11 May Hashing with the Lagos Harriers
They call themselves a drinking club with a running problem, and I couldn’t describe them any better myself because that’s exactly what the Hash House harriers are.
Founded in 1938, The Hash House Harriers, or HHH, is an international runners club that encourages its members to run… and drink! Yes, you heard me, drink. As in imbibe significant quantities of alcohol, particularly beer. Ice cold beer.
What’s a Hash?
In essence, a Hash is a run – but it’s a bit more than that. At a Hash, the runners (the pack) follow a trail marked by one or more members (the hares). Essentially, the runners must follow the series of trails to reach the beer stops (yes, you heard me) and the eventual end of the running route. The catch? No runner knows where the next marker is. As a result, the stronger runners that move ahead of the pack are inevitably tasked with finding the markers and leading the group in the right direction.
The running trail usually includes dead ends, back checks and splits, meaning that the front runners often have to change their course and retrace their steps, bringing them back to the trailing runners. This enables the pack to more or less stay together, regardless of the differences in the runners’ fitness levels. Genius!
When and where?
The HHH have several chapters across the globe, and quite a few in Nigeria, with the Island chapter being arguably the most popular in the country. The chapters gather at regular intervals (some weekly, others monthly) to hold a Hash, with some special occasions meriting a one-off hash. Incidentally, my first hash was one of the special ones – the St. Patrick Day’s hash.
The locations are always different, so check in with your local Hashers to find out the place and time for each hash. The Hash I ran took about two hours. The post-Hash celebrations, however, went on much longer than that.
The HHH has a lot of traditions, so I won’t go through them all, but let’s just say it functions akin to an old boy’s club helmed by seasoned expatriates. The Hash was founded, amongst other reasons, ‘To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel’, so be prepared to see a few carefree older men living their best life, as well as more youthful members being very… youthful. And yes, there will be lots and lots of drinking.
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How to join
Hash events are open to everyone and don’t require any reservations or membership by potential participants, but I would advise checking out the Facebook page of your Local Hash to make sure you have the latest information on upcoming Hashes. Most Hashes also ask for a small fee (hashcash) to cover the costs of food, drink and/or special attire made for one-off Hash events.
Hash events take place around the world, creating a global community you can plug into wherever you go. If you’re new in a country with no friends, if they have a hash movement, well, you already have friends there. Anyone who isn’t friends with you after sweating for hours on end and knocking back some cold ones is probably not even human.
In addition to in-country Chapter Hashes, There’s also a biennial Interhash, with hashers from around the world coming together to participate in one location, meaning you get to meet Hashers from around the globe in one place!
Now I might have to appear before the international fitfam court for classifying an event that encourages participants to drink as ‘Fitness’, but with my above-stated points, I hope that I have been able to convince you, and not confuse you, that Hashing is indeed (relatively) good for your health. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a criminally chilled stout that begs my attention.
Discover Fitness is a Nigerian fitness blog about nutrition, sport, workouts, fitness classes in Nigeria and general fitness.