Mystique of the Hash

This post is borrowed and copied her from (I couldn’t link directly to this post) It’s written by the late hasher, Stan Cherim, from Hockessin HHH, Deleware USA.

I’ve posted it here because I think it’s a brilliant piece about hashing and goes way beyond the typical discussion of beer and debauchery.  Many of us don’t drink (shocking I know!)  so there must be more to it…and I think Stan hits the nail on the head.
– HeyUWannaLeiMe

Mystique of the Hash

Stan Cherim
Stan Cherim

What is it about hashing that casts its spell over us and feeds our addiction? Hashing is, after all, a weird aberration in the world of recreational running. I raise the question, rhetorically, because curious people ask about it. They don’t understand what it is that makes mature adults participate in an activity where the downsides and hazards seem so obvious. They wonder why we seem to abuse our bodies and risk our necks by running through inhospitable terrain. Thickets clogged with thorns poised to shred the skin of our legs. Venues burgeoning with poison ivy, ticks, bees, and whatever creepy-crawly thing that may be endemic to a particular corner of the world. Why do we choose to run up and down steep and often slippery trails filled with rocks and roots? What sadistic impulse drives the hares to lay trails that make us climb over and through Cyclone fences and barbed wire, slosh through streams and swampland rich in sneaker-sucking mud? What defects in our collective character allow us to trespass on farmland, private estates, golf courses, or cause security guards to get their undies in a bunch when we saunter through shopping malls? Why do we court disaster by feeling our way through dark, water-filled culverts and tootling along stretches of railroad tracks? People wonder how men and women . . . especially men . . . can reconcile themselves to a degree of shamelessness that allows them to participate in a huge slice of lunacy called a “Red Dress Run.”  Who were the warped minds that conjured up an event in which free spirits reign supreme and the masses, garishly decked out in red dresses, careen around crowded business districts in cities throughout the world yelling inanities like “On, On!” or just screeching like banshees. And if we’re really lucky, all of this neat stuff might go on during a thunderstorm, a blizzard, or in the dark of night.

Our favored response is to tell these perplexed mortals, “We’re a drinking club with a running problem!” It really is a pretty cute rejoinder that often elicits a broad smile and maybe a shout of approval . . . but it’s also misleading and it doesn’t always turn out to be the perfect little snappy remark we want it to be. To some onlookers it is a validation of their moral indignation. There’s something scandalous about a bizarre behavior being displayed by a bunch of freaky people. People so deficient in basic “family values” that they let themselves get caught up in a wave of mob psychology which makes it okay to be seen as offensive or infantile. The misleading part is the inherent suggestion that hashers are a bunch of boozers. Not so. Emphatically, not so! One of the wonderful things about hashers is their unstated and unspoken resolve to never put pressure on anyone to use alcoholic beverages. It is clearly understood that some people prefer not to use alcohol. They don’t like it, or health considerations rule it out. These hashers are accorded total respect. We don’t even joke about it. Sometimes our response to anal-retentive mentalities derives from the oft-stated conviction that says, “If you’re talking to a hasher, you don’t need to explain your addiction. If you’re talking to a non-hasher, you can’t explain it.” I don’t think so. We find easy comfort in this answer, but it’s a little too trite. Too smug. It’s a cop-out. I think we can give people answers that will make sense to them. Some of them may even decide to give hashing a try.

Here then is one hasher’s attempt to gather some bits and pieces of what may eventually evolve into a definitive apologetic. There is no rationale for the order of the topics as presented. No progression from trivial to powerful—just a bunch of reasons supporting the Hash House Harrier mystique in a way that may help outsiders get a better notion of what it’s all about. It’s not enough to say that it’s all about fun and fitness. A lot of running clubs feature that slogan and, in a sense, it says it all and it makes an important statement to the effect that our passion is not necessarily related to competition, winning, or ego inflation. Paradoxically, however, it says nothing at all until we get into some details to explain what we mean by “fun” and how do we experience a joie de vivre you just can’t get with treadmills and barbells. Oh, yes, the fitness gym has its place, but while the “no pain, no gain” mentality arguably sucks, it does work and it requires no explanation. Hashing, by contrast, is an alternative to the world of grunting, stinking, sweating bodies holed up in a jungle of steel contraptions. Hashing leads to a different level of fitness that contributes to the soundness of body in a less aggressive way. We can replace the grimace with a smile as the hashers’ way to fitness takes us into an environment filled with the sounds, sights, and smells of nature.

Men and women of all ages regularly savor the joy of a group activity that takes us bounding over trails through forests, along (and often into) ponds and rivers. over high meadows, and even over patches of asphalt. The variety of locales is wonderful, too. Hardly ever do we run old trails in familiar places. The noncompetitive aspect of hashing is a joyful release from the oval track, stop watches, and finishing chutes of the good old 10 K roadrace. Of course we find fun and camaraderie at the roadraces, too. Lots of hashers are avid roadracers and there is no reason for hashing and roadracing to be an either/or choice. The roadrace has its rewards: another T-shirt (like you only have 250 and you need more), medals, trophies, adulation (if you’re an “elite” runner), or just a huge sense of accomplishment if you’ve covered the whole 26 miles of a marathon.

Hash rewards, however, include a higher level of camaraderie that can only exist among close friends. Mutually shared expressions of warmth and affection doled out with hugs and smiles that extend naturally beyond the hash event. We enjoy getting together for non-running social events, too. Periodically, hashers will gather for a trip to the seashore or the mountains, a dinner together at an exotic restaurant, an entertainment event like a ballgame or a concert, or maybe just meeting together for a happy hour at a local brewpub and celebrate someone’s birthday. Our occasional T-shirt is usually an item we buy to celebrate a special hash event, like a red dress tun. The only tangible award we can offer is a mug of beer to the “winners” of a hash. Toward that end, we bring a characteristically perverse humor by presenting our “awards” to the hares who volunteered to host the hash and lay the trail, short-cutters, front-runners, visitors, and new hashers (referred to as “Cherries”, “Virgins” or “New Boots”). The “award ceremony” is like nothing else. The eating and drinking climax to our physical exertions is called an “apres” in which our designated “religious advisor,” striving for a high level of refreshing irreverence, leads us in the singing of appropriately raunchy tunes.

The variety of personalities that constitute a regional hash are quite amazing. And it’s not only the individual hashers—the hash, as an entity, is likely to have a personality. Some hash units are more party oriented rather than being gung-ho for running. In a light-hearted way, they display their mock disdain for hard running by using the word “run” as though it were an obscenity. They’re also quick to jokingly ridicule any hashers daring to wear T-shirts from roadraces. Such blasphemy will surely earn them a down-down at the apres. Other hash units are composed of many serious runners who thirst after physically daunting trails. They may even manage to create some kind of competitive twist to the event. Apparently, the primal forces of our human nature will cause the competitive fire to burn in contradiction of the hash mentality. Some hashers love to sing. The raunchier the lyrics, the better. And many hash units embrace the whole spectrum of motivations.

But back to the individuals because here is where we have something special in the social interaction of all kinds of men and women. What is wonderful about it, and what is something of a unique hash phenomenon, is the total, unquestioning acceptance that hashers have for each other. People do not come to a hash with agendas that include a need to impress others with how important, or rich, or how smart they are. Nobody cares if you’re a plumber, stockbroker, big shot executive, tax collector (well, that might create some negative disposition), lawyer (with a high tolerance for nasty jokes), salesperson, chemistry prof (they’re the worst kind), or whatever. Criteria for acceptance into hash events are simply a few bucks to pay for food and drink, a love of adventure running on trails, and a zest for partying that is likely to be on the “R-rated” side.

With regard to attitudes and philosophies, the hash is typically a land of diversity: Conservatives and liberals, religious types, irreverent characters, party animals as well as quiet loners, and some people who drift in who are right off the wall. But these unique personalities are fully accepted and we don’t call them “weird.” We prefer to say that they are just “different,” and the encompassing arms of the hash will be long enough and strong enough to encompass “different” people within our circle. One of the really delightful things about hashing is the chance it affords us to react to the smothering effect of political and social correctness. To be a rebel. To leave, temporarily, our sheltered structures and directed work-a-day worlds that are so filled with expectations and responsibilities. There are no Rules in the hash universe. The hash is the time and place for behavior based on a mock disrespect for genteel conventions and family values. But it’s all done in a spirit of fun, and that’s why it works and exists as a major part of the hash mystique. There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek insulting that goes on. A kind of crude banter that elicits smiles rather than hurt feelings. It is clearly understood that teasing is just a light-hearted bit of fluff among people who have profound respect and genuine affection for each other. It’s the hash style to kid people about mismanaging events, laying ugly trails, or botching up whatever it is that somebody with a brain would do correctly. Another characteristic of many hash groups throughout the world is the special nickname that assembled hashers hang on a newly inducted member. The age, gender, or lifestyle of the newcomer is irrelevant. The scatological approach is basic to any flimsy pretext for selecting a raunchy name for the victim. Resisting an inclination to give some examples, it will be simply noted here that this singular event allows the hash to cross the line separating decency from the realm of poor taste and cruelty toward wildlife (i.e., hashers).

Of course, the world of the hash has its share of human imperfection. Most of us will occasionally have that kind of day where we feel a little grouchy and behave in a way that rubs somebody’s fur the wrong way. Where onr draws the line between good-natured taunting and crude insult varies with people. Some folks can handle an unrestricted litany of jokes and songs and always find the humor. But when you get into jokes involving sexual orientation, toilet functions, race, ethnicity, blondes, and lawyers, some people will feel deeply offended. What distinguishes humor from poor taste and gross insensitivity will always be perceived differently by different people. Personality conflicts are another inevitability, but that’s something we’ll always have to live with. What is great about the hash is the degree of harmony that seems to have become one of the major characteristics of our remarkably inclusive society.

It is largely because of this spirit, this attitude, that the hash movement has evolved into an unstructured but nevertheless international affiliation. For example, it is absolutely fantastic how a hasher from one part of the world can get on the Internet and hit on the web pages of hashes thousands of miles away, then, choosing among the e-mail addresses displayed, contact an officer of any foreign hash, introduce himself and announce his plans to be there on such and such a date, and ask if there’s a local hasher who has enough room for him to crash for a day or two so that he can hash with them. In the hash, the answer is never No, it’s always positive. There is a real sense of fraternity among hashers throughout the world that opens doors and multiplies friendships.

Stan Cherim
Hockessin HHH, Deleware USA

FUH3 Invasion AGM Invasion

April 25th, 2015


Hares: All of Mismanagement 

Location: 2310 Plank Road Fredericksburg VA 22401

Check in starts 1pm

Details:  Say goodbye to our founders My Cock and Pink Slip as they step down from mismanagement and go back to the mother-land!

Erect some new assholes to guide you in debauchery!
Booze, Giveaway, Trails, and Food is what you get!

Friday Night: Pre-Lube at Happy Endings in Downtown Fredericksburg

Saturday: Check in starts at 1pm Quality Inn- Central Park in the hashpitality room (meeting room of the hotel). 

Opening Circle will be 3pm
Trail will have Runner and Walker splits. A-A

Dinner will be provided in downtown Fredericksburg.

Rooms: Provided- At sign up please specify someone to share with unless you don’t care. We also could only get a few double rooms so find someone you don’t mind sharing a king bed with.

2 Suites are available: 1 King Bed and a pull out couch; good for you wankers that like an ORGY!

Sunday: Breakfast is provided by the hotel or you can come to Brock’s from Sunday Brunch after short Fat Boy trail.

$$$$ Cost $$$$
Since we are doing this local you have two options:

1. Be cool and stay at the hotel for $89.00 plus paypal fee
2. Be lame and go home drunk for $69.00 plus paypal fee

There will be a usable giveaway this year!

Trail #7: Pink & C*ck’s Hot Mess Trail

We are back!

Trail #7: Pink & C*ck’s Hot Mess Trail

Date:  March 28, 2015
Time: 3:00pm

Hares: Pink Slip & Cocktroller

Location: 1104 Westbriar Dr, Richmond, VA 23233
Carb loading: 3:00 pm
Hares away: 3:15 pm
Pack away: 3:30 pm
Hash Cash: $8 for drinkers (We only serve VA craft brews & craft ciders); $4 for non-drinkers
(free for hash virgins)

Rare Olde Times
10602 Patterson Ave, Henrico, VA 23238

TrAIL #6 – Invasion of Tidewater H3! October 24

Tomorrow is our Tidewater H3 Invasion!! 7pm in VA Beach.  We might also hit the Hangover Hash (not H4) the next day at 11am, or do the Gloucester Renn Faire.


Halloween Pub Crawl 2014!

Saturday, October 25th, at 7pm.
Check In/Gather at 6:30.

Check-in/registration at Start is Clarion Inn & Suites (26th St) 2604 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA, US, 23451.

Click the link for more info:


What is POHO all about? Part 1 of 2

Starting a new kennel is hard.  It is nice to start with a blank slate, but you have to establish your own traditions and customs (or figure out which you want to borrow from others) which can be a challenge given all the options.  We’ve gone back and forth on a few, but we think we’ve sorted most of that out.

We had to really have to think about what it is we love about hashing, what keeps us going back for more, and figure out how to make sure that is incorporated in every trail.

Then there are the folks that have interrogated us about why we have started a new kennel.  We have only one answer for that:

– More hashing.

The Name:


We wanted a name that would reference Virginia somehow.  We’d originally come up with Short Pump H3, but a wise hasher (Full of Shit) talked us out of it, which we are grateful for.  And we love to travel and that really wouldn’t have fit us.  We’d been tossing around ideas and words that related to VA and then Pocahontas came up.  That quickly turned into POCA and ultimately POHO, cause it was funnier to us.

Pocahontas relates to our location and was also a nod to Rektal Spielunker’s Native American heritage, although a different tribe (Rektal’s mom was born on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Indian Reservation).  So, the POHO girl is made to look like Rektal (if he was a young girl).

Our Style of Hashing

There are many different types of kennels even though we all follow the same basic guidelines.  But when you distill it down a bit, one of the broad categories is party first exercise second. And the other is exercise first party after.  Neither is right our wrong, it’s just preference.  For us, the joy in hashing comes more from the physical challenge and socializing than from drunken debauchery. Nothing wrong with that, just not where we’re at (unless it’s an AGM or weekend event and then game on.)

In 1950 when the original mother hash in Kuala Lumpur was “forced” to (they were adamant about not having rules) write out the objective of their club for a registry, they stated the following:

1. To promote physical fitness among our members
2. To get rid of weekend hangovers
3. To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
4. To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel

Good stuff.  And an insight into what our “founding fathers” were all about.  While we hash on the weekends so #2 is kinda out, we intend to promote the spirit of the other 3 objectives.

And while we also don’t want rules, like all kennels, we do have guidelines, which I’m sure we will continue to tweak.

Here are our general guidelines for POHO trails (a page with detailed haring guides, trail marks and such is coming soon):

– We will always have a walkers and a runners trail with penguin,  turkey, eagle and duck splits when necessary.
– We will do 3+ miles for walkers, 5+ for runners
– We will have 2 to 3 beer (+water, cider, soda) or shot checks
– The chase. Hashing is not a race, but it most certainly is a chase and we don’t want to lose that part of our shared hashing history, so we will incorporate those elements in each trail.

Other than those and the hand full of other guidelines we will publish, that’s about as organized as we want to get.  Rektal and I are both “fly by the seat of our pants” type of people and organization won’t be our thing.


Part of the reason we only have a trail once per month is that we love to travel and visit other kennels in VA/NC/MD.  We’ve also just joined the DC Road Whores so we can go with other folks to out of state and out of the country.

Most weekends we will visit other kennels, or multiple other kennels.  Join us any time you want!

– HeyUWannaLeiMe

Hashing in Richmond, Virginia, USA

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