don't like to exercise. Having sore muscles the day
after a workout is not fun. I chuckle when I see an
infomercial on TV showing smiling people trying to make
a new type of torture equipment look fun. But then I
came across a group of individuals here in Pittsburgh
who have a way of making a work out adventurous and
entertaining. They call themselves the Hash House Harriers.
Hash House Harriers is a group of ten or more men and
women who meet weekly to go on a non-competitive run.
They follow a path marked by a "hare" that
sets the trail for the group. Depending on the location
of the run or "hash," anything can happen
when the group gathers in a different place each week.
One hash may be held in a wooded area over trails, through
streams, up and down hills, sliding in the mud, or getting
tangled in a pricker bush. The next outing could be
scheduled in the city where Harriers run through alleyways,
dodge speeding bicyclists, or try not to trip over guitar
playing hippies hoping to grab your spare change.
at times, unpredictability is all part of the adventure
and fun. At the end of each run the group celebrates
the occasion with food, beer, and cocktails. This tradition
helps soften the agony of defeat and explains their
motto: "The drinking group with a running problem."
New members are also declared at the after party. Every
hasher is given a nickname picked by the rest of the
group, a handle that usually has something to do with
an embarrassing moment such as a trip, fall, flying
leap, or hard land in the mud.
originally started in Malaysia in 1938 when a group
of restless Englishmen started a hare and hounds running
group. Their meeting place was the Selangor Club, known
as the "Hash House." The runs were similar
to a British public school paper chase. An individual
was selected to be the "hare" and would be
given a head start to designate a trail. He marked his
way with scraps of paper while being closely pursued
by a rowdy bunch of "harriers."
the hare knew where he was going as the harriers followed
his marks to stay on track. Apart from the excitement
of chasing down the hare, finding the marks, and the
rush of adrenaline, the trail hashers would be rewarded
with a barrel of cold beer.
been a Hash House Harriers since 1985," said hasher
Jim Martin, AKA Moon, "and I've probably been on
1,000 runs." He and several other die-hard hashers
like Jim Montgomery (Whiff) run rain or shine year round.
"In January when there was twelve inches of snow
outside, we still ran," said fellow member Jerry
Agin (Folker). "We stopped along the way to make
angels and have snowball fights. It was fun."
casual atmosphere creates an enjoyable time, and the
Hash House Harriers welcome anyone to come along and
give hashing a try. With no membership required, anyone
can show up at a regularly scheduled hash only needing
old clothes and a decent pair of running shoes. Hashes
are held on Sunday afternoons during the fall and winter
as well as Monday evenings and full moons in the spring