Have you Heard of the Hash House Harriers?

hashing.pngIt may be appropriate to switch the entire premise of this blog to adventures in fitness. I have yet again branched out from the box and studio to pursue a novel form of challenging fitness. This challenge involved weaving through traffic, searching for paths, swimming through the Ocmulgee river, climbing sandy banks, and lots and lots of BEER! What is this wild mix of fitness, adventure, and alcohol you may ask? Hashing!

WTF is Hashing?

If you are like the week ago version of me, you probably haven’t ever heard of Hashing. Apparently, that makes us weirdos, because Hashing is kind of a big deal. Hashing or the Hash House Harriers has been around since at least the 1930’s. Today, there are about 2,000 legitimate hash clubs in nearly every country. These clubs meet about every week for a group run. But this run is not your typical jog through the town. It’s more of a hunt. A hunt for the noblest of trophies– beer.

The Way it Works

Each hash has a hare. The hare sets the trail for the rest of the group to follow. The trail is laid using dots of flour and other symbols that denote certain action. For instance, a dot within a circle changes the direction of the trail, forcing the group to search for the new path. Once a hasher finds the first dot of the new trail, they yell “On one!” The second dot receives an “On two!” And the third gets the highly popularized, “On-on!” (highly popularized in the hashing world, where it appears on everything from bumper stickers to t-shirts). My favorite symbol being, of course, the “BS”, or beer stop. Here, you take a break from the chase and open up a cold one. Once the group has caught the hare, you celebrate in a circle with beer, snacks, and merriment.

How I Discovered Hashing

So how did I even discover this whacky phenomenon? A friend and I were sitting outside of a local bar last Wednesday, enjoying some bourbon and playing some dice. When we saw what we considered to be a crack-head, hustling by tossing out a white substance from his bag. After this initial curiosity, a whole crowd of oddly dressed individuals, yelling and blowing whistles came running past. We were surely afraid for our lives. One of the raucous mob stopped a moment to speak with us. He introduced himself as Ninja Priest, his friends being Poop! There It Is and Pocket Pussy Pounder, and told us they were hashers. Since he was on the hunt, he didn’t have much time to explain, so he told us to check out their Facebook page. Intrigued, we took a look, and although it looked like the most bizarre thing I have ever seen, we decided, “Why the hell not!?”

Our Trail

So that is what led be to pop by ?Hash cherry on a wild trail through Macon. Our trail began in a local park. To begin, we  all tumbled down a large concrete slide, which was not fun in running shorts. We then proceeded to scale back up the slide– the hare began with an early decoy. Finding our true path, we took off through some historic neighborhoods. We ran through neighborhoods and business areas. Most of the path took us through downtown Macon, and the alleys between buildings. The trail was actually an amazing experience. We witnessed parts of Macon I have never seen before. While most were run-down and dirty, they still possessed a beauty of hidden history and future possibilities. However, since this trail was meant to be of higher difficulty, we couldn’t be kept to the streets. Our hare took us over the rail road tracks and down to the river, where we had a brief swim and wade through the water. I didn’t have to worry about the water temperature, as it was basically a hot tub, but the possibility of an alligator or snake lurching by did cross my mind. Following our quick dip, we made a beer stop to dry off and regroup. Then, we headed to the cemetery, because the night certainly couldn’t have gotten any stranger.

Beer On Trail

While I fancy a beer from time to time, I’m not one who typically downs one and then goes for a run. So, I didn’t drink prior to our start as many of my companions did. When we arrived to the first beer stop, I was a bit confused. The beer stop took place within a historic Macon night club, Grant’s Lounge. A woman asked me how I like the trail. I just assumed we had reached our end; so I accepted a brewskie. Little did I know, this was just the first of two beer stops, we were no where near done. Luckily, the beer didn’t seem to affect my run, aside from a few barley burps. This is great reference for the next beer mile that pops up.

The Finish Line

We ran straight out into traffic. We trampled through a hobo camp. We leaped over tombstones. We drank in the middle of a public park. We are definitely going to Hell after all of this, but we’ll probably sprint in and crack open a beer when we get there.

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