So what the heck exactly is hashing and how did it come about? Well, it’s a mixture of athleticism and sociability, hedonism and hard work, a refreshing escape from the nine-to-five dweebs you’re stuck with five days a week. Hashing is an exhilaratingly fun combination of running, orienteering, and partying, where bands of Harriers and Harriettes chase hares on eight-to-ten kilometre-long trails through town, country, and desert, all in search of exercise, camaraderie, and good times.
Hashing began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of British colonial officials and expatriates founded a running club called the Hash House Harriers. They named the group after their meeting place, the Selangor Club, nicknamed the “Hash House.” Hash House Harrier runs were patterned after the traditional British paper chase. A “hare” was given a head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, all the while pursued by a shouting pack of “harriers.” Only the hare knew where he was going, the harriers followed his clues to stay on the trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and solving the clues, reaching the end was its own reward, for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of iced-down beer.
Hashing died out during World War II (Japanese occupying forces being notoriously anti-fun) but picked up in the post-war years, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand and then exploding in popularity in the mid-70s. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, with newsletters, directories, and even regional and world hashing conventions.
Hashing hasn’t strayed far from its Kuala Lumpur roots. A typical hash today is a loosely organized group of 20-40 men and women who meet weekly or biweekly to chase the hare. We follow chalk, flour, or paper, and the trails are never boring, we run streets and back alleyways, but we also ford streams, climb fences, explore storm drains, and scale cliffs. Although some of today’s health-conscious hashers may shun cold beer in favour of water or diet sodas, trail’s end is still a celebration and a party.
So, you may ask, how did this mad tradition kick off in Sri Lanka? Hashing started here in 1980 in Colombo and was originally run on Mondays. In those early days, that is the first 5 years, there were two women joining the very first runs on the Colombo Hash House Harriers. They were “Handwarmer” a German and “Iron Lady” from Austria.
“Hey”, you may ask, “What’s with all the talk about Monday Hash? I want to know about the mixed Hash!”
Well, Handwarmer broke her knee and could not run. Knockers , the wife of Wenzler, a regular hasher at the time, wanted to run with the men. So she enticed Talking Bear (a bachelor back then), who announced this idea at the Hash AGM.
“Hey, you bastards! There has always been two unmentionables running with us and now that Handwarmer cannot run why not get another? Knockers, the wife of Rainer Wenzler wishes to run with us. Any objections, you shits?”
Of course, no one argued. Talking Bear was a big bastard with a lousy temper and more importantly, Kockers was well stacked, especially in areas Spidey liked. So, Kockers joined the Monday “men only” Hash.
This went on for about two weeks, but when she started bringing more and more female guests, the male hashers decided “Enough, piss off, you twats!.”
However, these women really loved hashing. Therefore, the boys and girls got together and formed another Hash kennel in Colombo that would run on Wednesdays (thereafter shifted to Saturdays) and welcome Hashers of all genders.
Thus, the Colombo Hash House Harriettes was born on the 20th June 1985!
Enough of the history lesson!!!