Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers: In the Spotlight – Qatar

In the Spotlight – Qatar

In the Spotlight – Qatar

By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
3 Apr 2022

Qatar is a relatively small peninsula off Saudi Arabia, that extends into the Persian / Arabian Gulf in the Middle East.  Qatar is by far the richest country in the region, with a per capita GDP in excess of $100,000 US, which also ranks fourth worldwide.  Rich with natural history, Qatar has benefitted in recent years from a vast reserve of oil and natural gas.  Qatar is also home to the worldwide media network Al Jazeera.  The capital city of Doha (and surrounding areas) is completely under reconstruction at the moment, as it prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in Nov 2022.

The Hash House Harriers first arrived in Qatar in 1976, when Mike 'Dognahalf' Ogden founded the Qatar H3 in Doha.  When I was digging through my hash library, I came across the very
first hash trash for this club, and boldly across the top it was Doha Hash House Harriers, so that started me wondering if some sort of name change had occurred, because one of the other four hash clubs in Qatar is also named the Doha H3.  I tracked down Dognahalf to see what he had to say about it.  He immediately knew what I was talking about, so must have answered this question many times.  He simply stated that it has always been the Qatar H3, but "That was a long day, too many beers and it was the middle of summer."  So, there you have it, blaming the beer.  Dognahalf also mentioned that "Half the runners on no1 never came again [note: there were 5, two hares and three in the pack]. But fortunately, 3 who couldn't come on no1, came on no2."  The Qatar H3 is still active, and has completed nearly 2700 trails running weekly on Monday afternoons, one hour before sunset.  They held their 50th Run on 23 May 1977.

Mike started his hashing life in Hong Kong back in 1971.  Less than two years later, he was reassigned to Jakarta where he "helped John Brinsden found the Bandung Hash in August 1974, and was a cofounder of the Surabaya Hash in March 1975."  Next up, in June of 1975, Mike was off to Doha, Qatar with a promotion and assignment as the Manager of the Remittance Department for Eastern Bank.  It would take a full year for Mike to get things sorted with his new responsibilities, before he set about founding the Qatar H3.  During this first year, he filled what little spare time he had playing Rugby.  This is where he met John Frith, who along with Tony Westcott, they banded together to get the hash going.  When asked about his hash name, Mike said "I got named [Dognahalf] in Brunei running with the Kuala Belait Mixed Hash in 1988."

Doha is on the east coast of the country, but the next club to form was the Qatar West Coast H3, founded by David Stanley on 17 Jan 1981.  Like many hash clubs around the world, they have been a bit sporadic during COVID, but have had a few recent trails. 

It would be another 15 years before another club formed, again back in Doha, when Keith Boyle founded the Doha H3 on 6 Feb 1996.  They have completed nearly 1400 trails, and are still active on Wednesday evenings at 1900. 

The fourth and last hash to come about was the Doha Nightcrawlers, founded by Alan '
Baldrick 2 Dogs' Holden on 29 Jul 2010, and was assisted by Phil 'Queen of England' Davies.  When asked why they formed this new club, Baldrick stated "We were bemoaning the fact that those of us with real jobs couldn't make it Qatar H3 as it started too early."  The Nightcrawlers are still active, and can be found looking for trail on Thursday evenings at 7 pm, once a month near the full moon.  Baldrick also mentioned that "We picked Thursday night as it was the last working day of the week and meant we could party hard after the run. Our first 10 or so runs ended at sunrise on Friday.  We also set up an Intermoon in conjunction with Dubai's Moonshine H3." 

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Doha, just in time to hash with the Doha H3 and the Doha Nightcrawlers H3, during the week before Ramadan.  The post run activities were curtailed a bit (no music, etc) so some minor changes were made, but we still had a great time on both trails.  The Doha H3 on Wednesday was organized by local hash legend Dan 'Dildo Dan' Smith, if you mention hashing in Qatar to anyone around the region, the first response is . . . contact Dildo.  He entertained us with a trail around his neighborhood with the circle in his yard.  It was an interesting trail, that also circled around the new Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena.  We followed up trail with dinner at a local Sri Lankan restaurant. 

For the Thursday Nightcrawler's trail, Dildo offered me the opportunity to join him setting trail.  Not often do I get the chance to just be a mule and set falsies, so it was an easy effort.  An excellent plan was executed to make it up as we go, and we finished setting trail just in time to meet the pack of about 25 (but there was over 35 by the end of the evening).  After a few introductions and chalk talk, we then ran along with them as they scurried through the streets of central Doha.  Trail was about 5 kms of mostly pavement, mixed in with some alleyways, a parking garage, construction barriers, a small park or two, and the on home through a hole in the fence of a construction site.  It was too loud on the street at the finish, so we went straight up into the Red Lion Pub that serves a wide variety of international beers.  Throw in a burger or a plate of nachos, and the entire pack was happy.  The nightcrawlers have a tradition that anyone falling asleep will get the full moon treatment (traditions don't usually start unless something happens several times).  It was a great night with great hashers, and fun times in Qatar.  If you ever get the chance to visit Qatar, make sure to
join the hash.      

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



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