What exactly is a Hash?
It's a mixture of athleticism and sociability, hedonism and hard work, a refreshing escape from the nine-to-five dweebs you're stuck with five days a week. Hashing is an exhilaratingly fun combination of running, orienteering, and partying, where bands of harriers (men) and harriettes (women) follow a trail on three to six mile trails through town, country, and desert, all in search of exercise, camaraderie, and good times.
Hashing began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of British colonial officials and expatriates founded a running club called the Hash House Harriers. They named the group after their meeting place, the Selangor Club, nicknamed the "Hash House." Hash House Harrier runs were patterned after the traditional British paper chase. A "hare" was given a head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, all the while pursued by a shouting pack of "harriers." Only the hare knew where he was going . . . the harriers followed his clues to stay on trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and solving the clues, reaching the end was its own reward . . . for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of iced-down beer.
Hashing died out during World War II (Japanese occupying forces being notoriously anti-fun) but picked up in the post-war years, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand . . . then exploding in popularity in the mid-70s. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, with newsletters, directories, and even regional and world hashing conventions.
Hashing hasn't strayed far from its Kuala Lumpur roots. A typical hash today is a loosely-organized group of 20-40 men and women who meet weekly or biweekly to chase the hare or run a trail. We follow chalk, flour, or paper, and the trails are never boring . . . we run streets and back alleyways, but we also ford streams, climb fences, explore storm drains, and scale cliffs. And although some of today's health-conscious hashers may shun cold beer in favor of water or diet sodas, trail's end is still a celebration and a party.
TL:DR? Here is an explanation from one of our local Chicago hasher explaining what is hashing in under 11 minutes.
What exactly happens on trail?
The trail is set by another Hasher called the Hare. The Hare marks the trail in flour or chalk. Periodically the Hare ends the trail with a check, and starts the trail again somewhere nearby. The Hashers, called a Pack, try to find the continuation of the trail. The idea is that the fast runners will get to the check before the slower runners; will expend a lot of time and energy finding the continuation of the trail; this will allow the slower runners to catch up; and the whole pack fast and slow will finish the run at about the same time. There is an explanation conducted by the Hare of the marks used at the start of each run. The length of the trail varies from too short to too long. Forty-five minutes to an hour for a good run, one and a half to two hours for a lousy one. Bring money on the run, you can often get a cab or Uber if you are lost or just want to pack it in.
Does it cost anything?
We are asking for $2 a person to help cover the costs beer for each run. All this money goes to the Hare (the one who lays the trail you run) to pay for the beer.
Do I/we have to run?
No! You can walk, jog, or move at your own pace. Nobody will be left behind (at least in theory)! But however, it is much more fun to run with the pack.
Is this a child-friendly event?
No, this is not a child-friendly event. There might be cases where we start out at a bar and end up at a bar.
What age range is this appropriate for?
Ideally 21 or older.
What should I/we bring
Yourself, your friends, an adventurous mind, and a good attitude.
What's an On-In?
That’s the venue (usually a bar) where the trail ends. Some bars have actually allowed us to come back for subsequent trails.
Can I bring my dog?
This is something that may vary event to event. Well behaved dogs are typically welcome, but we may have stops in places that do not allow dogs. You might have to check with the Hare then talk with the bar. Best thing is to plan ahead.
How long is the trail?
The idea for 4x2 H4 is to make sure all trails are under 4 miles. Due to some sloppiness by the Hare, it might go a little over four miles.
There are multiple beer stops?
This is dependant on the person laying the trail, but for 4x2 H4, we would expect, there might not be any stops other than the one at the end of trail.
Where does the trail start and end?
This various with each event, but usually we come back to where we started. The Hare is supposed to mention that trail will be, what is called, A to B. Check the event listings, Twitter, or Facebook for those kind of details.
How many beers do I get?
What should I/we wear?
General athletic attire - something you feel comfortable in given the weather.
What if it rains?
Hashing is a rain or shine event. Sometimes the most fun is had in the worst weather. But check the Facebook group for any discussion there.
Are there awards for the number of runs I do and etc?
We are currently working out the awards. Typically hashes hand out awards for their their 10th, 25th, 50th, 69th, 100th, and etc runs. Other hashes, traditionally and outside of Chicago, give a free whistle on your 5th time you show up. Likewise, hares are recognized for every 10 runs they set by awarding them with a hare tag. 4x2 H4 might very well do some or all of this in the future, but still working out the details.
Edit: Lanyards with whistles will be given out after you have obtained six runs. We'll do a nice ceramony for you to get your whistle.