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   Inside Out - South: Monday October 18, 2004


footpath sign
Let's take to the countryside!

Described as a "drinking club with a running problem", thousands of Hash House Harriers take to the open road each week for some serious exercise and some even more serious refreshment.

Join Inside Out as we work up a thirst.

"Hashing" as it has come to be know happens regularly up and down the country as eager runners and/or drinkers combine an invigorating run with more than the odd pint, before, after and even during the jog.

Never one to pass up a challenge, or a drink, Inside Out's guest presenter Linda Robson pulls on her trainers and heads to the Rockbourne pub near Fordingbridge.

Working up a thirst

The idea was born in 1938 when a group of expatriates in Kuala Lumpur instigated a modified hare and hound paper chase.

The chase was designed to work up a thirst, or work off a hangover, before retiring to the Selangor Club where drinking would recommence.

Linda and others
Linda embarks on her first 'hash'

The club was known locally as the "Hash House" so the name was adopted by the harriers and it stuck.

Today, hashing is an international pastime occurring in over 184 countries worldwide.

It is a non-competitive form of running with varying trails designed to suit differing fitness levels.

The run invariably starts and ends in the pub.

On the trail

As a new hash harrier, Linda is forced to put her spritzer and packet of dry-roasted on hold prior to the race as she is given the job of the hare.

The Facts

1938: Kuala Lumpur - Mother Hash founded

1969: Commando Forces hash founded - first hash in UK

1971: Westcombe Park hash founded - oldest monthly running hash in UK

1974: Bicester hash founded - oldest weekly running hash in UK

1977: 90 hashes known in 35 countries

1984: Harrier International founded

1988: 700 hashes known in 125 countries

2000: 1,570 active hashes known in 184 countries with 200,000 hashers

Source: UK Hash House Harriers

The hare has the important task of laying a trail made of all manner of things including flour, toilet paper, powdered chalk or paper.

Linda and Rattlebones - nicknames are essential for harriers - lay the main trail, whilst Tall Paul lays a decoy trail to trick runners into long detours.

"Once we've laid the trail we just sit back and watch all the other silly idiots run around like blue-bottomed flies!"

Trails can either be "live", with the hare setting out 15 minutes before the pack, or "dead", in which the trail is laid in advance.

Linda's is a dead trail which means she has the option of getting a round in and sitting it out in the pub.

But not one to languish in comfort whilst other slog it out, Linda heads out on the hash.

But it's no easy task - as Linda soon discovers when she has a run-in with an electric fence!

Tall Paul and others
'Tall Paul' lets the others know what they're in for!

And it looks like her discomfort hasn't gone unnoticed, as Tall Paul briefs tonight's runners.

"It's a very short run tonight - it had to be short because Linda moaned all the way around!

"There's a lot of barbed wire and there's also one very good electric fence, and it is on, isn't it Linda?"

Fortunately for Linda (and the cameraman!) the run is four and a half miles - which is apparently shorter than the hash house harriers are used to!

Liquid refreshment

Hashing is as much about enjoyment and socialising as it is about keeping fit, so don't be expecting a swift-half before home on the run's completion.

Down the hatch!

To ensure drinking is taken as seriously as the running, a forfeit system known as "Downs downs", insists that a pint must be guzzled in one for any misdemeanours occurring on the run.

And as for Linda's spritzer…

She'll be swapping to pints for the time being.

Hashing is a great way to combine exercise and socialising and if your legs aren't aching the day after the run, you can guarantee your head will be!

See also ...

On the rest of Inside Out
The loss of village pubs

BBC Health - Running and Jogging

On the rest of the web
UK Hash House Harriers

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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Readers' Comments

We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

For all the local Hampshire Hashing Info (well, all the info within a 2 mile radius of Hursley), try

Fantastic to read that hashing is becoming famous outside the normal circle, On On...

Willy Washer
Who was the good looking girl at the end in yellow? Surely a good advert for Hashing, a healthy female specimen who can drink as well as run!! BBC good topic well presented, a pat on the back for Linda and her pal.Wessex HHH

Mr Beacky
Good venue, good run, good company and great beer. Well done to all concerned, Linda gave it the humour the geese and live wire gave it credability...on on

Bouncer from Brightonandhovehaywardsheathandhorsha
Good article although the broadcast itself went out at prime hashing time (for many clubs Monday evening although some wimp it in the winter) so few hashers will have seen it! There are no two hashes the same so some of the strange goings on in the broadcast may be unique to HOVMRCH3. We all evolve differently with two essentials, well one essential, BEER, and one optional, the run! Well done Auntie ...

Any readers or viewers who like the idea can run (walk, stroll) with the Hursley Hash House Harriers ( any Sunday morning at 11:00, or the Worthy Winchester Hash House Harriers any Monday evening at 6:45 (, or with the R2D2 hash (Andover area) on Thursday evenings in summer, or Saturday mornings in winter ( There's also the Bourne Valley H3 and loads of others ... click around the various web sites, and you'll find helpful links. On on Cropcircle

Elvis the Pelvis
Well, there are other types of hash houses. For example in Tirana, Albania the hash is a "Family hash". You can see kids walking along with their parents and there is always a walkers trail along with the runners one. On, On..

Please see this site for further info on where "runs" are in the South! Hursley H3 "run" on Sundays at 11, & Worthy Winchester at 1845 on Mondays! Try it you might like it!

Bouncing Czech
Publicity for the Hash?! wonderful! a great 'free wheeling' liberally minded social group for both young and old who want to enjoy the fresh air and the beer! here in Prague we have our own 84 year old hasher (Veteran) - he walks the hash run and still manages to have a good few 'down down' beers for 'short cutting' the longer trail! Long Live Hashing round the World..... on on Bouncing Czech Prague Hash House Harriers

Good to see that our wonderful pastime is getting some well deserved publicity. Thank you BBC. I would like to add the following to the 'Facts' list though: July 2004, Cardiff Wales - First World Interhash ever to be held in the UK. And two world records broken to 'boot' - Cardiff hosted the world's biggest ever Charity Red Dress Run on the Thursday with 2035 hashers of both sexes running around the streets of Cardiff in red dresses - an amazing sight - and also the largest ever World Interhash was held in the Millennium Stadium over the weekend with around 5000 hashers attending from all over the world. For more information look up the website at The next World Interhash will be held in Chiang Mai in 2006 and you can also check out their web site at Cheers n Beers Clepto, WIH2004 Publications

Drag-Along Date, Co-GM San Diego H3
I'm personally gratified to see yet another article on the topic of Hashing. This looks to be one of the more accurate ones. In San Diego we have 12 to 15 Hashes, depending on who you ask, and each one has its own unique personality even though many are attended by a lot of the same people. It's no mystery to us that Hashing is thriving and growing throughout the world. It brings out the best in us. ON-ON, Drag

Incredible Hulk
Linda should try International Hashing, she would be welcome on the French Cote d'Azur where the Riviera Hashers enjoy sunny running and red wine!

Stu "The Colonel" Lloyd
Great to see the venerable BBC getting behind Hashing, although I'm sure some would prefer it was kept behind closed, er, drawers. (As I found when I wrote "HARE OF THE DOG - history, humour and hellraising from the Hash House Harriers" and was howled down by some anachronistic purists who felt it should remain 'secret men's business'.) Cheers, Stu Lloyd Sydney Australia

Mary Place (aka Gobby Tart )
The race????? Hashing isn't a race. There is no prize for coming in first, infact one can be penalised for it. Brilliant fun

Deep Throat
Dear Sir, I was appalled at the publicity you have given to this group of people known as the Hash House Harriers. In my experience, these people do not take running seriously enough and under the new Brussels directive on Hashing, they will soon have to amend their ways. According to the new European Commissioner for Hashing, Senor Going First, who was appointed following your article, drink on hash related activities will be banned unless the drink is less than 0.04 per cent alcohol. The only exceptions to this will be allowed on Sundays or on a boat, when the drink percentage allowed will be rise to 140% More importantly, in future all so called "down down" announcements, will have to be translated into each of 106 languages cuuently employed in the EEC. This will be raised to 108 languages when the new countries to the Community, the Island of Pitcairn and The Peoples Republic of Yeman join Europe next year. Yours etc Disgusted of Gloucester

Excellent article. A hit too coherant. Obviously not written by a real hasher! OnOn Amnesia On Sec Bicester H3

Gadget from BH3
I wonder Linda will be back for the next hash! On On Gagdet

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