Frequently Asked Questions
What is hashing?
Hashing is a unique activity that combines running or walking with a social event in a pub.
During a run hashers (the pack) follow a trail of blobs of flour or sawdust laid earlier by one or two hash members (the hares). The trail will have branching points (checks) and at least some members of the pack will have to explore each of them to find the correct route.
There are various additional markings such as fishhooks, which tell the front runners they have to go to the back of the pack, and regroup points where everyone waits for the slower hashers, which help keep all the runners together.
After the run hashers gather back at the pub to celebrate their achievement with copious food and drink.
There are thousands of hashing groups (called chapters or kennels) all over the world and all will welcome newcomers. Check out the details at UK Hash House Harriers web site.
How fit do I need to be to take part?
You don’t need to be athletic to take part. The trails are designed with checkpoints, fishhooks and regroups so that slow or very slow runners will easily keep up with the faster runners. You could in fact keep up at a very brisk walk. If you are a good runner however you can still get a proper workout by doing a lot of checking and fishhooks. The beauty of hashing is that people of all abilities can take part together.
Most people run at a pace that allows them to chat to other hashers as they go along. We also set a walkers trail for those who cannot manage to run.
How long are the runs?
Most trails are about 4 or 5 miles long but the faster runners can do much more than this if they want by checking false trails.
How do you decide the winner?
There is no winner! The point of the event is to have fun, stretch your legs and get round the course as part of the pack. It is a team effort.
Do I need any special kit?
There is no need for special kit. It is a good idea to have proper running shoes but don’t use your best pair, especially if it is a countryside run.
The hares will often set the trail through muddy areas (known as shiggy) so you can expect to get dirty.
It is a good idea to bring some extra clean dry clothes to change into after the run, especially if the weather is wet.
Do I need to book?
Yes please! We are currently using our specially designed pod booking portal which helps us track numbers and make arrangements with the pubs. This has been invaluable to us as restrictions have changed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before 2020 the answer was no – just turn up a few minutes before the advertised start time. We will introduce you to the other hashers and give you full instructions about how it all works.
Will there be other people my age?
Hashing is for people of all ages. We have had runners with ages ranging from teens to late 70s. You will be made welcome whatever your age.
What does it cost?
We currently charge £2.00 per run, to pay for drinks in the Down Downs (see below) but first time runners don’t need to pay.
What about children and pets?
There are no restrictions but be aware that the social event is always held in a pub, and it can often become a bit bawdy.
If you bring a dog you should be confident that you can control it, particularly if the run is in a farming area with livestock around.
What are Down Downs?
After the run the hasher will gather in a circle in quiet area inside or outside the pub to celebrate the best and the worst of the day.
Hashers who have done something notable – either good or bad – may be invited drink a Down Down. The idea is to drink a glass of beer or water down in one go while the rest of the hash makes encouraging remarks.
What are hash names?
It is customary for regular hashers to use nicknames (hash handles) rather than their own name on the run. These names are often risqué or politically incorrect and occasionally very rude indeed. Names are given hashers by the chapter leadership, usually after 5 or 10 runs and can be used whenever the hasher visits other hashing events.
How do I find out about planned runs?
You will find a list of our upcoming runs here.
Where can I find out more about the history and culture of hashing?
There is a rich history and culture associated with Hash House Harriers. This Wikipedia article is a good place to start if you want to know more. It contains a brief history of hashing with a load of links to other articles if you want to find out more.