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Planning Retirement Online

Out of the box - Become a hasher

June 2011

This is our regular OUT OF THE BOX feature where we give suggestions on different things to try.

If you have tried something unusual or different, tell us all about it - and send in a photograph as well if you can – so that we can share your experiences with others.

Email: outofthebox@laterlife.com


 Become a hasher

hash harriersHave you ever thought of hashing? For most of us, when we make a hash of it, it means a complete mess up. But not so for HHH! Hash House Harriers have never become mainstream which is odd because it really is outstanding fun. It is a form of non-competitive cross-country running (not over the top style running) with a main end objective of joining other hashers in a pub.

In fact the whole activity seems geared towards doing something vaguely energetic to offset the guilt of spending a really enjoyable couple of hours having a drink and a bite to eat with some friends.

Sounds good? Even better, because the emphasis is on fun and enjoyment rather than heavy serious exercise, you can do it at any age. The key is to have the right mindset, not the right age group! One of their stated objectives is... to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel.

Hashing actually started in 1938 in Malaysia when a group of rubber plantation owners and manages started a modified paper chase to work up a thirst before ending up at the Selangor Club. The restaurant there was known locally as the Hash House and was taken on by the runners, or harriers, and the name stuck. It didn’t reach the UK until 1969 but has been going very strongly since.

Today it is still based on its origins, a non-competitive cross-country run in the form of hares and hounds. The hares set a trail and the rest of the runners, or pack, set off along the defined trail. Every 500 metres or so the trail will end and the people in the front have to start searching for the new trail which can be in any direction, along paths, streets, river banks and so on. This delay in the procedures gives the runners further back the chance to catch up with the people in the lead. Then off it all goes again.

There is added fun because sometimes the hares will add false tracks and this can set the leaders off on a totally false trail so the really slow coaches at the back of the pack overtake and become the leaders. No one really minds as it is not a competition at all, just a fun way to build up a thirst! Hash runs usually cover around four to seven miles and are designed to last about an hour to an hour and a half. You don’t have to be able to run the entire distance and you don’t have to be super fit at all, but you do need to be able to cover an outing of up to six or seven miles at one go. At good walking pace most people can cover four miles an hour, so it doesn’t have to be an over demanding activity.

Each group of Hashers is individually managed, there is no big central organisation, and there are over 1,700 groups, or chapters as they are usually known, right across the world.

The fun foundation of the activity is well illustrated by their description of themselves...”a drinking club with a running problem”!

It is very easy indeed to get started. Visit www.hhh.org.uk and you will be able to find the contact details of groups in your area.

 

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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

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