This is a social club of runners that have been described as "a drinking club with a running problem."
Ex-pat British businessmen, accountants, lawyers, civil servants, etc., started the HASH in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It is a club based on the old English game of hares and hounds where one or two members would be given several minutes head start and would drop shredded paper as the "scent". The hounds would then follow, after the prescribed time, and attempt to catch the hares. The hares would lay the trail in a straight or obvious line, but then would stop laying trail and run off in another direction and begin laying the trail after 100 meters or so. When the hounds discovered that they were no longer on trail, they would fan out in all directions in search of the "scent" and would call to the others when the trail was once again discovered.
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The founder of the HASH, A. S. "G" Gispert, in 1937 discovered the Springgit Harriers, one of the paper chase clubs, in Malacca. He introduced Ronald "Torch" Bennett to the concept and the stage was set. When "G" returned to Kuala Lumpur in 1938, he became a member of the Federated Malay States Volunteer Reserves which trained on Mondays.
"G" and many of the other ex-pat Brits were housed in barracks in the
Royal Selangor Club where he and "Torch"
would often discuss starting a harrier club in KL (Kuala Lumpur).
Finally, in about December of 1938, "G" convinced about a dozen others to follow his inaugural paper trail. Gispert then suggested the name of
Hash House Harriers in mock allusion to the mess at the Selangor Club,
where many of them dined.
The runs were held Monday evenings, after reserve training, and were followed by refreshment of Tiger beer.
A. S. "G" Gispert was killed at 4 AM, February 11 1942 during the Battle of Singapore, defending the Allied strong hold from Empire of Japan, one of the largest, if not the largest defeat of British-led forces in history.
For more personal accounts of the early hash watch the following archive of the video The Hash Story (Click here), which include interviews with the Mother Hash co-founder Cecil Lee, and G's son Simon Gispert. Of The Hash Cecil says, "He ['G'] gave it the name 'Hash House Harriers'. An alliterative name. ... a joke... he suggested it. That's all! It was a light hearted thing. He'd be most amused to find out what's happened to it!" Of G he says, "...he wasn't an athletic fellow. He was rather a roly-poly cherubic chap... he was general found trundling behind the rest of us."
The HASH has grown from those humble beginnings to include thousands of chapters and tens of thousands of hashers worldwide.
Here is more history about the Hash
The Mother Hash continue runs, and has close to 4,100 runs since 1938. The Mother Hash website is being redeveloped.
Wherever you Hash in the world you will find it easy to fit in. There are some differences in how the hashs are organized, but most things will be very familiar to you.