Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers

In the Spotlight – The Future of the Hash House Harriers

In the Spotlight – The Future of the Hash House Harriers
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
10 May 2021

The best way to understand the future of this eccentric pastime, is to know and understand some of the background.  If you have read the history of harrier clubs, you already know they are the human adaptation of the age-old method of hunting with dogs.  If you are not familiar with this, you can get a more detailed description at  This human act of mimicking canines started out as a children's game sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century in the United Kingdom.  One or two children acted as the hare, setting a trail with paper, and the other kids playing the part as the dogs on the hunt. 

Harrier clubs first became an adult activity in 1867 when the Thames Rowing Club took up running to stay fit in the offseason.  Harrier club popularity and growth followed the expansion of the British Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century, most notably into South East Asia.  Early clubs include the Kinta Harriers, Malacca Harriers, Kuala Lumpur Harriers, and Springgit Harriers.  Then, at some point in 1938, Alberto Esteban Ignacio Gispert, (a.k.a. "G") convinced a few friends to join him on a harrier run.  Recalling that there had already been a Kuala Lumpur Harrier club , G decided to call this new club the Hash House Harriers (HHH).  Many of the early members lived in the Selangor Club chambers, where they often ate at a small Chinese cafĂ© (referred to as the Hash House on the grounds of the Selangor Club.

The original Hash House Harriers club was disrupted for a few years during World War 2, but restarted in 1946.  While other harrier clubs continued to spread with the expat community, back in the United Kingdom they transitioned to more of a racing preparation atmosphere.  Fortunately, an anomaly occurred in 1962 in Singapore, that would begin the formation of Hash House Harrier clubs into a worldwide phenomenon. 

Although Ian Cumming is generally credited with founding the second hash club, Ian recollected things differently.  In a letter written 30 years hence, Ian suggested that "Shortly after our arrival in Singapore, in 1961, my wife and I became aware of the eerie dearth of activity following weekends, and although she has denied it vehemently ever since, Jane was the first to suggest that what was lacking was the Hash."  Excited to get back into hashing, Ian set about to organizing a new club.  First thing he did was contact John Vincent, who was the current Honorary Secretary (HonSec) of the HHH back in KL (a.k.a. Mother Hash), to enquire if there was some sort of process of coordinating affiliation.  According to Ian, the response he received "established the incredibly enlightened tone of International Hashing that has endured."   The response was along the lines of "I donno.  Do what the hell you like.  Nothing to do with us.  Let us know how you get on."  With that short exchange, the second club (a.k.a. Hash House Harriers Singapore, or "Father Hash" as it eventually became known as) was born. 

HHH Singapore had a slow start, but gained a steady following.  Other current and former hashers from KL and Singapore continued to migrate to other locations, and more Hash Clubs would form.  By the end of 1963, there were clubs in Brunei, Kuching, and Miri.  Sibu and Kota Kinabalu would see new clubs in 1964, and in 1965, Penang, Ipoh, and Sandakan rounded out the first ten hash clubs  Early records indicate that by the end of 1975, there were 68 clubs in 23 countries  Coincidently, at this point in history, the running craze was taking over throughout the world, after Frank Shorter won the marathon in the 1972 Olympics, and Jim Fixx published "A Complete Book of Running."

Hash House Harrier clubs would continue to flourish throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, when we reached what I believe was the heyday of hashing.  At that time, various accounts stated there were over 2000 hash clubs.  A detailed review, or even a cursory scanning of the HHH Genealogy clearly shows that the greatest expansion of clubs, was during this period, but began to taper off in the late 90s.  This, along with the fading of the running craze, can likely be attributed to the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) (a.k.a. the Internet). 

Surprisingly, up until this point, growth of hashing was mostly by word of mouth, and we relied on printed paper copies of directories, or other rudimentary means of finding hash clubs (e.g. listings in phone books, or calling one of the local embassies).  I recall using a printed copy of a directory published by Mr. Spock in San Diego, to find a dozen or so clubs on a cross country US tour in 1993.  Even as late as 1999, in South Korea, we were still publishing paper copies of the hash trash to drop off at local hotels and expat hangouts to provide the weekly start locations to members.  In more recent times, the Internet has made it significantly easier to find hash clubs all over the world, but has also contributed to our demise, in that it is also much easier to find a multitude of other activities to participate in. 

I probably should insert one of those "trigger warnings" here, I am a 'boomer' and what I have to say from here on out may be controversial.  Now, having said all that . . . the original intent of this article was about the future of hashing, and I will start by saying that the hash world is in decline, and has been for about 20 years.  I have had several discussions about this over the decade or so, with my older hash friends (no pun intended).  As mentioned, the Internet has contributed to the decline of hashing, as you would expect, so too has the aging of the multitude of hashers.  Coming up on 40 years of hashing myself, those of us who were enthusiastic runners back in the 70s and 80s, are now pushing 60, and on up into their 80s (insert a mental image of the self-acclaimed oldest hasher in the USA, Teflon Don, Mr. Jackson himself . . . The Chaplain 😊 ).  He is a stalwart hasher of more than 40 years, and still on trail.

While some are still able to move at a pace resembling jogging, most of the older hounds are relegated to walking or biking, and prefer shorter trails.  We are fortunate to have these older hashers around to tell us their stories.  On the other hand, people also leave hashing for many different reasons based on health issues, as they would any sporting activity.  New and younger hashers continue to join in on this fun, but growth of hashing is in decline and we probably don't recruit very well.  This also has a direct correlation on the decline in number of hash clubs.

Determining the exact number of active hash clubs is tenuous at best, but from my recent inspection and ongoing update of the HHH Genealogy, I estimate that the number of clubs worldwide has dropped from what was once recorded at over 2000, is now below or right about 1000 active clubs (I will have a more accurate number in about a month when finished with the updates).  Additionally, the number of hounds that were once 50-100 or more on trail on a weekly basis, now number 20 or less, and that was even before COVID shut a great deal of hashing down worldwide.  There is at least one bright spot though, Taiwan has added several new clubs over the past decade, and the packs are large and vibrant. 

As for the decline, the area that most concerns me is the significant increase in the amount of drinking before and during the trail.  From what I have witnessed, in some places, drinking has become the focus . . . rather than getting out for the pure joy of running/walking trail.  The first beer "on trail" I ever recall seeing, was when my friend Bimbo hared a trail in Waikiki back in 1992.  Setting the trail into the back door of one of the many strip clubs in Honolulu, he arranged for a couple pitchers of beer to be on hand for the pack as they passed through.  Probably so they would have a reason to stand around observing the environment, on their way to the front door.  Certainly a novelty for its time.  There certainly has been beer provided at some level for many years, but not at the current level I see.  It would not be until about the mid to late 2000s that multiple beer checks started to become regular occurrences on weekly trails in the places I hashed (your experience may differ). 

Beer checks and other gimmicks have also become crutches for hares to slow down the pack (e.g. fish hooks, hash holds, clothing swaps, back checks, and various other annoyances).  When I express my concern to newer hounds, they believe that is the way it has always been, simply because of that unfortunate moniker of 'A Drinking Club with a Running Problem.'  That is not the case, from my experience reaching back to 1984.  I do not even recall seeing walker's trails (or turkey / eagle splits) until sometime in the late 1990s.  There was only a running trail, and everybody (mostly jogged) ran the trail.  Walkers of all ages now seem to dominate in many hash clubs.  Another area we could certainly do better in, is the naming process.  I cannot count the number of perspective hashers that were excited, only to never come back once named.

Overall, our numbers are dwindling, at least in part, due to the overemphasis on drinking and our own form of hazing.  Some runners are turned off, or gravitate away from hashing, choosing other type clubs to run with, and that is disappointing.  I would like to see, in general, more emphasis on the trail and kinship with fellow hashers, and leave the alcohol for after trail.  One area of the world that still focuses on the trail is South East Asia.  Recently visiting hash clubs in several different countries in that region, hashing was still all about the trail, with almost everyone participating, and the consumption of alcohol predominantly after the trail.  It may be just my opinion, but that is what hashing started out to be (not in a competitive sense), and needs to get back to if hashing hopes to prosper again.

Keep in mind the objectives written back in 1950:

    (a) to promote physical fitness amongst its members
    (b) to get rid of weekend hangovers
    (c) to acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it with beer
    (d) to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel     

Fitness, recovery, first developing a thirst through participating in trail, and comradeship.  Food for thought, yes?  I would be interested to hear your opinion on this matter.  Feel free to disagree, or if you agree let's work together to shift the focus back to a more trail centric atmosphere. 

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

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World Hash Events: June 2021

Hello hashers,

We have a few events coming up in June, mostly in the USA, but there is also
NOMAD down in New Zealand.  See the rest of the list below . . . Looking
ahead to the rest of the year, PanAfrica is still on for July in Uganda,
EuroHash is still a go for August in the Czech Republic, but I have heard
rumors about Mekong IndoChina (November in Myanmar) . . . but since I have
not been able to confirm this information, I will not elaborate.  I'm still
hoping to attend all three, so let's see what happens.  Many locations have
been able to restart hashing, after long months of waiting, but some are
going back into a holding pattern. 

Bali Hash House Harriers just announced their upcoming 44th Anniversary,
scheduled for 17 May.  They added that "We will have our Annual General
Meeting and the election of our new Hash Master.
There will also be 4 different runs and off course food and drinks. We also
made a T-shirt."

Here is to all hashers worldwide being happy and healthy, and hope to see
you on trail soon.


If you have seen it yet, there has been a lot more hashing history
published.  To read more, check out the following:

A History of the Hash House Harriers, a brilliant monthly digital magazine
produced by Shakesprick:

The On On Podcast, that you can hear some notable hashers tell their tales.
Recorded and edited by Ra:

And . . . don't forget this ragged old list of hash stuff:


One bit of sad news to pass, just in from Bush Basher . . . if you remember
back in the early 2000s, when printed Hash Directories were still provided
in your INTERHASH goodie bags . . . hashing stalwart, and good friend, Dave
"Dumb Dick Head Dave" (a.k.a D2HD) Newman, passed away on Thursday.  Dave
was a long time hasher in the ACT of Australia, and often traveled around
Asia for hashing events.  He also was the driving force to gather all the
details from the Regional Webmasters for the printed hash club directories.
RIP old chum.


Speaking of hash contacts and directories . . . the update of the HHH
Genealogy project continues.  Thailand, Canada, and United Kingdom have
recently been completed, along with a few others.

Wherever you hash, if you want to update your clubs history and contact info
(both current clubs, and those no longer running) . . . take a look at and send me your
updates directly to (GoToTheHash (at) gmail (dot)
com).  Specifically looking for, if available: date of first trail, city the
club normally runs in, founders name, where the founder had hashed before
founding the new club, URL of the website, and the logo. 


While working on my PhhhD, and dabbling around in my research, I found
myself chatting with Phillip Gill.  Now at the spry age of 90, Phil first
started hashing with Mother Hash in 1970 while assigned in Kuala Lumpur with
the US State Department, where he met and became good friends with Bill
Panton.  Phil states that at that time, John Duncan was the HonSec and
leading the charge.  After enjoying many hash trails in KL, Phil was
reassigned back to Washington, DC, just in time to join Bill Panton as he
founded the DC Men's H3, and participate on their first trail on 23 May
1972.  After 3 years back in DC, Phil went to Paraguay for a couple years,
but no hashing, and then to Burma for a couple years (more on that later).
Next, it was Surabaya, Indonesia from 79-81, where he mentioned making a few
trips to Bali to hash, "before it was overrun with tourists."  He spent his
final three years back in Washington, DC, before retiring in 1985 to Grass
Valley, California.  He said he gave up hashing . . . "After my knee gave
out, I took up mountain biking (for which this area is paradise)."  In the
course of our discussion, I asked Phil if he had a hash name, and he
responded with "I don't know what a hash name is, so I guess I didn't have

Now, back to where this story began, research on hashing . . . Phil arrived
in Burma in 1978, and after a few months of getting settled, he looked
around and thought Rangoon would be a great place to run a few hashes.  So,
at some point in 1978, no one knows for sure (much like Mother Hash), the
Rangoon H3 was born.  As Phil explained it . . . "The Rangoon Hash had three
runs in 1978. The third run was interrupted by a military force saying that
we were in a cantonment area (news to us). Burmese and non-diplomatic
runners fled in various directions. The U.S. Defence Attaché was called on
the carpet and that was the last run. We made no attempt to restart it."
Hashing would not take long to resurface in Burma, as Andrew Engel and Geoff
Percival teamed up to form the second coming of the Rangoon H3 on 23 Jun
1980.  Only a name changes has occurred since, from Rangoon to the Yangon
H3, but the hash has continued with only a couple minor disturbances ever
since.   Raise your glass and cheer for Phil, the founder of the first hash
in Burma!

The future of hashing in Myanmar is in question due to the current political
climate, as the Yangon H3 is debating how to best host the upcoming Mekong
IndoChina H3 scheduled to take place in Yangon in November 2021.


The "In the Spotlight" series started with my trip to Yangon, back in 2013.
Now stacked with more than 50 topics, it covers a wide variety of interests
. . . but also has room for updates as I get them.  Based on my discussion
with Phil above, here is what the story of Burma now looks like:

In the Spotlight - Myanmar (Burma)
1 Jul 2013
Updated: 14 Apr 2021

Up until a few years ago, Myanmar was exceeded only by North Korea in
reclusiveness. A shift in consciousness in 2011 by the ruling junta, has
allowed Yangon to become a bevy of activity with businessmen and tourists
now being commonly seen (although things are looking a little tense at the
moment). Back in 2013, I had the pleasure of journeying over to Myanmar, to
visit the Yangon Hash for their 33rd Anniversary Weekend. Originally founded
as the Rangoon H3 in the largest city (at that time it was the capitol) of
Rangoon, the club adjusted when the ruling junta changed the name of the
city and the country to Yangon, Myanmar in 1989. While there were a couple
gaps of 6 months and 18 months where there were no runs, the YH3 has run
weekly since January 1992 and now totals well over 1700 hash runs in their
41 year history.

Hashing actually first arrived in Burma in 1978, when Philip Gill of the US
State Department arrived. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Phil
(now 90 years old in 2021), and get some of the details.  He explained that
after a few months of getting settled, he looked around and thought Rangoon
would be a great place to run a few hashes. So, at some point in 1978, no
one knows for sure (much like Mother Hash), the Rangoon H3 was born. As Phil
explained it . . . "The Rangoon Hash had three runs in 1978. The third run
was interrupted by a military force saying that we were in a cantonment area
(news to us). Burmese and non-diplomatic runners fled in various directions.
The U.S. Defence Attaché was called on the carpet and that was the last run.
We made no attempt to restart it."

Hashing would not take long to resurface in Burma, as Andrew Engel and Geoff
Percival teamed up to form the second coming of the Rangoon H3 on 23 Jun
1980.  Only a name changes has occurred since, from Rangoon to the Yangon
H3, but the hash has continued with only a couple minor disturbances ever
since. Andrew Engel is credited as the founder, but it is believed Geoff
Percival may actually have been the spark to get the Rangoon H3 off on its
way back in 1980. Despite the uncertainty of the founding details, there is
one person who has really kept the Yangon H3 on schedule and consistently
hashing since the mid-1990s. Bob "BoBo" Thomas is a hash icon in Myanmar and
throughout SE Asia. He took the lead on hosting the regional Mekong
Indochina Hash events in 2003 and 2009, and often turns up in Bangkok, as
well as a wide array of hashing events throughout the region.  BoBo has
recently returned to Mother England, but I'm sure we'll see him pop up on
the Far East as COVID concerns minimize. 

Among the many hash supporters in Yangon, Fenton "Don't Call Me Shirley"
Holland has also been a regular on the YH3 for nearly two decades.  The 33rd
Anniversary weekend celebration consisted of a welcome dinner on Friday
evening, a 14 Km Saturday main event trail, and a Sunday running of the
Yangon Full Moon H3, which was founded by Michel "Ibo Ibo" Desloover in
January 1998.  Another hash club has since formed in September 2018, in the
new capitol city.  The Nay Pyi Taw H3 runs every other Sunday starting from
Park Royal Hotel.

Aside from the hash, Yangon boasts one of the oldest structures in SE Asia.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is believed to be over 2500 years old, and can be
easily accessed from anywhere in the city. If you are looking for a weekend
getaway in SE Asia, definitely consider Myanmar (although you may want to
wait a few more months to allow things to settle down).


From the Way Back Machine, hash happenings this month . . .





Upcoming hash events for the month of June 2021 are listed below.  See the
website for more details:

Jun 4-6
NC/SC Hashers Without Borders
Hosted by the Cape Fear H3 in Myrtle Beach, SC, USA.

Jun 4-6
Billy Bowlegs
Hosted by the Emerald Coast H3 in Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA.

Jun 5-7
Hosted out there in Titiokura, New Zealand.

Jun 5-7
700th Trail and 25th Anniversary
Hosted by the Omaha H3 in Elkhorn, NE, USA.

Jun 18-20
Southern Exposure
Hosted by the Vulcan H3 in Cleveland, AL, USA.

Jun 24-27
Great Alaska Interhash
Hosted by the Anchorage H3 in Anchorage, AK, USA.

Jun 25-27
Hosted by the Seniors H3 in Kansas City, MO, USA.

See the whole two year calendar of events at         

If you know of an upcoming event not posted to the calendar, please send me
the info. 


Hashing is fun!  See you on trail someday . . . :O)

Keeper of the old rusty pail, and Chief of the Royal Order of the Smelly
Shoe!  (Since 1998)     


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On on!

Fwd: In the Spotlight – Colombia

In the Spotlight – Colombia
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
30 March 2021

Colombian history can be traced back nearly 15 thousand years, and is naturally and culturally diverse due to being the migration point between North and South America.  Annexed by Spain in the early 16th century, it was declared the "New Kingdom of Granada."  Over the ensuing centuries Colombia has had many other names, including the United States of Colombia.  However, since 1886 it draws its current name, "The Republic of Colombia," from early Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.  Geographically, Colombia has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, and is bordered by the 5 countries of Ecuador and Peru to the south, Brazil and Venezuela to the east, and Costa Rica to the north up until 1906, when Panama gained its independence. 

Now, you may wonder when hashing first found its way to Colombia, well that is a good question.  The hash genealogy had scant information on this, listing only that there was a Bogota H3, founded on 31 Jan 1993.  No founder, no origin, and no descendants.  After a bit (quite a bit, but always looking for more details) of research, I was able to track down some old-time hashers and confirmed that the first Bogota H3 lasted only a couple years in the early 1990s, and that the Britannia Inn was a common hangout.  The second iteration of the Bogota H3 was founded in January 1998 by Simon 'Delhi Boy' Batty, who had hashed his way around Egypt and the United Kingdom, before arriving in Colombia.  This hash also only lasted a couple years, holding about 20 hash runs, before fading away around the time that Delhi Boy moved on to Greece in 2000. 

The third, and current iteration of the Bogota H3 was founded by Crystle-Day 'CD' Villanueva on 6 July 2019, having arrived in Colombia from the Xian H3 in China.  The pack is very young, but enthusiastic, led by CD who makes everyone feel at home.  On my recent visit to Bogota, I was fortunate to be able to join them on an out-station weekend event at Cerro de QuininĂ­ (which is a national park, with a massive outcropping of plate tectonic rock, pushed upwards to form an amazing ledge overlooking Porto Bello).  We had two excellent trails, and enjoyed Colombian BBQ and played a couple hours of Tejo, the traditional throwing sport of Colombia.  Tejo is similar to Cornhole, but you throw shaped stones at a board of clay.  There is a metal circle in the middle, lined with small explosive charges.  Closest to the center scores the points, hitting the charges can also score points. 

To the north, I also discovered that the first iteration of Medellin H3 was founded on 8 August 2005, by Andres 'Dazed and Confused' Vargas, who had returned home after a stint with the Ankara H3 in Turkey.  This first Medellin H3 club had a short tenure of less than a year, when DnC moved on to China.  Hashing would not return to Medellin again until 19 January 2019, when current founder 'Pablo Pisscobar' moved in from Bogota.  Pablo was introduced to hashing in San Diego, California, and hashed his way around the United States before returning to his home in Colombia to rejuvenate the club in Medellin, after a short stay in Bogota.  He was assisted by ABBAA (Another Blonde Bearded Arain Asshole), and currently run trails monthly on Saturday afternoons.  Additionally, history is also about to be made in Colombia, as the Medellin H3 will host the InterAmericas' Hash in September 2022.  This will be first time this (or any major regional hash event) will be held in South America.

I recently had the pleasure to hash in Medellin as well.  The Medellin H3 trail was on the Saturday after St Patrick's day, so was themed as a Green Dress Run.  It was a warm sunny day in the city, and we had an excellent pack of 12 hashers (5 of them were virgins).  The scheduled hare had to drop out at the last minute, but Pablo Pisscobar stepped up to set an excellent 8 Km trail through the city.  Trail made its way through several parks and neighborhoods, with plenty of elevation, which is common in Colombia.  Trail was followed a lively circle, including welcoming 5 virgins, and one interesting naming.  This hash is working hard to grow its numbers and spread the hashing culture here in Colombia. 

If you are looking for a fun and interesting city to visit and hash in, put both Bogota and Medellin on your list . . . and don't forget about InterAmericas' Hash next year.  Pablo is bringing lots of new life into the hashing effort in Medellin, with several young and virgin hashers.  They should be old salts by the time IAH rolls around next year.  By the way, I am collecting names for volunteers who want to assist with packing and handing out goodie bags, haring, and various other requirements to put on IAH next year, all are welcome to help, Spanish speakers preferred.

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

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On on!

The Phnom Penh Hash remains closed


While the current local COVID-19 outbreak continues, the Hash will be closed until further notice.

On on!