Recently Kevin (my husband) tried something called Hash Running. He had such a great time with this very interesting, unique running group so I asked him if he would write a guest post about it. Here is what he had to say about his crazy experience!
Rewind back to July. I was sitting outside with baby Kevin waiting on Katie (or as you would know her, Runinspired) to get finished with a late evening run. I walked towards the mailboxes towards the end of the court to see if she was coming up the hill and all I can hear is “thump thump thump thump thump” coming from the top of the hill of our street. I knew it wasn’t Katie because she wasn’t coming from that direction that day and I look over to the right and see 30-50 people sprinting down our street! Now our street is nowhere near any place that would be hosting a race so immediately I was puzzled. About the same time they were headed down the hill I saw Katie coming up. They all were screaming to her “you’re going the wrong way!” Katie, just as puzzled as I was, responded with “I just finished 7 miles!” So as she was finishing, a couple of people in the back of the group were walking, and I just had to ask them what this was all about. One of them told us that it was called “hashing” and for us to look up DC Hashing on Google and we should be able to find them. Sure enough we looked it up and found the group that was running that night. This website explains what Hash Running (sometimes just called hashing) is and what it’s all about. Here is a quick summary from the website:
“A hash is a game of wits where one or more hares set a trail for the pack of hounds to follow. The hares use loops, backtracks, checks, and a clever trail to try to outwit the pack. Smart use of water obstacles, heavy shrubbery, unexpected changes of direction, etc., will make it very unlikely that the pack will catch them or gain an advantage by short cutting. A good hash will typically include a combination of water crossings, mud, hills, dense wooded game trails, poison ivy, wooden fences, ditches, culverts, storm drains, open fields, fallen trees, parks, etc. The trail is not intended to be a boring paved road race. At the end of the trail, hashers are rewarded for their efforts with the hash beverage of choice, that golden nectar of the gods—BEER!”
Katie had signed up to be in their group to receive e-mails of when the future runs were happening. She would tell me occasionally that they were running and it just never seemed to fit my schedule until this past Wednesday.
So I told Katie I would give it a shot and see what its all about this past Wednesday and see if it’s something we would like. I was nervous going by myself at first, but I got myself ready and headed out around 6:30. I got to the meet-up spot around 6:45 and there were about 20 or so people already there preparing for the run. And by preparing…by drinking BEER. I knew right from there that I would fit in as I love beer. I walked up to the sign up table and told them I was a “virgin” as they call first time hashers (thanks to a little research before I went!). They asked my name and I paid $5. As were standing around waiting for more people to arrive and get started, I started to mingle with some people. Come to find out, all “hashers” have nicknames that they have been given by the group with funny stories behind them. So before we ran, I got to meet “Maximum Assposure”, “Dumbass”, and “Tboss”. “Maximum Assposure” was an older guy that was one of the “hares” of the run. The hare is the lead person that leaves about 12-15 minutes before the rest of the group goes out and leaves trail markings (flour, chalk, or toilet paper) for you to follow to find the finish line and of course… BEER. He pulled me aside prior to him leaving to show me what the markings mean and what to do. After that, the hares went off to do their marking and the group behind began to warm up. We warmed up with a song that went with body movements to get your blood flowing (arm swings, leg swings, etc). I can’t remember the song but all the songs that they attempt to sing are common ones that people know, just with a R rated twist. We finished up the warming up and he told us it’s time to start.
Runners started out going left and walkers started out going right. As a runner, you can expect a 30-50 minute run or 3-5 miles. For walkers, it’s 25-45 minutes or 2-3 miles. We started out in a parking lot and immediately we hit a field of 4 foot grass. This goes on for about a half mile and we head down into the woods. About every 15-20 yards you can see flour or toilet paper marking on where you have to go. If you come to a spot that has 3 markings in a triangle, it means intersection. We found our first intersection right in the middle of the woods, and immediately began looking for more markings left, forward, and right. We found the next set of markings and moved on. Before you know it, we hit a creek and see the next marking is across the creek! Some people were looking for ways to get around the creek while some just jumped right in to get across. I followed suit and decided to jump right in. At first it was ankle deep and out of nowhere I was in waist deep getting across this creek! It was cold at first, but at this point I was already a mile or 2 in and was warmed up so it wasn’t too bad. I got across, headed through some more woods, and ended up at a “shotcheck”. A shot check involved some type of mixed liquor drink inside a cooler that everyone stopped by and got a quick shot before moving on. We got our shot in and back in the woods we went. After running into a few more intersections and creeks, we caught up to the “beercheck” where a truck was sitting on a dirt road with a cooler in the back of it full of beer. At this point, we were about 4 miles in and I had no clue how people are downing beers knowing there is a mile or so left. But, I joined in with no reluctance and downed my beer! We headed to the trail and this part was mainly paved roads and dirt roads. This was much easier but somehow we managed to run about 2 more miles to get to the finish. So the total was around 6 miles which is something that I haven’t ran in about 9 months! At the finish there were the hares waiting on us with 4 coolers full of… MORE BEER! At that point I was ready to join in on the festivities and have another beer.
Once everyone finished, they called us into the “circle,” where we crowded around as one guy was making some announcements. First, they called in all virgins (only me), and my initiation was downing a beer! Everyone clapped and my name for now is “just Kevin.” They had a few more drinking games and then announced that there will be an e-mail sent out for next week. After the circle was over, some people hung around and mingled while some others were leaving. I stuck around for a few minutes and then realized that it was getting late so I headed home. Needless to say, I will be doing many more “hash” runs and hopefully can get Katie to join me!
How crazy is that? Kevin came home that night 2 and a half hours after he left and was all wet, muddy and a little bloody too. He couldn’t stop talking about how much fun it was and is already looking forward to next Wednesday. The whole thing sounds pretty intimidating to me, but who knows? Maybe I’ll give it a try too… after my marathon of course!