I’ve finally found my people.
The health nuts are too strict in their regimes. Ask one of them to join you for an evening in with a tub of ice cream and a bottle of wine and they’ll sneer and stick up their nose. The party people are too lazy and hung-over. They can’t get up in time for an early morning hike and can’t handle an all-day bike ride, for they are in dire need of brunch and coffee with their sunglasses on. I’m too much of a drunkard for the exercise enthusiasts and too much of an early riser for the nighttime crowd. I had nowhere to turn….until I happened upon the Hash House Harriers.
The Hash House Harriers (or Hash Harriers or simply, the Hash) is the perfect marriage between health and party. This worldwide social groups tagline is “a drinking club with a running problem” and they live up to it, focusing equally on both activities. A hash, or event, happens once a month and runners, or hashers, follow splashes of white or colored flour left behind by the hare, or main runner who has started running fifteen or so minutes earlier. Hashers never know where the run will take them and are often tricked or misled by the hare and differing signals with the flour. These runs can be urban, out in nature, or really anywhere that the hash house wants to go. To keep things interesting, alcohol is involved right from the start. Beers are provided at the starting point, as well as along the route at beer checks, where beers and water are provided in coolers. At the end of the hash, beers also await the tired and slightly drunk hashers and then it’s off to the hash bash for more beer and much-needed food. The hash bash also includes a ceremony for new hashers (including them having to answer the question, “who made you come?” and yes, this is meant to sound dirty) where they may be given inappropriate and offensive names like, “Annoying Cunt”, “Purple Pussy”, and “My Dad Thinks I’m Gay.” These names must always be used during hash house events. These crass parts of the hash give it a bit of a fraternity vibe, which would usually turn me away from something, but initiation makes it fun and it’s all friendly. The worst thing I’ve heard of someone having to do is drink beer out of their running shoe because they made the mistake of wearing new ones to the hash. Certainly not on the same level as university greek life…
I first heard of the Hash Harriers in Santa Cruz, California about four or so years ago. I had no idea that they existed in countries around the world and when I was stalking my new city in Taiwan on the internet and saw there was a Hsinchu Hash Harriers chapter, I was stoked!! I was nervous to go alone, but found out that some friends from work were going and I finally went with them and instantly fell in love with it. The first run I attended involved us catching a train to an unknown destination and then running through farms overlooking the ocean, along train tracks, under turbines, on the freeway and then ending on a beautiful beach, where icy colds beers were downed, as we soaked our tired feet in the wet sand and surf. It was one of the best moments I’ve had in Taiwan. Everyone was extremely friendly and seemingly down to earth and I didn’t care that I smelled and was disgusting because everyone else was too! We then went to a beer factory and did “down downs” all night aka did shots of beer while singing a silly chant. The next hash was a slightly unofficial night run through my town, where I got annoyingly lost (this is usual for me in the hash), but got to see beautiful night scenery of my area, and most recently, we had a zombie hash that followed a crazy route that started in a muddy ravine where we had to Indiana Jones it
and took us over unstable bridges and along a peaceful lake, until we ended in a pagoda, where we had started, overlooking the city. Beer has never tasted so earned.
I’m really glad to have gotten involved with something so fun and active that I can look forward to each month and it’s great to know that it exists back home in California, so I can keep it up when I go home. Yet, Hsinchu Hash Harriers will forever be my “mother hash” and I’m one grateful hasher.