Above is a photo from a Hash House Harriers Virgin Initiation Ceremony.
I’ve run what we used to call “long distance” for almost 40 years. And started Crossfit about six years ago. I love running for relaxation. I love Crossfit for the community and for the way it works out absolutely every part of your body. I put both on hold last August when I started medical school. I’ve been through grad school. Have a PhD. Did incredibly long hours of study and lab work as a post-doc. But, Medical School is tough in a different way. Performance on tests is everything. Your ideas do not matter. What you think does not matter. That was hard to get used to. However, I discovered something that helped me keep my sanity. You may like it too: Hashing with The Hash House Harriers.
The Hash House Harriers and Hashing: like Crossfit but Weirder.
The Hash House Harriers are described as a drinking club with a running problem. The aims of Hashing are:
- To promote physical fitness among our members
- To get rid of weekend hangovers
- To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
- To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
Essentially the Hash is a run. Walkers and hobblers are welcome. No one seems to care who comes in first or last as long as it doesn’t turn into a lengthy search for the missing. The route changes every time. It is set by “The Hare” ahead of time with the path marked by chalk dust or similar. Our group, Grenada Hash House Harriers, used piles of shredded paper. The Hash is usually 4-6 miles and runs through woods and streams, along beaches and over mountains and along rural roads and tracks. Sometimes through people’s yards and farms (with permission). It was beautiful and a great way to get out of the library, the study hall and the anatomy lab and see life. As with Crossfit, people help and support each other. As with Crossfit there are “rules” and “customs”. In Crossfit you would not spew chalk all over the place. In Hashing, you should not wear new shoes. The traditional Down Down for new shoes, is having to drink beer out of them before the Hash.
The Beer Part of the Hash
After the Hash there is a party with beer, ceremonies and a cook out. Those who finish first start partying first. (Other Hashes may end at a bar or restaurant — depends where you are.) Ceremonies include initiation for “virgin” Hashers (first timers), honors for those who deserve them, and dishonors (or down downs) for those who well . . . . this can be kind of arbitrary. Down Downs can be given for taking short cuts, taking fruit from a farm, or not wearing the appropriate attire for the Hash. Some Hashes require, for example, wearing a red dress. The formerly virgin hashers may be awarded “Certificates of Loss of Virginity.” Make sure you keep your certificate, unless you wish to be “initiated” again.
The Beer Part of the Hash is likely to differ depending on what group your with. In Grenada, there was plenty of beer (or water) and local food prepared by cookout on site, lots of loud Caribbean music and often dancing. I met a lot of interesting people. Some were my classmates at SGU (click that link if you want info on a good medical school that is non-traditional student-friendly). Others were locals and others were passers through. There are people who travel the world from Hash to Hash.