Friday, 18 May 2007

Hashing - running on the white stuff

Last Sunday I was happy to connect with a crazy bunch of people that did a thing called hashing. I was desperate for a run with a group of people and as it turned it was just what I was looking for. When I heard they were going to run on some hills I was even more interested, and there actually was a descent slope to run up and down. Not quite Southern Cross Drive and good for here.

Let's explain what Hashing is because last week I had never heard of it before. Well someone marks a route using saw dust or in the hash I went to flour (apparently really cheap here) and they throw flour against a tree and on the path every few meters or just far away enough for people not loose the path. The front people who see the marker shout "On on!", and then everyone who is running behind them running in ear shout shouts "On on" until the last runner/walker/whatever. As time and distance passes people will begin to spread out to counter act, crossed out circles are marked on the ground called check points. These points are usually at a point where there are several alternate routes that can be taken but there next markers are made a reasonable distance away from the check point. This forces the front people to run down several potential routes to find the path again, normally shouting "Checking" this will give them some more exercise and allow everyone more chance to regroup. After all it is quite a social thing not anything serious.

The relaxed approach was brought home to me when I the hash started late so people started drinking beers. Then after the run there was a sing along and more beers and snacks. Unfortunately I needed to leave before things got going but I could see that the whole thing was a great idea.

I was wondering about hashing in Cape Town, after all I am obsessed about running and why have I not heard about it before. Turns out there are two hashing groups in Cape Town, well if you exclude Hermanus (150km from Cape Town) there is only one. They can't be a very regular group otherwise I am sure I would have noticed white flour along the greenbelts or they are a very tidy bunch and clean up after themselves.

The last Sunday during the Hash the weather was great and did at all during the run. The people were friendly and inclusive in conversation. If ever you get a chance to join a Hash I would recommend it. It made a lonely stressful weekend in The Netherlands a bit more bearable.

For detailed/less confusing info regarding Hashing click here.

and this was the Hash House that I joined last Sunday Wageningen Hash House Harriers.

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