What is hashing?!



So just what is hashing??

Hashing is a version of running similar to the old fashioned paper chase (or hare and hounds), but with a bit more of a pub-theme thrown in!  Often called a drinking club with a running problem, hashing is more a team running experience, where no-one wins or loses and an enjoyable time can be had by all.  It was started in 1937/8 by a group of British expats at the Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur, where the Hash House was the local name for an annex of the club known for its monotonous menu.  The aims back then were very simple and still resonate with many of the members today:


•          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


The aim then, as now, was a convivial time with some running for those who wanted, in a non-competitive way.


The way it works.

A pre-arranged runner, the ‘hare’, will lay a trail of flour before a run starts and the rest of the group (the pack, or hounds) will follow the trail round back to the staring place.  At various stages, the hare will leave a circle of flour – a check – where the trail stops; the stronger runners will follow possible trails until the trail of flour is found again and the route is called back to the others.  This slowing of the pace means people the slower runners can catch up and all but the front checkers can rest for a moment or two before the trail goes on to the next check.


The distance is usually about 4 to 5 miles, lasting just over an hour, with the start and finish of the run normally being a pub for easy parking and for refreshments afterwards.



Hashers have their own vocabulary which is easy to learn on the day.  It may all sound a bit confusing on paper, but if you’ve never hashed before, come along, keep your head down and watch what everyone else is doing – it really is more simple as it sounds!



"Are You?"

Question shouted by the pack to front runners – normally at a check – meaning "Are you on the trail?"

Back check

Trail mark indicating that back tracking is necessary in order to find the true trail because the true trail branches off prior to the check mark


Trail mark indicating the true trail must be sought out from the false trails.


Answer shouted by front runners to pack when asked "Are You?", indicating that the front runner has not located the trail.


Hasher who lays the trail.

"On Call"

Shouted in response to "Are you" by a hashers to indicate that while they do not see any trail markings, they are following someone else's "On On" calls.

On Inn

Trail's end, also On-In; trail mark indicating proximity to end – the pub!

"On On"

Shouted by hashers (hounds) to indicate they are on true trail. Only shouted by a hasher to indicate they see true trail markings. See also "On Call"


If this all sounds like a load of rubbish, check out a more complete summary at Wikipedia.


First timer?  Want to know what you’ll be letting yourself in for?  Our simple FAQs should help!

WH3 grn