Ming the Mechanic:
Hash House Harriers

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Hash House Harriers2003-09-15 18:40
picture by Flemming Funch

Sunday we were on our second outing with Toulouse Hash House Harriers. And what is that, you say?
"The Hash House Harriers is a running/drinking/social club which was started by bored expatriates in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1938. ("Hash House" is the nickname of the restaurant/bar to which they retired for food and beer after a run). Hashing is based on the English schoolboy game of "Hare and Hounds"; a Hash is a non-competitive cross-country run set by one or more runners called hares. The hares run out in advance of the other runners (the pack of hounds), and set a course marked by white flour, and/or chalk marks."
Apparently this exists all over the world, which you can see at the Global Hash House Harriers Home Page.

And, well, it is quite a hoot. Here in Toulouse there's an event (a hash) twice per month, each time in a different place in the surrounding countryside or in the city itself. Which provides a fine way for seeing places you haven't seen before, and meet interesting people who speak English. As the site says it is "a drinking club with a running problems", but the run is actually the major part of the event, timewise. There is usually a path laid out for runners and another for walkers, each one intended to take 1-1.5 hours to get through. And, yes, you're following a path marked with occasional splatches of flour or chalk marks, and part of the enjoyment is to try not to get lost, or to get lost and to find your way again, or not. Being first is not in any way a virtue, so being there is the main thing. There's an assortment of rules about what you say to let others know we're on track ("on-on"), and when you're not, and how to interpret various signs.

The more silly and fun ritual takes place after the run, where various points of order need to be taken care of. One of them is to assign punishments to various participants for no terribly good reasons. There's almost always something to punish the hares for, and whoever tended towards being first deserves another one, and of course any new people. The punishment is generally a "down-down", which is a drink of choice (beer, or water if you prefer) which you have to gobble down in one go while everybody else sings the accompanying down-down song. That's the drinking part, obviously. And also, anybody who's been there a while will be assigned some silly and preferably somewhat offensive and suggestive name that they'll be known by for the foreseeable future, and there's a ritual to administer that. All of it is crazy good fun, and it is a good place to meet other foreigners. This is obviously a British idea, but there are also Americans, Dutch, French and anybody else who somehow gets inspired to come.

This time we were accompanied by our new friends, fellow Dane Thomas and Karine, who's from Toulouse. Delightful people that it is a pleasure to know. And well, they were Hash Virgins, as was Zachery, so here on the picture you can see them get ready for their down-down initiation.

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16 Sep 2003 @ 13:48 by morelove : Thanks for the posting on Hash House
Harriers Flemming, I was only asking the other day if there was a Hash House Harriers club in the area I live, so now I'll be able to find out ... I came across the club some 20 years ago in a small mining community of 1,000 people in the middle of the West Australian Dessert/Bush and I know the participants had lot of fun.. :-)Denise  

16 Sep 2003 @ 23:03 by Paul hughes @ : I'll give it a try
Sounds hilarious. I just found a club here in Reno, Nevada. I'm going this weekend. Should be a real hoot.  

17 Sep 2003 @ 11:47 by victoria @ : great!
this sounds like allot of fun! can't wait to try it myself!  

9 Nov 2003 @ 11:24 by Husker @ : Bummer DD

Bummer, you got down-downed for having the color violet on the website! And someone thought it was pink?!! Must have been the smoke!


9 Nov 2003 @ 12:43 by ming : Down-down
Heheh, yeah, I'd agree that {link:http://perso.wanadoo.fr/abbott/|it} is more like purple than pink. So it was a little unfair for Lapdancer.  

22 Nov 2004 @ 04:49 by Bill Riordan @ : portland hhh
Looking for hashers in Portland, Oregon. any info?  

22 Nov 2004 @ 11:22 by ming : Portland Hash
Here's an Oregon Hash: {link:http://www.oregonhhh.org/|http://www.oregonhhh.org/} The people seem to be in Lake Oswego, which I believe is around Portland.  

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