Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers: Fwd: In the Spotlight – Bahrain

Fwd: In the Spotlight – Bahrain

In the Spotlight – Bahrain
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
21 Mar 2020

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of over 30 small islands located in the Persian Gulf, and has its capital in Manama, on the main island of Bahrain.   Bahrain was the first place oil was discovered in the region, but due to its size, it appears it will also be the first to deplete its resources.  Forward thinking, the government has diversified into tourism, and becoming a hub of the financial sector.  Bahrain is also the home of several hash clubs, with the Bahrain H3 first invading on 7 Dec 1972.  Founded by Geoff Whitehead, formerly with the Singapore H3, the Bahrain H3 has spawned over a dozen other hash clubs in the region, as well as in Asia and Europe.  A common theme in several locations, the first spawn comes with a bit of drama. 

The next hash to form was the Bahrain Black H3 (a.k.a. the Bland Hash), and has its roots sprouting from the early days of the Bahrain Hash, and a hasher named Norman Moore.  Norman, being a purest in the traditions of the original hash back in Kuala Lumpur, was frustrated with the path the Bahrain hash was taking, basically getting too soft.  Thus, he created the legend of the Black Hash, as it was whispered about in jest during the weekly hash runs.  Intrigued by this sentiment, Ted "Tumbling Ted" Lutley added to the lore, with more outlandish rumors of the Black Hash.  He eventually teamed up with a former GM, Bob Tait, to set more difficult trails. 

On the occasion of Bahrain H3 Trail #613 that was to be run on 23 Jul 1984, while drafting the instructions for the start location, the hares (Lutley & Tate) agreed to call it the Black Hash.  Commemorative T-shirts were produced to mark the event, and soon after became coveted hash attire.  Based on the success of that first event, the pair teamed up to conduct Black Hash runs every few months, with the fifth and final one being set on 10 Mar 1986.  Intermixed with these events over the years, there was much grumbling about Bahrain needing a second hash club, but nothing really became of it, until . . .       

The Bahrain Black H3 (or simply, "the Black Hash," was officially founded by Gordon "Black Head" Clarke on 5 May 1986, assisted by Ted "Tumbling Ted" Lutley, Dorelle "Cloth-Head" Clarke, Arshed "Cowshed" Mubarak, and probably a few others.  As Tumbling Ted explained it, the founding of a second hash initially created quite a stir, so much so that at first, the Bahrain hashers stated the term Black Hash belonged to them.  In a conciliatory fashion, and to try to keep support from other hashers, they temporarily called it "the alternate hash."  Unfortunately, the unfriendly rift persisted for several years, with many hashers taking sides and only running with their chosen club.  The rift has faded over the ensuing decades, with time, and the departure of some of the original protagonists, and today the rift is only jokingly referred to. 

More recently, the Bahrain Independent Trail Chasers Hash House Harriers (BITCH3) was established on 6 Apr 2018.  As indicated on their website, a consortium of hashers (One Rung Pussy Driver, Dick On The Table (D.O.T.T), Rapid Cherokee Choker, Scouts Anal, and Head With My Mom) created this bi-weekly hash on Friday, to allow for maximum participation.  The website details the 32 rules, or rather guiding principles, that the hash club adheres to.  Lordy lordy, yes . . . rules.

I recently arrived in Bahrain for the 20th running of the regional INTERGULF event.  Originally established in Qatar, the first four occurrences were held there between 1979 and 1995.  Bahrain hosted the first INTERGULF outside Qatar in 1996, and then again in 1998, 2002, 2015, and now again in 2020.  This current event has been planned for over the past year, and the website boasted of nearly 60 hashers on the "Who's Cumming" list with less than two weeks to go before the event.  Then, on 11 Mar, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 virus a pandemic.  The world began folding up their lawn furniture, rolling up the sidewalks, and continued on with lock downs, cancelled flights, and an ever-increasing list of restrictions. 

In the end, all but one international visitor decided, or were forced, to drop out.  As you may deduce, I was the only hasher to successfully arrive in Bahrain, only due to my scheduled trip to Jordan being cancelled.  Heading directly from Cairo, I arrived a few days earlier than planned, and was on the first plane to arrive since Bahrain elevated simple temperature screening to full blown nasal swabs virus testing and quarantining (which actually occurred while we were flying), until results were accessed.  After a 10 hour wait in a makeshift medical facility on a back lot of the airport, the entire plane of 50 passengers all test negative for the virus, and were subsequently released into the kingdom.

There was concern that INTERGULF would need to be cancelled due to ever increasing restrictions, and the Thursday evening pub crawl was in fact cancelled (since all the bars were ordered to be closed).  Undaunted, the hash must go on and 11 hearty hashers turned up for the main event trail out in the desert.  The runners' trail consisted of one hare and two hounds, and we took off into the hills for what turned out to be an excellent 11+ Km trail of rolling hills, oil pipe lines, and sand.  The walkers had one hare and seven walkers, that set out to beat the runners back into the finish. The walkers achieved their goal finishing in under an hour, as the runners popped up over the final dune about 20 minutes later, just as dark was settling over the site. Keeping our social distance, we conducted a circle and even managed to name one hasher . . . SLITHER.  This may be the smallest regional international hash event in history.  Great day of minimum 2 meters distance between hashers in the era of COVID-19.   

For many more articles like this on the history of hashing, check out . . .
On on!