Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cougar Hash House Harriers, Run #5

The many symbols of the hash house harriers
Twirly and I were invited to run with the Cougar Hash House Harriers in Nevada City the day after Run For Your Lives Zombie 5K. We met Cougar HHH founders, Makie and Peter Ohler, at a craft beer dinner at Matteos last winter. Upon learning I was running, they excitedly invited us to join them for a hash. I had heard the term before, used to describe what I would have called a relaxed, cross country beer mile. And in essence, that's a hash. Running, with beer. Sometimes during, always after. Throw in some symbols and a vocabulary for fun. If you become a regular, you'll eventually get a nickname (or, hash name).

On the true trail, photo by Makie Ohler
Along the ditch trail, photo by Makie Ohler
The hash house harrier concept began in 1938 when a group of British ex-patriots organized a Monday night run to rid themselves of the "weekend's excesses". From wikipedia:

"At a hash, one or more members ("hares") lay a trail, which is then followed by the remainder of the group (the "pack" or "hounds"). The trail periodically ends at a "check" and the pack must find where it begins again; often the trail includes false trails, short cuts, dead ends, back checks and splits. These features are designed to keep the pack together despite differences in fitness level or running speed, as front-runners are forced to slow down to find the "true" trail, allowing stragglers to catch up."
The true trail

I have no idea, maybe turn yourself around?
Also described as a drinking club with a running problem, hash house harriers are now found across the globe. The Cougar HHH was founded this year, and we were excited to finally have a local club.

The split
My legs were toast from chasing 5K runners at the Zombie run the day before, so Twirly and I opted for the shorter "Turkey" course instead of the full length "Eagle" course (~3 miles vs 5+ miles). After the run, we enjoyed snacks and beer in the shade and discussed Hash history and protocols. As it was Mother's Day, Twirly and I had to "fuck off" early, and we were ceremoniously dispatched. And then we were dispatched again because we couldn't take a cue.
We're looking forward to the next time our schedules allow for another hash. This is definitely a club that would have us as members! 
The best symbol of them all

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