What is hashing?

A hash is based upon the 19th century British tradition of the “Paper Chase” (also known as the English schoolboy game of “Hare and Hounds”). In a Paper Chase, the runners, known as “hounds”, would gather at a local pub, down a few ales and shred paper. After a sufficient amount of ale had been “downed”, and enough paper torn, one of the group, known as a “hare”, would set out and lay a trail using the shredded paper to mark the way. The hounds would continue drinking. After a reasonable time, the hounds would set out in pursuit of the hare, following the trail of paper.

Instead of paper,  flour is used to mark the trail, which, unlike most jogging paths, can go anywhere. Fair game for trails include streams, fields, wire fences, lakes, estuaries, (and in the city, laundromats, stores, hotels, airports, malls), and other manmade or natural obstacles. (Note: Always bring along a “dry bag” with a change of shoes and some sort of dry clothes. There will be times that you’re going to get wet.)


The Hare, marking the trail with a splash of flour every few yards, does his/her best to confuse the hounds by laying false trails (adequately terminated after some distance) and checks (where the trail stops and may continue in any direction within 100 yards). The checks and false trails layed by the hares tend to keep the front runners from getting too far ahead of the pack. If the trail is well marked, all the hashers finish the trail pretty much as a unit.

While on the trail, hashers call out “On-On”, or blow two short blasts on their whistle to signify that they are “On” [the trail].

While on a run, if you see a hasher and want to know if he/she is “On”[the trail], you yell, “Are You?” The reply to this is either “On-On” (meaning, “I think I’m on the trail. Follow at your own risk.”), “Checking” (“I found a check and I’m looking for the trail. Follow at your own risk.”), “Shortcutting” (“I know the trail goes in another direction, but I think I know a better way. Follow at your own risk.”), or “Off”, “No”, or “Looking” (meaning, “I don’t know where I am. Follow me and neither will you.”).

The most important aspect of a Hash run, is the On-In. It’s the prize at the end of the run where drink and food are found.  It can be held outside or inside at a pub, dive, or saloon. It’s at the On-In that the Hash can really get down to serious socializing. There are more Hash songs than I can (or have the ability to) name. An On-In is no place for anyone who is even mildly offended by verbal gibes, innuendo, or double entendre (remember, it’s all in fun).

Lastly, there are Hash names. Usually these have something to do with a persons “other life”, hobbies, personality, or stupid hash tricks. Try explaining: Burnt Lips, Hasn’t Come, O, Spanky, Thorny Ass, Mule, Muffy, Woodpecker, Burnt Weenie, Weenie Roast, Moonshine, Nibbles & Snacks, Dry Ride, Snow Job, Toad Suck, Slick Cheeks, Arsephalt, Duhhh, Pussy Whipped, Robo Dick, Where’s the Beer, Stink Finger, Wet Spots, Swamp Sucker, Boo Boo, Minnie Mounter, Buckwheat, Fashion Flash, Thuds, Killer, Amazon, Buttafuco, DeFloured, Mouthful, Ramming Speed, Dripping Wet, Floor Show, Boulder Balls, etc, to your grandmother.

This passage was stolen from the Oregon Hash House Harriers.


A drinking club with a running problem

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