once again. We wish this third version of the ASS H3 much beer and many shitty trails. On-on!”
Many thanks to all the contributors (and Little Adonis for transcribing Old Rock’s recollections) for the drafting of this bit of hash history. Checking in with the current Asunción H3, they are still going strong, running trail number 6 today. The pack continues to grow, as they explore the many interesting areas in and around the capital city of Paraguay. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and will be looking forward to making another trip there soon.
In the Spotlight - Paris, France
3 Feb 2014
This account requires more detail, you can read the story of Hashing in Paris.
In the Spotlight - Perth, Australia
28 Mar 2015
Perth is the capitol of Western Australia (WA), and is home to roughly 2 million people. Located on the southern part of the west coast, Perth is second only to Honolulu Hawaii for its isolated remoteness from other major population areas. As for lifestyle and entertainment, Perth is a sprawling metropolis and has a generally laid back and relaxing atmosphere, beautiful beaches, scenic vistas, and numerous outdoor activities to make it a must see location. Yes, one of those activities is hashing.
The Perth Men's H3 (a.k.a. The Original Gentleman's Hash) was the first hash club to form in Perth, which is now home to about a dozen active hash clubs. The Perth H3 is also one of the oldest hash clubs in all of Australia, founded by Geoff 'Pop' Edwards on 16 February 1970, it is fourth on the list behind the Hobart H3 and Sydney H3 founded in 1967, and the Canberra H3 in 1969. Although there are many, some of the other assorted, but notable hash clubs from Perth are the South of Perth H3 founded 4 Dec 1981, by Tom 'Snappy Tom' Davis, the Perth Harriettes founded 16 July 1978, by Wes 'Old Wares' Carter, and the crazy boys of the Hamersley H3 founded 12 Nov 1978, by Ron 'Duffy' Duffield.
Although isolated, Perth has been host to several large events such as Aussie Nash Hash 1993, the out of region PAN ASIA 1999, and most recently World Interhash 2008 (affectionately known as the "Two Hands - Two Beers" event). And if all that is not enough to put Perth on the hashing map, there are dozens more hash clubs going south from Perth in Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton, and all the way down to the Convicts Hash in Albany. And while you are in the region, don't forget to take some time between hash runs for fishing, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches.
If you want to get out of the car for awhile, you can always spend a few days hiking a few sections of the nearly 1000Km long Bibbulmun Track, a footpath through the bush between Perth and Albany. The only drawback is, that Australia is home to a considerable number of the most deadly snakes and spiders on the planet (so plan accordingly - but 2 million people can't be wrong). So, if you are looking for a special getaway, make sure to consider the many awesome activities and sights to be seen in Perth. Check out the details on hashing in Perth.
In the Spotlight - Peru
22 Oct 2021
Peru is located on the Pacific coast of South America, and is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. The number one tourist attraction is the ancient Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, which are located in the southern region, near Cusco. Up in the northern region, Peru is also home to the headwaters of the Amazon River that flows out of Peru in an easterly direction across Brazil and to the Atlantic Ocean. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica “The name Peru is derived from a Quechua word implying land of abundance, a reference to the economic wealth produced by the rich and highly organized Inca civilization that ruled the region for centuries. The country’s vast mineral, agricultural, and marine resources long have served as the economic foundation of the country, and, by the late 20th century, tourism had also become a major element of Peru’s economic development.”
After a review of the HHH Genealogy, there was scant information on hash clubs in Peru (now updated). I then checked the Harrier International World Hash Handbook & Directory (Run #7 with information collected and printed in 1993, by Tim “Magic” Hughes), hashing first arrived in Peru sometime in 1981. The original Lima H3 was founded by Juan Carlos 'Pinchy' Valdivia, who was assisted by his wife Ducky 'Daisy Duck' Valdivia, and David Hartford. Out of curiosity to see if I could find anything more, I googled Juan Carlos Valdivia, and found there were hundreds of profiles, so this must certainly be a popular name. Pinchy had previously hashed with the Manila H3, in the Philippines, so I contacted the Manila H3 to see if they had any details. Unfortunately, they did not start keeping records until 1982, so no specifics could be gathered there. If anyone out there in the hash world hashed in Lima prior to 1990, or knows anyone who did, please contact me. I would like to dig deeper into this mystery, as the Lima H3 is also credited as the first hash club to form in South America, closely followed by the Buenos Aires H3 that was founded in 1982.
A second iteration of the Lima H3 was formed on 3 Mar 1993, when John Pilk arrived from the Ottawa H3, in Canada. John was assisted by Mike 'Yesser' Yetman. Running weekly, this club had accumulated 20 runs by 18 Jul 1993, just before the publishing date of Magic's directory.
In the hash directory printed up in 2008, for the Interhash in Perth, it recorded the third, and current iteration of the Lima H3 formed on 30 March 1996. This iteration was founded by Tom 'Ivory Ghost' Fallon) who had arrived from the Abidjan H3, of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. He was assisted by Marisol Diaz and Eric 'Cabana Boy' Lyman, and over the past 25 years they have completed nearly 750 hash trails.
Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for many years, and I have been tracking the Lima H3 for nearly a decade, looking for the right opportunity to visit. Finally, this month, I was able to get to Peru, but unable to get up to Machu Picchu. The COVID epidemic has seen vast reductions in tourists allowed to visit the site, as well as the next ‘Transformers’ movie is being filmed up around the area, which has also greatly reduced access. Wait times are from 3 to 6 months, unless you work through a travel agency that may be able to get you in sooner.
Although public activities have been impacted by national restrictions connected to COVID, the Lima H3 does occasionally get out for gatherings when the mood strikes. Fortunately, I was able to join them for a couple hash runs in and around the city recently. The first run was up to the northern edge of the city, out along the beach, where we ran over several sand dunes, and visited the Cuevas del Pirata. The Cuevas del Pirata are caves formed naturally by the erosion of rocks influenced by ocean currents. Coincidentally, after 37 years of running hash trails, this was also the 100th country / territory I have had the pleasure to hash in, and the Lima H3 were so kind to help celebrate with me. The second trail was in city center, taking in many historic buildings and ancient ruins, including the old wall. With just a week on this visit, I was only able to see a few sites, but did enjoy many local foods and drinks, along with meeting many of the wonderful Lima Hashers. I will definitely be going back for another visit.
The Lima H3 generally meets on Saturday afternoons, and updated info can be found on their website.
In the Spotlight - Portland, Oregon
30 Aug 2015
The capital city of Oregon is in Salem, but Portland is the largest city. So it is fitting that the hashing first arrived in Portland, when Mark "Wrong Way Corrigan" Cook arrived. Having started his hash adventure in Guam, Corrigan brought the aura of the Tyrant, and the Agana style of hashing to the shores of Oregon. Corrigan set Oregon's first hash trail on 17 May 1987 through the scrub brush and countryside along Interstate 5.
Coincidentally, I first met Corrigan on the start of one of many cross continent hash trips in the summer of 1993, while at the now defunct Olympic H3 in the state of Washington. After an excellent trail, and chatting with a few friends, Corrigan mentioned there will be a hash in Portland the next day. Back in those days, when we had to use old paper listings of hash clubs before the easy access to information on the internet, getting the scoop on another trail was golden, and not to be missed.
With very sketchy directions, and an old atlas map, I made the trip down to Portland. Stopping at a gas station to ask for directions to the National Guard armory. Upon arrival, I was unable to find the pack . . . but did find marks. Thinking I was late, I did a quick change and grabbed my whistle and started running. While searching for trial at the first check, the pack caught up to me and . . . feigning ignorance (which many hashers say I do well) we all went onwards together.
After about a 2 hour trail, through small clusters of buildings, open wasteland, dumps, and fully grown cornfields, we all found our way down to the riverside with a couple topless babes pointing us in the direction of the on-in. It was a great trail with a great bunch of hashers, and up until this point it was the one and only time I had hashed in Oregon.
OK, back to Portland . . . the hash genealogy is littered with listings of now defunct hashes such as the Salem H3 also founded later in 1987, and the Portland Full Moon H3 in 1993. Ashland was next to host a hash of its own, and still active today, first running trail in September of 1988, and founded by Paul "Sherpa" Rostykus who came to Oregon from the Morgantown H3 in West "By God" Virginia. Next was the Eugene H3 founded by Joe "The Boil" (a.k.a. "Questionable Gender") Moyle on 9 Apr 1991. Numerous other hash clubs have been founded over the decades since, and now there are as many as ten active hash clubs around the state of Oregon. Next week they will host 17th Biennial InterAmericas Hash (InterAm), time to pack those bags.
In the Spotlight - Qatar
3 Apr 2022
Qatar is a relatively small peninsula off Saudi Arabia, that extends into the Persian / Arabian Gulf in the Middle East. Qatar is by far the richest country in the region, with a per capita GDP in excess of $100,000 US, which also ranks fourth worldwide. Rich with natural history, Qatar has benefitted in recent years from a vast reserve of oil and natural gas. Qatar is also home to the worldwide media network Al Jazeera. The capital city of Doha (and surrounding areas) is completely under reconstruction at the moment, as it prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in Nov 2022.
The Hash House Harriers first arrived in Qatar in 1976, when Mike ‘Dognahalf’ Ogden founded the Qatar H3 in Doha. When I was digging through my hash library, I came across the very first hash trash for this club, and boldly across the top it was Doha Hash House Harriers, so that started me wondering if some sort of name change had occurred, because one of the other four hash clubs in Qatar is also named the Doha H3. I tracked down Dognahalf to see what he had to say about it. He immediately knew what I was talking about, so must have answered this question many times. He simply stated that it has always been the Qatar H3, but “That was a long day, too many beers and it was the middle of summer.” So, there you have it, blaming the beer. Dognahalf also mentioned that “Half the runners on no1 never came again [note: there were 5, two hares and three in the pack]. But fortunately, 3 who couldn't come on no1, came on no2.” The Qatar H3 is still active, and has completed nearly 2700 trails running weekly on Monday afternoons, one hour before sunset. They held their 50th Run on 23 May 1977.
Mike started his hashing life in Hong Kong back in 1971. Less than two years later, he was reassigned to Jakarta where he “helped John Brinsden found the Bandung Hash in August 1974, and was a cofounder of the Surabaya Hash in March 1975.” Next up, in June of 1975, Mike was off to Doha, Qatar with a promotion and assignment as the Manager of the Remittance Department for Eastern Bank. It would take a full year for Mike to get things sorted with his new responsibilities, before he set about founding the Qatar H3. During this first year, he filled what little spare time he had playing Rugby. This is where he met John Frith, who along with Tony Westcott, they banded together to get the hash going. When asked about his hash name, Mike said “I got named [Dognahalf] in Brunei running with the Kuala Belait Mixed Hash in 1988.”
Doha is on the east coast of the country, but the next club to form was the Qatar West Coast H3, founded by David Stanley on 17 Jan 1981. Like many hash clubs around the world, they have been a bit sporadic during COVID, but have had a few recent trails.
It would be another 15 years before the next club formed, again back in Doha, when Keith Boyle founded the Doha H3 on 6 Feb 1996. They have completed nearly 1400 trails, and are still active on Wednesday evenings at 1900.
The fourth and last hash to come about was the Doha Nightcrawlers, founded by Alan ‘Baldrick 2 Dogs' Holden on 29 Jul 2010, and was assisted by Phil ‘Queen of England’ Davies. When asked why they formed this new club, Baldrick stated “We were bemoaning the fact that those of us with real jobs couldn't make it Qatar H3 as it started too early.” The Nightcrawlers are still active, and can be found looking for trail on Thursday evenings at 7 pm, once a month near the full moon. Baldrick also mentioned that “We picked Thursday night as it was the last working day of the week and meant we could party hard after the run. Our first 10 or so runs ended at sunrise on Friday. We also set up an Intermoon in conjunction with Dubai's Moonshine H3.”
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Doha, just in time to hash with the Doha H3 and the Doha Nightcrawlers H3, during the week before Ramadan. The post run activities were curtailed a bit (no music, etc) so some minor changes were made, but we still had a great time on both trails. The Doha H3 on Wednesday was organized by local hash legend Dan ‘Dildo Dan’ Smith, if you mention hashing in Qatar to anyone around the region, the first response is . . . contact Dildo. He entertained us with a trail around his neighborhood with the circle in his yard. It was an interesting trail, that also circled around the new Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena. We followed up trail with dinner at a local Sri Lankan restaurant.
For the Thursday Nightcrawler’s trail, Dildo offered me the opportunity to join him setting trail. Not often do I get the chance to just be a mule and set falsies, so it was an easy effort. An excellent plan was executed to make it up as we go, and we finished setting trail just in time to meet the pack of about 25 (but there was over 35 by the end of the evening). After a few introductions and chalk talk, we then ran along with them as they scurried through the streets of central Doha. Trail was about 5 kms of mostly pavement, mixed in with some alleyways, a parking garage, construction barriers, a small park or two, and the on home through a hole in the fence of a construction site. It was too loud on the street at the finish, so we went straight up into the Red Lion Pub that serves a wide variety of international beers. Throw in a burger or a plate of nachos, and the entire pack was happy. The nightcrawlers have a tradition that anyone falling asleep will get the full moon treatment (traditions don’t usually start unless something happens several times). It was a great night with great hashers, and fun times in Qatar. If you ever get the chance to visit Qatar, make sure to join the hash.
In the Spotlight - Rumson H3 (New Jersey)
23 Oct 2020
There are thousands of hash clubs around the world, with many appealing reasons to make the effort to search them out. Rumson H3 was one of those clubs for me. I have known about the Rumson H3 for many years, have heard many tales of their exploits, and have even been invited on a few occasions by Gil “Mr. Jackson” Jackson (a.k.a. Mr J). My good fortunes finally gave me the opportunity to run a trail with the . . . “Hell’s Angels of Hashing.” If your sarcasm senses happen to tingle at all while reading this article, do not be alarmed.
I rolled into the start location a little early, and met the hare (Keyhole) as he was conducting his final trail prep. Mr. J was also there, so we had the opportunity to chat a bit. Soon more cars pulled into the nearly empty parking lot, and after a few brief introductions, the pack assembled ‘promptly’ at 10:17 am on Saturday morning to run a hash trail, just as advertised on the website. Gil proudly stated that they have never missed a trail in 42 years, even during the COVID era.
To provide the historical background, the Rumson H3 was founded on 20 May 1978, from a pool of primordial sludge, by Keith Kanaga and Gil Jackson. Keith had previously hashed with Mother Hash in Kuala Lumpur, and in 1978 was settling into northern New Jersey, when he met Gil who was an avid runner in the area. One day Keith mentions this running club he had been part of, and asked Gil if he could reach out to his fellow runners to help him organize a club in the area. Despite being drafted in 1956 and serving 2 years overseas, Gil had never run a hash before, but was enthusiastic if beer was involved. Thus, began the legend of Rumson. While scanning the dark web, I found a few videos of their exploits, including this general overview and the infamous Dead Horse Story.
For anyone who has attended an InterAmericas Hash (IAH), you may be aware of the articulate and concerted effort the Rumson Hash has made in their bid presentation . . . to ‘avoid’ hosting this biennial event. Fit with the latest technology (overhead projector and magic markers), Gil or one of the other members, would wax eloquently on the virtues of New Jersey, to wow the crowd. I recall one such presentation in Panama back in 2013, when the technology was lagging more than usual, so chromatic slides and a flashlight were used to give us amazing low definition views of New Jersey, and what it had to offer. Sadly, this effort also failed, as Rumson has never been added to the historical list of hosts to IAH.
Getting back to the trail for this day, a pack of 15 hashers (Men Only) had finally assembled at precisely 10:17 am, and off we went . . . at 10:27. Marked with flour and chalk, the trail went straight under a train bridge, and into the ‘deep’ shiggy of New Jersey. We worked our way through a couple checks on single file grass and dirt tracks, and after about a mile, we found the first beer check. As you would expect, half the pack had meandered aimlessly off trail, and would take 30 minutes to finally follow their noses to the cooler of German biers provided on this Oktoberfest themed event. After a few juicy stories, a couple jokes, and gentlemanly banter, we set off on trail again with instructions of how to find the second beer check, which ended up being just a half mile away. There again, with great amusement, another small cooler of beer was consumed, before covering the final two miles of dirt trails back to the park. While we were socializing after trail, the hare pulled out a pot of various German sausages to further celebrate the theme, and shown in this video of the recent Oktoberfest Hash.
Just as Keith had experienced at Mother hash back in the 70s, Rumson does not hold a circle, does not sing songs, and has no formal ceremony of any kind. They also do not give out names, but some members have acquired nicknames as a matter of course. Other than Mr. J who is also fondly referred to as “The Chaplain,” there is Elephant Dick that some of you may know, who reminded me of your crazy uncle Richard (if your uncle is Richard Dreyfuss). There was also Keyhole (the hare), Butt Naked, Rear End Wrangler, GI (who I had recently hashed with in Taiwan), and Dead Man Walking . . . which got us started on the old man conversation of comparing scars. Going around the circle, one had just gotten a new shoulder, another had a knee replacement, others have had various heart related surgeries (like myself), and a busted hip or two. Out of all that, who do you think would be the healthiest . . . the invariable Teflon Don himself, The Chaplain, with no medical scars or ailments of any significance in his 86 years of life.
A few other Interesting bits I found in my research, was a mention that Rumson H3 might be the second or third oldest hash in the USA. Intrigued by this comment, knowing it was not the second oldest, I took a look in the genealogy. There I discovered that the Rumson H3 is actually the 13th oldest hash club recorded (and 11th currently active) in the USA, behind Ft Eustis H3 in Virginia, DC Men’s H3, and the Little Rock H3 in Arkansas, being the first three, respectively. More on that later, but at 86, Mr J also claims he is the oldest active hasher in USA, also anchoring what he claimed as the oldest pack in the world with an average age of regular active hashers of 64, by his count. Surprisingly, at 56, I was not the youngest hasher in attendance on this day.
With the run completed, the fest food and bier consumed, and several other good stories of Rumson H3 lore, the pack started to break up and go home. Then GI mentions there is another hash, just 30 minutes away, starting in a couple hours . . . say no more. It was off to the Summit Hash for another Oktoberfest themed trail, but that is a tale for another day. If you are ever in northern New Jersey on a Saturday morning, and bring your own sausage, you should not miss the opportunity to run with the Rumson Hash House Harriers. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
In the Spotlight - Saipan
27 Jan 2020
Saipan is a small island of just 115 sq/kms, but the largest of 14 islands, in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). Saipan, along with sister islands Tinian and Rota, is rich with historical artifacts from the second world war, of which I will not go into. Saipan has a small population of just over 50,000, but still boasts a motivated hasher population. There were at least 30 hashers on trail during my recent visit.
According to the HHH Genealogy, the Saipan H3 was founded by Curt “AC” Clotheir on 15 Dec 1984, as a spawn of the Agana H3 on Guam. Saipan has spawned at least five hash clubs. First was the Rota H3 in 1993, which lives on only via an annual event of Saipan and Guam hashers. The Saipan No Weenie H3 was next in 1995, and is currently listed as a dormant club. The Saipan Full Moon H3 began in 1996, and still enjoys monthly runs on or around the full moon. Finally, the Anniston H3 was founded in Alabama back in 2006, but appears to have been relegated to the sands of time. There is one other off-shoot of the Saipan H3, the Saipan Hash Impromptu Trail (SHIT) H3 that runs whenever someone wants to host a trail, on a day that the Saipan H3 is not running.
During my visit, the SHIT H3 just happened to be running, called by a long since departed Saipan hasher who just happened to be back on island for the holidays. The normal routine of the Saipan H3 (as well as the SHIT H3) is to meet at the Bank of Guam parking lot, and after about 30 minutes, the hares announce where trail will be on island. Then everyone jumps in their vehicles and off they go. Once the pack is reassembled at the start point, the hares draw up the chalk talk, which includes a large box drawn in flour, that the pack must stand in for 10 minutes to give the hares a head start, while they run off to set trail. Most trails on Saipan are A to B, meaning they will not finish at the start point, but somewhere else on island. The trails will include some roads, and foot paths, but will also have deep shiggy sections in the jungle, that the hares often have to chop their way through with machetes. While I was there, the SHIT H3 started in a cave, and ran through the jungle to a common tourist site, all in the dark. The Saipan H3 started high up on an overlook of the ocean, and finished on the beach. Hashes on Saipan, for a mere $10 US, will provide beer and other drinks, and some form of finger food. The circle is very entertaining, often lasting longer than the trail, and includes down downs and songs, jokes, accusations . . . and a campfire. It is somewhat difficult to get to Saipan, but if you ever have the chance, I highly recommend it, and make sure you include a full Saturday in your itinerary.
In the Spotlight - Scotland
13 Sep 2021
The abridged version of Scottish history, according to Scotland.Org, estimates that the highlands were first settled around 10,000 BC. Some of the oldest tools ever discovered were in Scotland, around 3000 BC. In 124 AD, the Romans arrived and scribble the first recorded history of the region, while building Hadrian’s Wall and battling the Caledonians. The Romans also built the 60 Kms of Antonine Wall, but are never really able to defeat the Caledonians, and subsequently withdraw from Britain completely. Around 800 AD, the Vikings started migrating to the region to trade with the Picts, who were in the process of establishing the Kingdom of Alba. Macbeth (the real one, not the fictional one written by Shakespeare) rules Alba for 17 years.
In 1297, William Wallace leads a hearty band of Scots, defeating the English army in the Battle of Stirling Bridge, thus establishing Scotland’s independence. In 1306, Robert the Bruce becomes King of Scotland. Then in 1320, The Declaration of Arbroath is sent to the Pope, proclaiming Scotland’s sovereignty, a document potentially used as a framework for the Declaration of Independence that the colonist in the New Country drafted over 450 years later. Several hundred years pass by until around 1750, when Scottish philosophers usher in the Age of Enlightenment that would shape the rest of the world. A couple hundred more years pass, there are a couple world wars, and fishing was a major component of the economy. Then in the late 1960s, they discover oil, and petroleum products becomes the center of the economy for the next 50 years. It was during the oil boom, that hashing makes its way to the shores of Scotland, and this is where Scottish history gets really interesting.
The HHH genealogy shows the first hash club established in Scotland was when a few Dutchmen formed the Aberdeen Haggis H3 on 8 Aug 1977 (another equally official document reports this date as sometime in 1980). Nonetheless, this is the first hash club in Scotland, but it met its bitter doom after only 4 runs.
It would not be until 8 Feb 1981, when a much more resilient, and still active Edinburgh H3 was founded by Lt. Col. Willie Coupar who came in from the Surrey H3, and was assisted by Alan Thompson, Susan Thompson, Sara Vye, and Ken McGukin. The first trail had a modest pack of 2 hashers, but by the second run, the pack had swelled to an amazing 7. Over the years, the Edinburgh H3 has in fact significantly grown, and has successfully hosted the 2nd Commonwealth Hash in 1986, and the UK Nash Hashes in 1989 and 2009. The Edinburgh H3 still runs weekly, on Sunday mornings.
The Aberdeen H3 was founded on 23 Jan 1983, by former Cairo H3 hasher Mark ‘Tortoise’ Thompson, assisted by Phil 'Tonto' Townsend, Ronnie Robb, Dave Robb, Russel 'The Mith' Smith, and Colin ‘Ol Red Eyes’ Maclean. The 1st hash Trash lists Tortoise and ‘Ol Red Eyes as the hares, for a pack of 27 hashers. According to their website “Aberdeen was labeled the shiggy capital of hashing in the UK for some time, with many AH3 Hashers being nicknamed MSA (mudslinging arseholes) by older, much wizened hashers. An Aberdeen hasher (Shit F’brains) organized the first ever inter Scottish Hash on 13 March 1994. [After publishing this article, Olymprick contacted me with differing information for the Jock Hash, with a initial date of Jock Hash being in July 1993. After more discussion, Little Shit came up with the original hash trash for run #577, settling the date at 30 Jan 1994]. Over the years the name has been twisted and changed, through Inter Jock, or Inter Joke due to a print mix up and is now fondly known as Jock Hash.” The Aberdeen H3 can be found running every week, on Sunday mornings.
The Cairneyhill H3 was founded on 20 Nov 1983 by Donald MacKay, and was assisted by Steve Maclaren. According to their first hash trash, the story goes like this . . .
How Did It Come to Cairneyhill – There is a rumour that Hash Running was brought to Cairneyhill by three shepherds following a star, who when told it would be impossible to find three wise men and a virgin in Cairneyhill, moved on to pastures new. The reality of the matter is much less interesting - a lunatic from the oil state of Grampian (Stephen MacLaren) came a visiting his poor relation in the wild west of Fife. In conversation this lunatic extolled the virtues of hash running to his brother-in-law Donald MacKay (who wishes to remain anonymous). He, being equally soft in the head thought that the deprived, nay even depraved masses in Cairneyhill and area may wish to join in the masochistic ritual. Thus was born the Cairneyhill Hash. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were SORE. And the angel said unto them “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy, which shall be unto all hashers.
The first Hash Run was really an experiment, the guinea pigs and the smoking beagles enjoyed it too and the people enjoyed it and sayeth – Give us more – for we shall go out amongst the sinners and heathens and tell them of this wonderous happening that they too may join us in celebration. Forsooth it must be so, for if the Hash is to flourish those early disciples must go forth and multiply, spreading before them the true message so that more may join us in the great crusade.
By 1984, the Edinburgh H3 had grown to over 100 hashers, and began restricting new members, so The New Town H3 was established by Charlie 'Bad News' Hall assisted by Tony 'Nut Case' Cas as a break away on 4 Jul 1984. Actually, this date was run number 13 for the TNTH3, as the first 12 hash trails were considered “unofficial” due to the nature of its founding as a break away club. The first hash trash printed for trail number 14 began with . . .
Welcome to the New Town Hash House Harriers (TNTH3). This illustrious Hash has been established to provide a run/excuse for a bevvy for:
a. Those not able to join the Edinburgh Hash (shouldn’t it be called the Lothians, Fife, Borders and Central Region Hash – Ed?);
b. Those not willing or able to “waste” an entire Sunday running and/or getting pissed.;
c. Those fit w’anchors who actually enjoy running and;
d. To provide an ego trip for the traditionally democratically elected committee.
The New Town H3 runs every Wednesday evening, in Edinburgh.
The next hash club formed was the Elgin H3 on 13 Aug 1984, by Eve Braidwood after running with the Edinburgh H3, and was assisted by Phil 'Slimey Limey' Dacre. According to their website, the “EH3, is the most Northerly Hash in the UK, regularly meeting weekly. It's motto, 'Hashus Elginatum non marbilensii' is entirely in keeping with the generally accepted belief that if you have half a mind (less marbles) to go hashing, then that's all it takes! We only take images and only leave foot prints.” The Elgin H3 has been mainly supported by the RAF stations at Lossiemouth and Kinloss, as well as the Macallan Distillery. Their 100th hash was celebrated on the 21st - 22nd of Jun 1986, and was attended by 135 hashers. The Elgin H3 runs on Monday evenings in the summer, Sunday mornings in the winter, and also hosts occasional bike trails.
The Hamilton H3, running trails in a suburb of Glasgow, was founded on 11 Nov 1984 by Ken Buchanan, who had been hashing in Kuala Lumpur with Mother Hash beginning in 1973. Returning to Scotland, he longed to hash again, and after going back to Malaysia for the Mother Hash 2000th run celebration, he started to scheme a plan to start another hash in Scotland. The local paper announced his plans, and in the article, Ken stated that the 2000th celebration was “a great mingling with Hash House Harriers from all over the world. That is the beauty of hash. Members can visit clubs when they are on holiday, join the run and take part in social events.” The Edinburgh H3 was contacted, and promised to show up in force to support the new hash club. The Hamilton H3 runs weekly on Monday evenings.
Ironically, Glasgow would also get the next hash club, when Roger ‘Big Mac’ McIlroy arrived from the Hague H3 in the Netherlands. Assisted by Mark Simpson, they teamed up to start the Glasgow H3 on 26 Aug 1985. According to their website, The Glasgow Hash started with the setting up of Britoil in Glasgow and the associated arrival of Oilfield Trash from around the world. Along with the trash came a number of associated rituals, probably the most famous of which is of drinking too much and then trying to get off with the local talent. So the first run was planned and a case of beer bought just in case anyone got thirsty . . . as momentum built the "Inaugural Run" actually Run 5 was set up, complete with Founder Member T Shirts, Hash Sheets, Down Downs, by which time Maw and Paw Broon, Carolyn Grant were well on the scene and the Glasgow Hash had come out of the Britoil closet and was well on the way to becoming the Glasgow Institution it is now.
The Glasgow H3 successfully hosted the UK Nash Hash in 1999, and can be found hashing weekly, on Monday evenings.
While reviewing the program for the 2nd Commonwealth Hash, that took place in Aug 1986, and hosted by the Edinburgh H3, I discovered a listing for the Dundee H3 that ran monthly just north of Edinburgh. It listed contacts of Graham Hill at 48 Sutherland Crescent, and James Culloch, but no other details on dates have been found. It was likely founded sometime in the early to mid-1980s, but was not listed in the genealogy (until now, that is). The Dundee H3 is no longer active.
The Trossachs H3 was founded on 10 Jul 1988 by Ainslie 'Zimmer' Kyd, who came to Scotland from the Creek H3 in United Arab Emirates, but no other details are known. The Trossachs H3 is no longer active.
Rounding out the 80s, the Edinburgh Friday H3 was founded on 30 Nov 1989 by Blair Forbes, to add to his weekly hashing with the Edinburgh H3. This hash club is no longer active.
The 1990s saw the addition of the Aberdeen Seriously Social (ASS) H3 on 11 Dec 1992; the Mull of Kintyre H3 in 1993; the Mid Argyll Swamp Skiers H3 in Feb 1994; along with the Dunfermline & Fife Tuesday (DAFT) H3 on 8 Nov 1994. The Strathgyle H3 was founded on 21 Jun 1995, and the Mearns H4 on 10 Apr 1996.
The new century ushered in the Forth and Clyde Around Falkirk (FaC-AF) H3 on 5 Oct 2000; the Shetland H3 on 26 Aug 2002; the Single Malts Around Scotland H3 (SMASH3) on 20 Apr 2003; the Brewery Runs Around Scotland (BRAs) and Pants H3 on 26 Jun 2004; the Borders Area H3 on 1 Apr 2006; and the Braemar H3 on 23 Jun 2006.
More recently, the Beerspoke H3 was founded on 30 Nov 2017 for the bikers, and in the age of COVID, the Follow Oodles Of Flour At Any Hour H3 (FOOFAAH4) was founded on 30 May 2020 to give solo hashers the opportunity to get out for some trail activity in a socially distanced format.
Additional details, including links to the websites of active hash clubs, can be found in the HHH Genealogy.
I had wanted to visit Scotland for a long time, and I actually first planned to attend EUROHASH that was hosted in Scotland in 2019. After that visit ended in a BT, I had plans to visit Scotland in April 2020 on my way to INTERHASH in Trinidad, and we all know what happened to travel plans in the spring of 2020. So finally, in Aug 2021, I made a third attempt. Coordinating off and on for several months, with my friend The Penguin, he regularly updated me on Covid and quarantine requirements for entry. After at least three delays, the UK flashed the big green light (no quarantine required), and I purchased airline tickets for my arrival. But wading through the process had me slightly bewildered as my flight date approached. Having to fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), which was only allowed be done within 48 hours of arrival, the requirements were still ambiguous. Those included a negative PCR for arrival, but also another PCR 2 days after arrival. Unsure if that meant I had to self-isolate for 2 days upon arrival, I had already booked a hotel that clearly stated they could not allow patrons to self-isolate. The following 24 plus hours had me reading and rereading all the Scotland travel websites attempting to figure it all out, and fearing the worst (another string of lost travel plans and fighting with vendors for refunds). I finally focused on one sentence on the government hotel quarantine website, that simply stated “You won't need to self-isolate unless your test result is positive.” I had my negative PCR in hand, I had ordered my 2nd day PCR test from the government to be delivered to my hotel, so I rolled the dice and headed to the airport. Having been checked for all the appropriate documentation (vaccine card, negative covid test, PLF, and smashingly great singing voice) by the airline, once I actually arrived, it was “grab your stuff and get out of here.” I made it from the plane, through immigration, and to the rental car desk in less than 15 minutes, and was soon on my way into town. Too easy.
In my research of Scotland, I had contacted the TNT H3 via the FB page, and ‘The Brewer’ provided me with terminal guidance to make my way to the hash . . . which would start less than 90 minutes after my plane landed. So, the rapid departure from the airport was most beneficial, and gave me enough time to check into my hotel and change into my running kit on the way to the hash. I arrived with only a couple moments to spare, and we were off on a mad 6-mile dash through Leith. The pack of about 25 hashers were very welcoming and we enjoyed a short circle, along with a couple beers on the street seating.
The next day, my 2nd day covid test arrived in the mail, and I intently followed all the mandated steps to complete the test, package the specimen, and get it to the Royal Post Office for shipment to the testing facility. The test came back the next day, negative as expected, and off I went on a sightseeing tour of Edinburgh. My drive around the city included a visit to Forth, and spectacular views of the Forth Rail Bridge and its two companions, the Forth Road Bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing bridge. I then attempted to find parking along the Royal Mile, but only managed a pleasant driving tour of the area. I then prepared for an early morning departure to make the 2-hour drive from Edinburgh to the greater Aberdeen area for the Mearns H3 on Saturday morning.
Trail on the Mearns H3 was set in a remote location about 30 minutes area south of the city, where I met up with some old friends . . . The Penguin, Olymprick, Bruce Almighty, and Haggissimo. After a quick catch-up, we were off and running on an 8-mile shiggy trail up and down the hills near Drumtochty Castle. After a 2-mile circle jerk, the trail headed up the hill on the opposite side of the road, and zig zagged along many shiggy trails until reaching the peak. At this point, we turned along a narrow path, jumped a fence, and were treated to a most amazing view of the entire valley (one of my favorite reasons to travel, and hash). We then proceeded straight down through the middle of a huge open pasture for a good 500 yards, before reaching the finish. Another short circle followed, where all down downs were beer can shotguns, and all 12 of us were fully acquainted. The Penguin showed me around Aberdeen for the rest of the day, and we polished off a bottle of fine whisky before getting some rest in preparation for the Aberdeen H3 AGPU the next day.
It was overcast and sprinkling on Sunday morning, as we boarded the bus to the run site, but an excellent pack of over 50 hashers gathered in the dirt parking lot for chalk talk. After all the marks were explained, including the difference between a thin flour arrow and a fat flour arrow, we were off on another amazing 6-mile trail over a couple hilltops on our way to the end of this A to B trail. At the end, it was cold and misty, pretty much like it always is in Aberdeen as I was informed, and I was not prepared for it. After a nice meal indoors, we headed outside for circle where I shivering my way through the rest of the day’s events. After the new mismanagement had been identified, we finally boarded the bus back into town, just in the nick of time. Returning to Aberdeen, a few of us met up at a local pub for dinner and drinks, and more merriment, and then we called it a day about 11 PM.
The next day, I packed my bags once again, for the 3-hour drive from Aberdeen to Glasgow, with some sightseeing along the way. Arriving just in time to check in to the hotel, I then found my way to the start of the Glasgow H3. Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, and we had a pack of about 10, but we had an excellent 4-mile trail through a local park, followed by a circle and dinner at the hare’s house. I met Pirelli there, and we exchanged a few good hashing stories. I spent the next day driving back to Edinburgh, and raced around town getting my departure covid test so I could fly out early Wednesday morning. What an amazing week of hashing and sightseeing in Scotland, and always great to catch up with old hash friends and meet new ones. If you have not been, give it due consideration for a future destination in your hash travel plans . . . you will not be disappointed.
In the Spotlight - Seoul, South Korea
26 Oct 2013
Seoul is located roughly 30 miles south of the DMZ, and 125 miles south-east of Pyongyang, the capitol of North Korea. As far as anyone knows, there has never been a hash in North Korea, but there certainly has been hashing all over the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. There are currently 3 weekly, 3 monthly, and a couple grab-ass occasional hash clubs running in the greater Seoul area, but the hash first arrived in Seoul in 1972, when Ian Young arrived from Hong Kong. Hashing had only been around Hong Kong since 1970, so it was just beginning to spread out beyond the immediate boarders of Malaysia, and out into the World at that time.
So, on 11 Jun 1972, aided by Robbie Douglas and Tony Parry, a new hash was born that now has a long and steeped history accumulated through over 2200 weekly trails over the past 40 plus years. When I ran with the Seoul Men's Hash (1997-2000), we ran on Wednesday evenings in the summer and Saturday afternoons in the winter. Due to shifting interests over the past couple of years, and many of the long time hashers retiring and moving away, the numbers have dwindled and they run on Saturday afternoons year round now, but hashing is still vibrant and strong in Seoul.
I don't think I am betraying any secrets here, so let me give you a rare glimpse inside the Seoul Men's Hash from my own experience. We would meet at many different locations throughout the city, but my favorites were those remote areas north of the city. Due to the heavy traffic, it could often take us over an hour to drive just 15-20 miles, but it was well worth it. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Seoul was a blessing, if only for a few hours every week. Normally only one hare was required to set the trail, occasionally two, but never more than that.
Most trails were prelaid, but a few of us still strapped on the old flour bag and with a 12-15 minute head start would take off into the rice patties or up the side of a mountain to lead the pack on a 8-12 Km trail. In the Seoul Hash, the HonSec is the heavy, the man with the say-so. He keeps the roster and signs up the hares, collects the money, writes the hash trash, and most importantly . . . names all hashers. The GM and JM are figure heads that lead the circle, which were always conducted around a fire, both in the summer and winter. The mismanagement also include the position of Hash Horn, that carried the bugle out on trail to call to the pack once checks had been broken and trail has been found. There were no whistles allowed, and no marking of checks, it was each man for himself outside of the horn or the call of On-On. Completing well over 100 runs with the SH3 during my time there, I enjoyed some of the best trails and hash camaraderie you can imagine.
Much ado has been made about male only hashes in recent years, but not having the unmentionables around can be a much more relaxing and entertaining circle. Speaking of the circle, after eating whatever the hare brought for us in the hash tin, we gathered 'round the fire with one of a wide selection of imported beers in hand, and awaited the pronouncement of the GM (or the JM only in the his absence). Around the circle, only the GM may speak freely, if a hasher wanted to speak he must first raise his mug over his head and be acknowledged by the GM. Depending on the number of hashers present, each one would be brought up one at a time for a splash (down-down) from the honored bed pan, inscribed with the names of all former GMs.
Each hasher would be required to entertain the assembled pack with a song or a joke. The first would be the hare, to record comments about the trail and also to identify who the "Wingee" (FRB) was for the day's trail. Next would be the Wingee, and then the rest of the circle would be called on based on the GM's discretion. I learned many a new song, and also introduced many a new song in those circles. After an hour or so, or whatever length of time it took to satisfy the GM that all had been heard, he would call on a hasher to ask what direction they would like to go, which led into the final song of the night . . . and it was NOT swing low. After the hash, many of us would often reassemble at the Mug Club in Itaewon for another beer or two before heading home. That's all you’re going to get folks, if you want more, you will have to buy me a beer and get the details in person. On-On. Read more information on hashing in Seoul and throughout South Korea.
Setting the Record Straight
In the Spotlight - Setting the Record Straight
25 Jun 2021
Over the years, I have seen many historical references made about the founding and early days of the Hash House Harriers. John Duncan, Mike Lyons, and a few others drafted up accounts that circulated widely in the 1970s and 80s, and new information has corrected some of the earlier presumptions. Fear not, even Mother Hash still gets it wrong on some facts.
To see the whole story, with supporting documentation, see the PDF document - Setting the Record Straight.
In the Spotlight - Solomon Islands
23 Feb 2020
Solomon Islands (located approximately 1000 miles north-east of Australia), like many of the island nations of the South Pacific has a long history of occupation and conquest. In more modern history, European powers first visited the islands in 1568 when Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira sailed from Peru in search of Australia. He named them Islas Salomón (Solomon Islands), and then sailed on. Centuries later, English explorer Captain Gibson arrived in 1893 and many of the southern islands were taken on as a British protectorate, and would be held until 1978. Currently, the sovereign nation of Solomon Islands is made up of over 900 islands large and small, with the capital city of Honiara located on the island of Guadalcanal.
The hash genealogy states that the hash arrived in Honiara on 11 July 1973, when Brian Leach and Derik Taysum organized the first running of the Honiara H3. Longtime resident “Shorty” has been running with the Honiara H3 off and on for nearly 30 years, and he had many interesting stories to tell of hashing the Solomon Islands, and backpacking around Asia. Another hash club was formed in Honiara in September of 1996, when Jeff “Rabbi” Moore and Tom “Claymore” Schoen formed the Honiara Full Moon H3. Neither hash club has any recorded offspring, but nearly 50 years later, the Honiara H3 is still running strong, and is a family friendly hash.
During my recent visit, I joined a pack of about 25 up on Vavaea Ridge, for a trail that was mostly on dirt roads and tracks, traversing up and down the hillsides behind the city. Cost to the join the hash was about 60 cents US, which covered the down downs. For a separate fee, and you could buy individual beers for about $2.50 per can. Water and softies were about $1.25. Circle was short and to the point, with only one song, but that is common with many of the island hash clubs in the South Pacific. The pack was very friendly, and following the circle some of the hashers enjoyed dinner at one of the Chinese establishments in Honiara. Great times here in the South Pacific, and no doubt, if you get the chance make sure to join the Honiara H3.
In the Spotlight - South Korea (A Historical Look at Hashing in Korea, as published in the PanAsia 2017 magazine)
29 Oct 2017
The concept of the Hash House Harriers first arrived in Korea in 1972, in the capitol city of Seoul. Seoul is located roughly 30 miles south of the DMZ, and 125 miles south-east of Pyongyang, the capitol of North Korea. As far as anyone knows, there has never been a hash in North Korea, but there certainly has been hashing all over the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. There are currently 3 weekly, 3 monthly, and a couple occasional hash clubs running in the greater Seoul area. The hash first took place in Seoul on 11 June 1972, founded by Ian Young who had arrived from Hong Kong. Hashing had only been around Hong Kong since 1970, so it was just beginning to spread out beyond the immediate boarders of Malaysia, and out into the World at that time. After a deep scan of the HHH Genealogy, it appears that Seoul is the 46th oldest hash, having a family tree going back through Hong Kong H3, Singapore H3, and Mother Hash.
So, on 11 Jun 1972, aided by Robbie Douglas and Tony Parry, a new hash was born that now has a long and steeped history accumulated through over 2400 weekly trails over the past 45 plus years. When I ran with the Seoul Men's Hash (1997-2000), we ran on Wednesday evenings in the summer and Saturday afternoons in the winter. Due to shifting interests over the past couple of years, and many of the long time hashers retiring and moving away, the numbers have dwindled and they run on Saturday afternoons year round now, but hashing is still vibrant and strong in Seoul.
The Seoul Men’s Hash, as it is known today, has given birth to 17 new hash clubs over the years in the UK, US, Canada, Cambodia, and throughout the South Korean Peninsula. It would be 7 years before another hash formed in S. Korea, when Billy “Tootles” Cornett moved from Seoul to Pusan (now Busan) to start the Pusan H3 on 20 Oct 1979. A couple years later, Dave “Sweet Thing” Garrett also moved from Seoul to Koje Island and founded the Koje-Do H3 on 29 Nov 1981. Over the years hashing continued to expand with the Yongsan Kimchi H3 (1987) and the Osan Bulgogi H3 (1988) forming up around military bases, with the ship builders in Ulsan in 1988, the military base at Kunsan in 1994, Daegu in 1999, and then several more in these same locations doubling up on the fun to be had. Included in this mix, was my own contribution having founded the Seoul Southside H3 in Dec 1999, quite possibly the last new hash to form in the 20th century.
In the 21st century, there have been at least 10 additional hash clubs founded in South Korea, with the most recent being the Sokcho City H3, who are the proud hosts of PanAsia Hash 2017.
In the Spotlight - Sri Lanka
4 May 2020
Sri Lanka is a small island nation off the south-eastern tip of India, and is made up of the main island of Sri Lanka, and over 60 smaller islets. Formerly called Ceylon when it gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948, Sri Lanka changed to its current name in 1972. The country was mired in a 3 decade long civil war from around 1983 to 2009, until the rebel Tamil Tigers were crushed by military forces. Once part of the Spice Route (or Maritime Silk Road), these islands were a major port linking Europe and East Asia for trade. Colombo is the largest city and economic center of the nation, and as you might expect, has a history of chasing paper.
Hashing first arrived in Colombo on 19 April 1980 (note: 19 Apr 1980 is a Saturday, but the club runs on Monday), when Franklin “Darjeling” Pate founded the Colombo H3. Having previously hashed in Bangkok, Darjeling gathered up his mates, Michael “Climb Every Mountain” Hill and Clive Burgess to organize this new hash club. According to the club website, the Colombo H3 had 40 runners on that first trail, including two women (Handwarmer and Iron Lady).
At one point in 1984, Handwarmer injured her knee and could not run for a bit. The wife of another hasher was allowed to join the Monday hash, and enjoyed it so much she started bringing more women along. Well, this went on for a couple weeks and before you know it, the old boy’s network started to revolt and declared that the Colombo H3 would become a Male Only club. In a show of uncommon grace, they did allow the original ladies to continue on as honorary gentlemen. The change in membership to male only caused a stir in the hashing community, and the forming of the Colombo Harriettes on 20 Jun 1984. According to the hash genealogy, this club was founded by Mike “Climb Every Mountain” Hill, as a mixed hash club. Originally it ran on Wednesday, but has since shifted to Saturday to allow for travel to more areas around the island.
In between these two hash clubs forming in Colombo, about 130 kms to the east in the city of Kandy, a third hash club formed. The Victoria H3 (a.k.a. the Kandy H3) was founded on 13 Mar 1982, by Simon “Deep Throat” Bailey. Unfortunately, this club seems to have faded out sometime before 1997, according to Magic’s old records. There is also the random running of the Colombo Full Moon H3, founded by Andries "Clitoria" Ellis, with the assistance of Maneesha "Desperado" Thuduwewatta. The clubs in Colombo are still active (but on a short hiatus due to COVID-19). Current details can be found on one of the two websites.
There is a funny story about my own recent visit to hash in Sri Lanka. After running All Japan Nash Hash in 2019, I had made reservations to stay in Bangkok for a couple months. Although I have hashed in Bangkok for many years, I waited until the last minute to book a “visa run” flight out of the country after my first 30 day visa on arrival would expire. So, at the last minute, on a layover at Incheon Airport, I booked a quick flight out just shy of 30 days. I had always wanted to hash in Sri Lanka, so checking flight schedules and days of the week that hash clubs ran, and booked a flight from Bangkok to Colombo. In my haste, I booked a flight through an online travel service. Not paying much attention until just a day or two before my flight, I realized a bit of a scheduling problem, but was unable to change my return trip without an excessive penalty. Also, to purchase a new return flight would have been more than the cost of the original tickets.
The whole story occurred on 4-5 Nov 2019. I was up early in Bangkok, took a taxi to the airport, and off to Sri Lanka. Made it in as scheduled, and after an hour or so unsuccessfully trying to change my return flight directly with the airline, I realized this was going to be a short stay. Sri Lanka is a lovely country and I arrived on a bright sunny day, although it had been raining quite hard off and on for several days. It was an easy 45-minute transit from the airport, to the hotel recommended by my friend Aruna “Aint Ze Bush” (Bushy) Gunawardena. In short order, I dressed and packed my kit for the run. Bushy (who very kindly provided exceptional hashpitality) had arranged a tuk-tuk to pick me up and deliver me to the hash a half an hour away. As it turns out, it was the final trail of a weekend long event that included a Hash Ball. There was a Saturday trail, and this trail on Monday was the annual joint run where the ladies were invited to run on the men's hash. Excellent pack of over 40 hashers gathered for the 8 Km trail in the Hukandara area.
About 45 minutes into trail, we reached the beer check along the river, but we did not stay long as it started to get dark very quickly. Eventually we all managed to find our way back to the house, where we refreshed with cold Lion beer, and a few assorted snacks. After cleaning up a bit, we had a rousing circle in the back yard, which included a hash bag give-away, and a fully catered dinner. After a quick bite to eat, Bushy again set me up with a taxi back to the hotel for a quick clean up, pack up, and check out of the hotel. Another 45-minute trek back to the airport got me queued up for an early 1:15 am flight back to Bangkok. In the end, from leaving the condo in Bangkok at 6:30 am on Monday, I was back standing in front of the condo at just about 6:30 on Tuesday, 24 hours later. The trip included the whole hash event, 7 hours airtime, waiting in the airport, and other associated ground transport. What an awesome day, I’ll definitely go back to Sri Lanka for a lengthier stay, and hash again.
In the Spotlight - Stuttgart, Germany
1 Nov 2014
Hashing first found its way to Germany in 1971, when British forces were posted in the central region area of Lübbecke and formed the Lübbecke H3. Although that hash had a short lifespan, it did not take long for the spirit of hashing to consume Germany. The spread of hashing continued during the 70s and 80s through Kaiserlautern (1977); Ulm, Rheindalen (1980); Herford (1981); Holzwickede, West Rhine, Berlin (1982); Bonn, Hanover (1984); Dulmen/Haltern (1986); Frankfurt, Freudenberg, Worms-Mannheim (1987); Heidelberg, Hunsreuck, Krefeld, Mannheim (1988); Bergen-Hohne (1989) and eventually found its way to Stuttgart.
Stuttgart is located about 2 hours south of Frankfurt and 2 hours west of Munich in the Baden-Württemberg, the heart of Swabia. It is known for its vineyards, as well as the home of both Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. Stuttgart hosts the second largest Oktoberfest, second only to Munich, and is only a short drive from the Black Forest. The Stuttgart Wurst H3 was founded on 28 Apr 1993 by Doug 'The Slug' Steward who had moved there from Angeles City H3 in the Philippines. There was a short lived Leinfelden / Echterdingen H3 also in the 1990s, founded by Pink Fritz. The SWH3 eventually became just the Stuttgart H3 and now runs every other Sunday afternoon, and will set its 550th hash trail later this month.
The next hash, originally named the Daylight Savings Time (DST) H3 was founded by Ed "Hazukashii" Howell on 7 April 2009 and was only going to run during the summer months, but after taking off just one winter season, decided to run year round on Tuesday evenings. This prompted a renaming to the Dienstag Schnitzeljagd Trupp H3, which roughly translates to the Tuesday Paperchase Party. The DST H3 will set its 275th hash trail later this month.
The Stuttgart Full Moon H3 was founded on 27 May 2010 by Bryan "Puking Cougar" Rhodes, and has just recently run their 55th hash trail. The Stuttgart Leap Year (SLY) H3 was founded on 29 Feb 2012 by Melissa "Shamcock" Pros, and only runs for special occasions such as fests and party events. For the hard core hashers, put Stuttgart on your bucket list, you will not be disappointed.
In the Spotlight - Taiwan
4 Nov 2015
Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan (Republic of China), and sits at the northern tip just below the amazing Yangmingshan National Park. With a population of 2.5 to 3 Million people, Taipei makes up about 10% of the population of Taiwan. The high mountains of the Yangmingshan National Park offer splendid views and scenic vistas of Northern Taiwan . . . and amazing trails begging to be marked with hash trails.
The Hash House Harriers first arrived on Taiwan in February of 1973 when Don 'Organ' Hammond established the Taiwan (Men's) HHH, having been transplanted from Singapore. Setting trails on Saturday afternoon, the Taiwan HHH is roughly the 30th oldest hash in the world, and has spawned dozens of new hash clubs all over the world to include the Okinawa HHH (1980), the Agana HHH (1981) on Guam, and the Silicon Valley HHH (1982) in the USA.
Quickly establishing itself as a mainstay in the hashing world, it did not take long for the Taipei hash to spread out on Taiwan when in September of the same year (1973), Mike McFarland gathered up a bunch of his mates and founded the Kaohsiung HHH in the southern most city of the island some 350KMs south of Taipei.
Not satisfied with just a men's hash, Don 'Organ' Hammond also founded the first mixed hash club in Taipei when he organized the China HHH in November of 1975. Other hash clubs currently running in and around Taipei are the Taiwan Bear HHH (2001) on Saturday afternoons, and the Metro HHH (2002) on Wednesday evenings.
If Taipei is not enough, there are also other hash clubs currently active on Taiwan.
In the Spotlight - Tampa, Florida, USA
31 Mar 2014
Tampa is the third largest city in Florida (USA) behind Jacksonville and Miami, and is located on the west coast of the state on the Gulf of Mexico. The Tampa Bay H3 was founded on 12 Mar 1988 by Ron "Paladin" Rook formerly of the Okinawa H3. Paladin got his name in 1985, along with his two sidekicks Sheriff Lobo and Enos (are you sensing a theme here?). After moving to Tampa, and several months of driving an hour or more to Sarasota and Orlando to get his hashing fix, Paladin finally decided to just start a new hash club in Tampa. The Tampa Bay H3 still runs every other Saturday and on Full Moons, and is host to the annual Tampa Nekkid - There's No Place Like Foam weekend.
The next oldest hash in Tampa is the Jolly Roger H3 founded on 29 January 2003 by Rick "Dabadoo" Geers formally of the St. Louis area where he also founded the Big Hump H3 in 1999. The JRH3 runs twice a week on Wednesday, and Friday or Saturday alternating with the TBH3. Dabadoo is the grand old Hash Daddy in Tampa, driving his grey hash beer wagon to provide liquid refreshment to the masses, and keeping the pack entertained. The biggest highlight of the year is the annual JRH3 hash cruise in the Caribbean, called the Jolly Roger Pirate Invasion and is normally sails at the end of January each year. The hashers in Tampa are some of the friendliest hashers anywhere, and will gladly organize a ride for any visitor. So if you are ever have the opportunity to visit the Tampa area, make sure to check out the hash.
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
In the Spotlight – Timor-Leste (East Timor)
10 Feb 2020
East Timor has been through some rough times over the recent years, gaining independence in a bloody series of engagements at the end of the 20th century. Historically, Portugal colonized the island in the 1500s, and for over 400 years the island was known as Portuguese Timor. In 1975, a popular uprising of the inhabitants declared independence. Within days, Indonesia invaded and annexed the island, which began a 25 year struggle ending in 1999, when Indonesia finally abdicated. It would not be for another 3 years before Timor Leste became a sovereign nation, in May 2002. It should be no surprise, that the Hash House Harriers has been a near constant presence in Dili since April of the year 2000.
Originally called the Puddlejumpers H3, as Andy “Slops” Hislop and Peter “PNS” Matthey were deployed there as part of the Australia Air Force. As the fighting abated, and life once again settled down over the past 2 decades, the hash is now known as the Dili H3. The Hash Genealogy includes another HHH club in East Timor, the Baucau H3. Founded by Noel “Latrine” Hinschen and Max “Tupper” Melton in November of 2000, unfortunately there is no additional information available of its life or demise.
The Dili H3 has grown and decreased in numbers over the years, and currently maintains a pack of 10-15 on a weekly basis, running on Saturday afternoons at 4 pm. Due to a violent rainy season, and trails often being washed away, the Dili hash trails have no marks. The designated hare (or hares when a walkers trail is included) leads the pack over excellent hashing terrain often including mountains, overlooks, and beaches. Their circles are legend, for songs, jokes, and especially faux pas that might just get you on your knees for the 3 in 1 down down. As a recent visitor, I managed to find myself in the not so coveted center position for the 3 in 1, and ended up covered with a bit of Tiger beer. The circle often concludes with the awarding of the Prick of the Week (a.k.a. Hashit), which consists of a small brass cup. The cup carries with it the privilege of being filled by your hash mates in any setting while so duly awarded . . . but if caught without it . . . you buy the round. Hashing is a great time in East Timor, one not to be missed if you get the chance to visit.
In the Spotlight - Tokyo, Japan
3 Jan 2015
The World Atlas lists Tokyo as the largest city in the world at over 37 million people. In a city of this size, it is not hard to imagine a robust hashing community, with an amazing countryside with extensive trails to make any hasher happy. There are currently 5 weekly hash clubs (Monday = Tokyo Men's Hash; Wednesday = Tokyo Ladies H3; Friday = Finally Friday Fukov H3; Saturday = Samurai H3; Sunday = Sumo H3) running in and around Tokyo. The Tokyo H3 is the oldest hash in Japan, and was founded on 14 June 1976 by Patrick 'Dunafew' Donoghue, who brought the sport over from Hong Kong. While still bearing the name, the Tokyo Men's H3 is now a mixed club and runs on Monday evenings, and is due to complete their 2000th Hash in March of 2015.
Not satisfied with just a Men's Hash in Tokyo, Marion Gosshalk founded the Tokyo Ladies Hash in November 1983. Also now a mixed club, the TLH3 runs on Wednesday evenings in the central Tokyo area and has completed well over 1600 hash trails.
The largest hash in the greater Tokyo area is the Samurai H3, founded by Milt 'Uncle Milty' Halloran on 5 May 1984. Due to an amazingly efficient train system, the Samurai H3 can boast what is probably the largest area that a weekly hash can reasonably be expected to occur. Realistically, within 90 minutes you can find the Samurai H3 at any one of the 2000 plus train stations throughout a 5000 square kilometer area in and around the Kanto Plain. Running weekly on Saturday, a once a month family trail and various other events, the Samurai H3 will be celebrating their 2000th trail towards the end of 2015.
During the 80s and 90s, various hash clubs came and went throughout Tokyo, and the next weekly hash club still running is the Sumo H3. Founded by Ed "Hazukashii" Howell on 6 Jan 2002, the Sumo H3 runs on Sunday afternoons and also takes advantage of the vast train system and can be found setting trail over a significant portion of the Kanto Plain, and will be enjoying their 500th hash later in 2015.
It is common for all the Tokyo based hash clubs to start at or near a train station, and host an on-on-on at a local restaurant. The Men's and Ladies hash clubs often actually hold the circle inside the restaurant, which surprisingly is well received by the other patrons. As you might expect, Tokyo has a fairly expensive cost of living, and normal hash can cost about US$10, with dinner/circle costing around US$30. For those of us that ran multiple hash trails a week, this could get expensive, and spawned the Finally Friday Fukov H3 founded by John "Old Sock" Antweiler on 9 July 2004 that skipped the formality of dinner, with a quick circle after the trail and the hashers heading off for further activities on their own.
Tokyo also hosts two significant monthly hash clubs, the Rising Moon H3 founded in 1992 by Francis "Dirty Dingus" Turner . . . and the Kanto Katch the Hare H3 founded by Toshiyuki "Bancock" Ichimura on 22 Jan 1995. There are also a few other hash clubs running at various intervals in the greater Tokyo area and throughout Japan.
In the Spotlight - Toronto, Canada
1 Feb 2015
Toronto is the largest city in Canada with about 2.5 million people, and is located on the southern border along Lake Ontario. Toronto is a lovely city, but has not been without its own controversy . . . if you have watched the news over the past couple years, you may have heard of the exploits of one of their recent mayors (nuff said). Toronto's first hash was a Men's Only club called the Hogans H3, founded by Duncan "Plunger" Plastow on 31 Jan 1987, having returned from Korea where he hashed with the Seoul H3.
Not surprisingly, it seems there were many a future Harriette wanting to join in with the hash craziness, so also in 1987, "Plunger" founded the Hogtown H3 as a mixed club, which is Toronto's second oldest hash with their first trail running on 1 Nov 1987.
Not happy with the men in charge, Jennifer 'Halfwit' Fannin made her way from the Singapore HH Harriettes and founded the Toronto Women's Alternative Thursday (TWAT) H3 on 18 Aug 2005. The TWAT H3 is also a mixed club, but only women are allowed to be in charge.
Toronto hosted a well attended and very successful InterAmerica's Hash in 2005 that cemented the city as a major hash capital in North America. Toronto is a must see attraction for avid hashers.
United Arab Emirates
In the Spotlight - United Arab Emirates
5 Apr 2022
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia to the west and Oman to the south-east. It also has coastlines on the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, that are connected via the Strait of Hormuz. Iran is located to the north-east on the other side of the water. An emirate is a territory ruled by a monarch in the Muslim world, such as Kuwait and Qatar. The UAE is an elective monarchy made up of the 7 Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Al Fujairah, Dubai, Sharjah, and Umm al Quwain which originally formed in 1971, and was joined in 1972 by Ras Al Khaimah. The four largest cities in the UAE are Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain, and coincidentally, the conjoined area of Dubai and Sharjah is the seventh fastest growing city in the world. These three city regions basically form a triangle with Dubai and Sharjah at the northern tip, Abu Dhabi down the coast to the south-west, and Al Ain to the south-east on the Omani border.
The human history of this region dates back over 125,000 years, and is much to detailed to describe here. In more modern times, the UAE has been a leading producer of petroleum and natural gas products. The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is also located in Dubai. The World Fact Book identifies that the languages of Arabic (official), English, Hindi, Malayam, Urdu, Pashto, Tagalog, and Persian are spoken, and that while Muslim is the predominant religion, Christianity, Hindu, Buddhist, Parsi, Baha'i, Druze, Sikh, Ahmadi, Ismaili, Dawoodi Bohra Muslim, and Jewish are also practiced freely.
Speaking of practicing freely, the Hash House Harriers have practiced their crazy sport here since 4 Oct 1977, when Bob Chesney founded the Ras Al Khaimah H3, located in the northern region, approximately 90 Kms north of Sharjah. This club was active until approximately 2004, but there are no other details listed for this club and although no longer active, it was the first of 14 clubs that are listed in the HHH Genealogy. If anyone has more details on this hash club, I would certainly be interested to hear about it.
In the Dubai / Sharjah area, there are currently 4 active hash clubs, with the oldest one being the Desert H3 founded on 11 March 1979 by Martin 'The Ayatollah' Odell. Odell came over from the Bahrain H3, and was assisted by Terry 'Shirtlifter' Lewis. The Desert H3 runs every Monday at 1830, and has spawned two other clubs that are still active. First, currently running on Thursday evenings at 1830, the Creek H3 was founded on 31 January 1983 by Phil 'Noballs' Knoble after a revolt of the men wanting their own club, not wanting to run with the girlies. This would be the first of several breakaway hash clubs. The Barbie Harriettes were founded on 17 Feb 1998 by Tahlecion 'Barbie-Que-T' Jaay to give the ladies a night away from the lads, and currently runs once a month on Tuesday evenings. The Creek H3 also spawned the Moonshine Full Moon H3 founded by Raymond 'Rhode Island Red' Caldwell on 23 January 1997. Other clubs that are no longer active include the Falcon H3 (a.k.a. Budgie Hash) founded by Eric 'Phallus' Mallace in the late 1980s, as a spinoff of the Creek H3, when the drive between Sharjah and Dubai became overly time consuming. The Muff Busters H3 was a short (only 3 runs) lived hard core hash club formed by ‘Cock O' The North' when he felt the Desert H3 trails were getting too easy. The Spitroast H3 was founded by Ross "Tattoo" Wilding (son of longtime Creek hasher Bonzo) to give newer runners an opportunity to learn the ways of the hash. One interesting trait of this club, was making the virgins wear a Pig’s Head mask.
Headed south down the coast, there are currently two active hash clubs in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi H3 founded by Tony Cordery on 22 January 1979, and the Wasp H3 founded by Alan 'Permanent Pussy Sniffer' Pearmain on 12 Oct 1991. Like many locations, there was a rift in the Abu Dhabi H3 in 1980, which caused a split resulting in a name change to the Island H4, and the forming of the Mainland H3 founded by Gordon Clarke on 8 Dec 1980. The Mainland H3 fizzled out around 2015, so the Island H3 is now once again referred to as the Abu Dhabi H3 (a.k.a. AUH4 for the airport code AUH + H3). It appears that the Wasp H3 is also slowing down, and may be folding into the AUH4 in the near future. On the other side of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Al Ain H3 was founded by Grant 'Longshanks' Murdie on 4 April 1984. This club is attempting to get restarted after a hiatus due to COVID.
The HHH Genealogy also lists the East Coast H3, founded in September 1980, that was located along the Gulf of Oman in the city of Fujairah, but no additional information is available. While researching for this article, I happened to find an old website for the Sandpit H3 founded on 9 Dec 2011 and was able to track down the founder, John ‘Short Hand Job’ Henzell. He informed me that “It was supposed to be an occasional hash that combined the various hashes in the UAE, taking turns to host a camping weekend and setting the run [out in the desert]. But it never hit critical mass and the other hashes didn't want to do it, so it folded after about 25 runs.”
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Creek H3 2000th Run celebration (and a trail with the Desert H3) that had been delayed for two years due to COVID. David “Vomit” Bell is the current GM and was the front man for the event, and has happily cleaned out his spare bedroom of the 250 shirts and other assorted giveaways he has stored for over 2 years now. Vomit was assisted by fellow Creek hasher John ‘Compressed Fart’ Pye, who just so happens to be the GM of the Desert H3 for the past 10 years (note: they also provided a few missing bits of detail for the HHH Genealogy). It was an excellent weekend with about 50+ attendees, and fun was had by all (even Likk’mm). While chatting with some of the Creek hashers, I was informed of a chartered 747 flight that they ran a hash trail on, up and down the aisles. There were also fond remembrances of running a hash trail on the USS Nimitz back on 8 June 1993, during a port call in Dubai.
One question you may have after reading this, is how do they mark trail in the desert? As it is harder to get out of the city on a weeknight in current times, most of the trails are in the city and marked with flour and chalk. On one of the Creek H3 trails, we were mostly out in the sand dunes, so they used orange painted straws and stick them in the sand (which they have done for several decades). Checks and false trails were spray painted on rocks or other hard surfaces. It works quite well. Looking forward, Dubai is in the planning stages to host INTERGULF 2022 in November. So, if you want to visit this amazing country, that will be a great opportunity. Check out the website for more details and info on the active hash clubs in the UAE.
United States of America
In the Spotlight - United States of America
4 July 2021
Celebrating 50 years of hashing in the USA, this project took much longer than any of my previous endeavors. The more I researched, the more I uncovered, and what started out as 3 pages covering 4 or 5 hash clubs, turned into a 24 page expose on all the hash clubs founded in the USA in the 1970s. It all comes to you in the attached PDF file that includes photos, images, and hyperlinks to additional information that could expand your reading to twice as much information. Symbolically released on Independence Day, the 4th of July, I hope you enjoy it over a beer in the back yard.
You can see the entire document with interviews, quotes, photos, and various other original documents - United States of America.
In the Spotlight - Vanuatu
5 Feb 2020
After hundreds of years of occupation by European powers (mainly France and the United Kingdom), Vanuatu gained its independence in 1980. Could it have been due to the arrival of the Hash House Harriers that helped them achieve independence? Well, we may need to consult the founder, Malcolm “Tooth” Cooper, who along with Carl Bayer, founded the Port Vila H3 on 10 May 1976. Vanuatu is located in the South Pacific in between New Caledonia, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. Vanuatu is made up of over 50 inhabited islands, and another 30 smaller and uninhabited islands. Espiritu Santo is the largest island, but the largest and also Capitol City of Port Vila, is located on the third largest island, Efate.
The Port Vila H3 runs on Monday evenings, like Mother Hash, and has a rich history of nearly 2300 hash trails over its 44+ year existence. It is currently the only hash club in Vanuatu, but the hash genealogy has recorded that Margaret Scanlon had founded the Port Vila Harriettes on 30 April 1981, but lost its way somewhere over the intervening years. On my recent visit, the start was at a hashers home on the water, and trail crossed the road and went straight up the mountain. Although we did see some rather large spiders, Vanuatu also has small snakes. Fortunately, neither of these are poisonous. Trail was marked in paper, with one interesting feature. About 1 Km or more from the finish, there was an arrow that signified . . . that’s it, find your own way back to the start. As we had just come down off the mountain, it was easy to see where we were, but snaking our way through the village took a little more creativity. We found our way back with the assistance of a local hasher who led us down some shiggy trails to an old dirt road, and back into the finish where cold beer awaited.
Since we arrived just as the pack was leaving, we did not get the benefit of introductions. We quickly made up for this upon completing the trail, along with paying hash cash. At this point, it was explained that our Vatus (local currency) could be used for, option one . . . to buy tickets (Food, 1 Beer, and the raffle). Puzzled about one beer, I chose option 2, which was unlimited beer. As we watched the evening, circle, and frivolity unfold, it seemed everyone was drinking as much beer as they wanted from the keg. And after eating, there was a splendid raffle that included a money draw and other giveaways. Guess it pays to be a local. The circle was a rowdy affair, with many of the old Aussie chaps making one accusation after the other about their fellow hashers, with several jokes, and a few songs. It was an excellent evening of hash fun, and certainly a destination for other hashers to consider.
In the Spotlight - Washington, DC, USA
27 Dec 2013
The Hash House Harriers have a long standing history in the United States. For more than 40 years, Washington, DC has been the home to the second oldest hash in the USA. Based on the format of Mother Hash, the DC Men's Hash was founded on 23 May 1972, by none other than "Tumbling Bill" Panton who had transferred there from Kuala Lumpur. He only missed starting the first hash in the USA by a few months, but Frank Arnold of the British Forces beat him to it when he was assigned to Fort Eustis, Virginia and founded the Fort Eustis H3 on 8 Nov 1971. Generally sprawling from Baltimore, Maryland to Fredericksburg, Virginia, the greater DC area is home to 9 weekly hash clubs, 7 more that run less often, and hosts one of the most popular Red Dress Runs in the world every year in October. Check up on the weekly run schedule.
We Know Where, but When Did It All Begin?
In the Spotlight - We Know Where, but When Did It All Begin?
4 Oct 2021
The history of the Hash House Harriers has been a topic of great interest for many years, but the one question that still makes us ponder is . . . WHEN did it start? Like many things we do in hashing, there is usually some sort of punchline, or bawdy humor involved, and this is no exception. Hashers have been asking this question for many years, but most take it for granted that it was sometime in 1938. Yet there is no known document that gives us a clear understanding, or so we thought. I became interested in the date after attending the Mother Hash 75th anniversary in 2013, and started with the simple math, reviewing the dates of key events.
We have documents that clearly state that the 100th run for the Hash House Harriers was 15 Aug 1941, and run #117 was on 12 Dec 41. This shows that by that point the hash was run on a weekly basis (and was on Friday evenings prior to the war). So, counting backwards 99 weeks from 15 Aug, the math does not work out for weekly runs unless the HHH started in Sep 1939. Bi-weekly does not add up very well either, unless they shifted from biweekly to weekly sometime in mid to late 1940. Otherwise, there must have been a multitude of missed runs to put the start date in 1938. Obviously, I am not the only one who has come to this conclusion.
Colin “Snowman” Snow started hashing with Mother Hash in Jan 1976, and through a by-chance occurrence, found himself finishing out the 1977 term of the vacant ON-SEC position. That was followed up with a full term as Joint Master in 1978. Colin took to hashing quickly, and even back then the question lingered as to when was the first run? Well, one day in Mid-1980, Colin mentioned to John Duncan (who had been the ON-SEC and JM back in the 1960s), that he was traveling to Africa. John boldly directed “If you are going to Africa, you must look up Torch Bennett.” This led to a most unexpected journey documented by Colin in his article “Checking In Africa – An Evening with Torch Bennett.” While most of this conversation was published many years ago, one of the big questions that Colin wanted to know, was discussed but not included.
Like many British expats on assignment, Colin had moved around over the years. Malaysia in the 70s, with follow on jobs in several places including Taiwan and Thailand. Now retired, he makes his home in Bangkok. I first met Colin somewhere in SE Asia about 20 years ago, and we have occasionally crossed paths on some of my hash excursion through the region. While recently discussing another bit of hash trivia, he mentioned to me . . . “If you want to add to the historical confusion of Run no 1, I had an extended exchange by airmail letters with Torch Bennett, back in 1980/81 (letter1 and letter2), the original Hon Sec.” He added that “I had found Torch Bennett in Durban, RSA back circa 1981 in one of the most unlikely small world stories, I must dig it up & send it on to you. That led to an airmail exchange twixt me & Torch until he moved on to the Big Rubber Plantation overhead about 1993, which included those 2 letters from Torch which you now have copies. John Duncan was also copied but by agreement of the 3 of us, nobody else.” You can bet I was very interested to read these letters!
Why now is this coming to light you may ask? Colin explained that “I was conscious that since Torch & John Duncan had moved on, then I alone had those letters from Torch Bennett, & was it now time to publish them.” After reading, and rereading these letters, many bits of history have some context, including discussion of the date of origin. Torch stated “Around May/June 1938 I was in Malacca with “G” who was office manager and with him ran with the Springgit Harriers there. I returned to K.L., went off on leave about late November and “G” was still in Malacca, so H3 definitely did not start in 1938.” Now my original question about counting backwards from run #100, and was it weekly, ties in . . . Torch states in his letter that “. . . the runs were always weekly and never abandoned for bad light or weather.” He also mentioned that a small few runs may have been missed due to holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, and Easter. Torch continued, stating “I returned from leave late July 1939 to find “G” manager of the K.L. office and H3 in action, and have always felt that I got back in time for the 4th or 5th run.” Then Torch makes the grand conclusion that “I think I can now pinpoint it as far as the month is concerned, and I make it July 1939.”
Now, I will remind the readers, that these letters were written back in the summer of 1981. Why has this information been withheld for so long? In typical hash fashion, Colin tells me “At the time we were concerned that if the 1939 start date became common knowledge we (Mother HHH) would have to recall several thousand HHH Tee Shirts inscribed ‘Running since 1938.’ And that was after HHH had had its glorious 40th anniversary PU [piss up] on 23 September 1978, when I was a JM.” Can you believe it . . . what a story! It was all about the printed T-shirts. Colin, now in his 80s, went on to explain that . . . “Torch came up with the wonderful concept that by Chinese counting we are aged one at birth. Hence HHH could have been conceived circa Sep 1938, with birth 9 months later in June 1939 with Run No1, near enough matching Torch's memory. We 3 agreed that this be kept quiet & be allowed to merge into Oriental myth. This history remained slumbering until I became concerned that if/when I pop off then that HHH history would be lost forever.” More to follow on other historical points from Torch . . . On On.
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