Addis Hash House Harriers

The Highest Hash in Africa!

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Hash Details!

Welcome to AAHHH, the highest Hash in Africa and one of the highest in the world, at 2400m above sea level. Some call Hash ‘The drinking club with a running problem.’ Perhaps this is true! Come and decide for yourself. We meet every Saturday afternoon, rain or shine, at 2pm / 14h00 (simint sa’at bityopia) in the Hilton Hotel car park, to run (or walk) somewhere nice outside Addis Ababa. Transportation is provided for those without.

We are a Family Hash: we welcome locals and expatriates, young and old, female and male, runners and walkers. We follow a paper trail laid in the morning by 'hares'. The group from about 40-60 runners and walkers, from a pool numbering over 400. The run (and a shorter trail for walkers) takes about 60-75 minutes. It is followed by a circle to welcome newcomers and returnees, usually returning to Addis Ababa by 6.30pm (asra-hulet takul). The cost is 30 birr, while newcomers pay a first-time fee of 70 birr. We use this money to subsidise drinks and special events. Further info: +251-911-206908.

History PDF Email
Hashing originated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or "Hare and Hounds", to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. The original members included Cecil Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Ronald "Torch" Bennett, Albert Stephen (A.S.) Ignatius "G" Gispert and John Woodrow.

After meeting for some months, they were informed by the Registrar of Societies that as a "group," they would require a Constitution and an official name.  A. S. Gispert suggested the name "Hash House Harriers" after the Selangor Club Annex, where the men were billeted, known as the "Hash House" for its notoriously monotonous food.  Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and finding the trail, harriers reaching the end of the trail would be rewarded with beer, ginger beer and cigarettes.

The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is recorded on a club registration card dated 1950:

  • 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
Hashing died out during World War II after the invasion of Malaysia, but was re-started after the war by most of the original group, minus A. S. Gispert, who was killed in the Japanese invasion of Singapore.

Apart from a "one-off" chapter formed on the Italian Riviera, growth of Hashing remained small until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded the second kennel, in Singapore. The idea then spread through the Far East, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and North America, booming in popularity during the mid-1970s.

At present, there are almost two thousand kennels in all parts of the world, with members distributing newsletters, directories, and magazines and organizing regional and world Hashing events. As of 2003, there are even two organized kennels operating in Antarctica.
Organization PDF Email
The Hash House Harriers is a decentralized organization with each chapter (sometimes called a Kennel) individually managed with no uniting organizational hierarchy (although the locations of national and international gatherings are decided by a meeting involving representatives from a number of hashes). A kennel's management is typically known as the MisManagement and consists of individuals with various duties and titles. There are more than 1,700 kennels spanning all seven continents. Most major cities are home to at least one chapter. Kennels typically contain 20-100 members, usually mixed-sex and some metropolitan area Hashes can draw more than 1,000 hashers to an event.

A2H3 Guide for prospective Hares PDF Email

 If possible, decide early where the run venue is going to be, so that it can be noted in advance on the Addis Hash website.  If it is your first time as a Hare, it is advisable to take along an experienced Hasher.

 A good run needs advance planning.  Visit in advance and take a good look at the area you plan to use. Walk round the area.  Envisage a possible route, locating potential checks, false trails and check-backs, so you have a good idea of the route before you start laying the trail.  Be careful not to lay a route that might cross the route when returning to the start!

 Set the run early Saturday morning, using shredded paper to mark the trail. Make sure you have enough shreddy to be able to provide enough marks. Generally trail marks should be at about every 10 to 20 metres.

 The actual run should take between 45 and 60 minutes. A good guide for determining the run duration is that if you walk the course while setting the run, it should take you about two hours to set it, which will result in a run of around 45 minutes.

 A good run should have at least four or five checks. Each check should have 1-3 false trails and the real trail. False trails should run for 100-300 meters and then an “X”.  Marks for both real and false trails at a check point should be neither too close together (trails found too quickly), nor too far apart (the poor buggers who run the false trails have too far to run to get back on trail). As a guide, from the check marks should start to be placed about 50 walking paces away.

 If the run is set properly, with enough opportunities for the slow-runners to short-cut, then the pack will stay together, which is the object of the exercise – this is a social event – not a race.If a run is set well, there is no reason why the front runners shouldn’t be able to run as much as they want without leaving the rest too far behind.

 A good way to keep everyone together is to introduce several “check-backs” in the run. This is achieved by putting an “X” on the trail. When Hashers see this mark, they should immediately turn back and search for where the trail picks up again. Hashers are back on trail when they find the first mark. If using this ploy, make sure that you put the check-back far enough up the trail to make sure the FRB’s (Front Running Bastards) have to run sufficient distance the wrong way to enable the slow-runners to catch up (around 200 meters, as a guide).

 Loops are also an excellent way to keep the pack together. These are achieved by laying the trail either around a hill or valley, so that the slow-runners catch sight of the front runners and can short-cut through to them, or laying the trail around a field, so that by the time the front runners are well around the field, the slow-runners can short-cut to catch up.  However, remember never to set a trail across a planted field or growing field of grain!

 If your trail runs along narrow paths, this will tend to spread the pack out. In this event, make up for it by having a fairly long “check back” immediately the trail opens out into a wider area, or even by making a check at that point.

 All the foregoing may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. Just remember – Hashing is supposed to be fun and it is fun!!   For more on Hashing check out the wikipedia site that some people with way too much time on their hands made!