Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers

In the Spotlight – Setting the Record Straight

In the Spotlight – Setting the Record Straight
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
25 June 2021

Over the years, I have seen many historical references made about the founding and early days of the Hash House Harriers. John Duncan, Mike Lyons, and a few others drafted up accounts that circulated widely in the 1970s and 80s, and unfortunately still do right up to the present day. They were best effort assumptions made on the limited amount of information that these early historians had on hand. Fear not, even Mother Hash still gets it wrong on some facts.

In the 1980s, Tim 'Magic' Hughes undertook a massive effort of researching, and discovered better and more detailed information. Magic published the quintessential book on hashing titled "On-On!" 1938-1988, A Golden Jubilee. This book dispelled many of the earlier accounts that had been circulating. Continuing to update and research, he was the chief authority on the early history of the HHH up until his untimely passing in 1998.

Likewise, William 'Tumbling Bill' Panton collected and cataloged the existence of hash clubs all over the world for about 40 years, beginning in the 1970s. Assisted by a few tech savvy hashers, the whole listing of clubs has been placed online as the HHH Genealogy Project.

Other hash historians produced very informative publications, including ZiPpY, Flying Booger, and Amnesia, that continued to refine the information and publish it for the benefit of hashers worldwide. Shakesprick originally set up and maintained a website called Hashapedia, but is now repackaging all that collected history, and more, and publishes an excellent On On – A History Magazine of the Hash House Harriers. This magazine is dedicated to showcasing various accounts of history of club's actions in more recent times, primarily over the past 50 years, when hashing began to seriously spread out to each continent.

I have been reading all of these historical accounts over the past 4 decades, and have always been intrigued by the details. After retiring from the military, I started to get more serious about digging into all the documents I could find, and have spent the past decade reading, researching, and writing about the origins, as well as other details of hashing around the world. So, without further ado, I would like to dispel many of the false accounts of HHH history.

1. Gispert, and the other founders were British military officers posted to Kuala Lumpur. Another version is they were officer living in military barracks. – FALSE: Actually, they were British expats, working in Kuala Lumpur at the time. The only one that specifically had any military affiliation was Gispert, both he and 'Torch' Bennet worked together for Evatt & Co as accountants. Many of the founders did live in the club chambers, that were part of the Royal Selangor Club, but these were not military barracks. Gispert participated in weekly Monday evening drills as an officer in the Selangor Battalion of the Federated Malay States, but this was only a unit for volunteers.

2. Gispert was an Australian. – FALSE: This mistake was derived from the report that Gispert returned to KL from Australia when the Japanese invaded the Malay peninsula in
1941. While all of that is true, the fact is, Gispert was only on leave with his wife and his 4-year-old son, Simon. They lived at 28 Circular Road, after his wife and son moved to KL. Wife and sone had recently joined him from their home back in the UK. Prior to that, he lived in the Selangor Club Chambers. Evatt & Co paid a small stipend for family members, but his wife and son were unable to join him in KL due to company policy, restricting family members until the employee had worked abroad for at least 10 years. Gispert reach the 10-year mark sometime around 1940/41.

3. The Hash House Harriers, founded in 1938, was a totally new concept. – FALSE: There were actually several Harriers clubs in SE Asia in the 1920s and 30s, with reports of similar type paperchase and party reported. 'Horse' Bennett claimed that hash type activity had occurred with the Springgit, Malacca, and Johor Bahru Harrier clubs, as far back as 1932. There was even a Kuala Lumpur Harriers club that was popular in the 1920s and early 30s, and likely did as well.

4. The Bordighera H3, in Italy, was the second ever HHH club. – FALSE: This hoax persisted for over 20 years, before a series of events occurred, that brought its downfall. Reported as being founded in 1947, by former war prisoners that had served in SE Asia, and hashed before the war, the Bordighera H3 ran in the Italian Riviera for over a decade. Amnesia's very detailed analysis determined that none of the individuals mentioned ever existed, confirming this to be a major hash hoax perpetrated as a gag by Robert "Bwana" Walker. Bwana never admitted it, or refuted Amnesia's research, but has now unfortunately passed on. So, his secret has passed on with him.

5. Hong Kong hasher Phil Kirkland coined the term: "If you've half a mind to join the hash, that's all you'll need" in 1978. – FALSE: I have to admit, that even Magic got this one wrong. In his Golden Jubilee book, he cited an article in the Los Angeles Times, which obviously also got it wrong. I recalled Flying Booger mentioning something about this, so looked up his article, which refuted, but did not clear up the mystery. And neither will I, but what I do know is . . . While reviewing a stack of old hash books, I found that very statement on page 2 of the Melbourne H3 100th Run Magazine. That hash took place on 24 March 1974. There is no specific attribution, but is thrown out as if it were a common statement of the day. Now, if it was Phil Kirkland who was throwing that statement around in the early 1970s, it may have some credence, but as of this moment, the phrase will remain unattributed.

6. Monday is the traditional hash day. – FALSE: Originally, the hash met on Friday nights, as Gispert participated with the Federated Malay States Volunteers on Monday evenings. This may rub some the wrong way, but I am going make the statement that Mother Hash really ended in Dec 1941. Several accounts state that hashing resumed in 1946, founded by some of the earlier participants, primarily 'Torch' Bennett got things going again. Torch put in a claim for the lost hash mugs, a tin bath and two old bags and received a small sum. Run No. 1 was a trot around the race-course in August, 1946. It was not until after the rebirth club reached 1000 runs, on 12 March 1966, when they collectively decided to add the initial 117 runs from the original Hash House Harriers club.

7. The original 1938 charter of the Hash House Harriers. – FALSE: The original charter mentioned on many websites, was written in 1950, by Irish accountant, Frank D. "Don" Kennedy. Don was the On-sec for the Hash House Harriers at the time. According to the 'Black Book', Don did not become a member of the Hash until 1949, and according to Magic, the club registration process was all conducted after WWII.

The problem with writing an article like this, much like those mentioned above, is other new details being uncovered that refute or otherwise provide new details. None of this is an attempt to fault any of the early historians. This is simply an effort to set the record straight, with the best information on hand . . . but with the vast number of old websites still floating around on the internet, these false histories will live on for many more years. In time, some other hash historian may dig up new sources that refute what I have stated above, and I am all for that. On On.

Find attached a PDF version of this article, which includes links to the data that supports my arguments. 

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

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Fwd: World Hash Events: August 2021

Hello hashers,

Sending this one out a few days early.  I have another huge project to wrap
up and send out in the near future . . . and I am finalizing my travel plans
for the summer.  EUROHASH here I come.

Many hash event updates to announce this month . . .

MEKONG INDOCHINA 2021 has been cancelled.  From the committee . . . So it is
now fairly obvious now (June 2021) that no country in the Mekong region can
host the event in 2021.  With quarantines, second and third waves etc we
believe it is best to cancel the 2020 Mekong Indochina Hash. (that was moved
to 2021).  We are all keen for the Mekong Indochina Hash to return in 2022.
Further details on refunds can be seen on the website.

PANAFRICA HASH has been postponed until 30 Jun - 3 Jul 2022.  From the
committee . . . Following the measures issued by the Government of the
Republic of Uganda to control the spread of COVID-19, the Pan Africa Hash
2021 Local Organizing Committee (PAH21 LOC) together with the Pan Africa
Host chapter, Kampala Hash House Harriers (KH3) have agreed to postpone the
Pan Africa Hash that was due to be held in Kampala (1-4 Jul 2021) to 30th
June - 3rd July 2022.

EUROHASH 2021 in Czechia is ON ON.  Rego resale scramble is in full bloom on
the FB page.  If you want to go . . . now is the time to get your affairs in
order.  If you cannot go, post your details and sell.


It is requested that you rejoice in the life of long time hasher, Margret
"Mary Poppins" Trader, founding member and former GM of the San Diego H3.
She passed away on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, while recovering from a serious
operation. She would have been 82 years old on June 15.  She was
instrumental in the founding of Okinawa and San Diego H3s.  Serving as Hash
Cash, Haberdasher, Scribe, Beer and Munch Meister. She brought 40 SDH3
Hashers for the founding of Long Beach H3 on January 6, 1985.  Mary Poppins
was famous for running with her red umbrella and her Bloody Mary checks. On


In the Spotlight - United States of America

This article will be released in the next couple weeks, once I wrap up the
final details.  It is going to be HUGE to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of
hashing in the USA.


HHH GENEALOGY - Mass updating of the HHH Genealogy project continues.
Completed over the past month . . . over 1000 more listings have been
reviewed, edited, and posted.  Dozens of new hash clubs, and Hundreds of
logos and web URLs have been added.

The USA, Australia, and New Zealand account for over 1/3 of all the hash
clubs that have ever existed.

Wherever you hash, if you want to update your clubs history and details
(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. 

Current active: (top 3)
United States           275 of 628
Australia               138 of 355
United Kingdom  137 of 301

It is a tight race between Australia and the UK, calling on all Aussie and
Brits to check your country listings for accuracy.  If your club is missing,
send me the details and it will be added.

I am still working on Malaysia and Indonesia, both of which could possibly
slide in above Australia.  Time will tell.



We are 10 months away from INTERHASH 2022 in Trinidad.  Hashers are starting
to get their schedules in order, and the buying and selling of INTERHASH and
RED DRESS regos resales are increasing, with almost 100 regos changing
hands.  If you are looking to buy a rego, or you have made the unfortunate
decision that you cannot attend, and want to sell your regos, post your
requirements at  . . .   


We have a new 'Oldest' hash T-shirt in the Digital Museum.  Step aside
Sydney H3 250th, welcome Singapore H3 500th.

This was made possible by a donation of Tumbling Bill Panton's T-shirt
collection, for inclusion in the Digital Hash T-Shirt Museum.  There are
over 300 shirts to process, so it will take a couple months of sorting and
posting before be displayed.


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





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

Aug 4-15
Prelube To Eurohash Cruise
Hosted by the Moon Over Barbados H3, sailing from Paris To Prague.

Aug 6-8 - SOLD OUT
Beach Stumble
Hosted by the Tampa Bay H3 in St Pete Beach, FL, USA.

Aug 6-8
1700th Campout
Hosted by the Nittany Valley H3 in Lock Haven, PA, USA.

Aug 12-15
India Nash Hash & Monsoon Madness
Hosted by the Hyderabad H3 out near the Interhash site in Goa, India.

Aug 13-15
Winter Camp
Hosted by the Garden City H3 at Wainui Camp, New Zealand.

Aug 13-15
Redneck Revival BeerCamp
Hosted by the Sin City H3 in Cynthiana, KY, USA.

Aug 14-15
Big Island Trip
Hosted by the Volcano H3 on the Big Island, HI, USA.

Aug 14-16
10th Analversary Campout
Hosted by the Alamogordo H3 in Cloudcroft, NM, USA.

Aug 19-22
Hosted by the FHKIT H3 in New Orleans, LA, USA.

Aug 19-22
Hosted in the lovely and scenic city of  Prague, Czech Republic.

Aug 27-29
Hosted by the Ithaca H3 in McGraw, NY, 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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World Hash Events: July 2021

Hello hashers,

In an attempt to be topical, we'll dedicate this month's scribble to MaBouche and Likk'mm . . . and Hash-L.  I normally start drafting these monthly excursions into hashing a week or two before sending, and had already planned to make mention of Hash-L, but for those of you that are on it, you got to enjoy the conversation, the joy, and the sarcasm that still permeates this early social media.  For everyone else, here are some tidbits from down memory lane  . . .

Back in the days before Facebook, MySpace, and even HashSpace . . . there was HASH-L.  It was the town square, or meeting place, for hashers from all over the world to come together to share hash stories and information.  As well as grab a bowl of popcorn and observe loads of sarcasm and an occasional flame war.  Terms like SDRA and FBAC became popular back in the 90s, thanks to Hash-L.

I was digging around on my website, and found some old writeups of hash trips.  This one below is from 20 years ago when I wandered down to Kuala Lumpur for the very first International Hash Challenge, and the Mother Hash 3000th weekend celebration.  As I reread this for the first time in about 20 years, I do note that there are a few typos and various other words for the grammar police to hit me on.  I should probably be Drinking a beer now, to pay for my sins.  😊

Hash Across Malaysia in 2001 -

There is a bit more Hash-L chatter sprinkled in with the passages below . . . enjoy.


Following New Zealand, that had their Nash Hash back in February  . . .  Hashers in China recently celebrated the 21st All China Nash Hash in April, hosted by the recently merged Kunming Chenggong H3.  A little background . . . Kunming Spring City H3 and Chenggong H3 merged earlier this year.  Attendance at each club had withered under COVID rules, and the two clubs had pretty much the same attendees.  So merging solidified efforts to sustain both clubs and keep all the hashers equally entertained.  The combined Kunming Chenggong H3 welcomed nearly 200 Hashers from all over China to Yunnan for four days of amazing trails . . . and drinking, eating, celebrations, and even some singing!  China hashers are now looking forward to heading to Suzhou for ACNH 2022.  A couple videos were posted on Facebook, and can be viewed below

Video 1 -
Video 2 -

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


EUROHASH - A message from Sloppy Stool . . .

The decision has been made . . . EUROHASH 2021 is a GO for execution.

If you are registered to attend, but have not paid yet . . . please do so now.  If you no longer wish to attend, other hashers on the wait list can replace you.

Anyone wishing to attend Eurohash who has not already paid may do so provided payment is sent before the end of June.  Accommodation is fully booked, so people will need to book somewhere to stay - there is a 50 Euro reduction in price for people paying at the last minute for this reason. 

If you wish to attend, please make sure you are REGISTERED at

Once you are registered, email Sloppy Stool at and he will give you payment information.


The update of the HHH Genealogy project continues.  Here are the bigger ones recently completed, along with a few others. 

China -
Taiwan -
Hong Kong -
Korea -
Philippines -
South America -

The biggest and most difficult are yet to be engaged . . . USA, Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.  Of the 2906 clubs listed, these four countries account for just under 50% (active and dead).

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. 


CoMo XVI in 2021 . . . as part of the Hash-L discussion yesterday, it was mentioned there were no more hash event writeups, but this is probably just due to COVID and the total lack of hash events taking place.  So, without further ado . . . here is a little bit of my first hash event since INTERGULF 2020 in Bahrain, from March of last year. 

The Rumson H3 hosted their 16th annual edition of their COMOTION BY THE OCEAN in Seaside Park, New Jersey, USA, this past weekend.  There were 122 signed up, and most everyone turned up, with the exception of the patriarch of the Rumson H3, Mr Jackson, who was a bit under the weather.  Overall, a hearty 'well done' to the whole gang in Rumson for putting on an excellent hash event.  Plenty of good food and drink, entertainment, and fun.  Thursday night had about 50 hashers out on an evening boat cruise, and on Friday, there was an afternoon pub crawl followed by the traditional Blues Brothers dinner in town.  On Saturday, we enjoyed the main event . . . which consisted of four different trails of varying length.  The Eagle Trail was just shy of 5 miles, and all off road and a multitude of shiggy.  Saturday night we enjoyed some social time and songs, and an exceptional dinner of smoked pork prepared by ALABAMA (A Lady, A Boy, And My Ass).  Great to see several hashers from years gone by, and sing a few songs as well.  Well done to the Rumson H3.  Here is a flyover view of the eagle trail . . .


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

This article was published separately a couple weeks ago, and can be read at

It did generate some excellent discussion.  The one comment that was most pertinent to the topic, was from my old friend LIkk'mm:

"So the HHH wasn't formed by a group of expats who regularly met at the pub and then one day decided to add a weekly "Hares and Hounds" distraction to their meetings? I was under the impression that that would have qualified as a drinking club - at the Selangor Club - which - in 1938 - developed a running problem.  Admittedly it's been a couple of decades since I read Magic's description so the beer may have enhanced my perception of what I ingested back then."

And my response was:  No, that is not really what Magic or John Duncan wrote . . . as far as I can tell, but let's look at it.  Paraphrasing (from Magic's HHH History) . . .  In 1937, Gispert was appointed branch manager in Malacca.  He also became a father that same year, of which he was on home leave in the UK for the birth (because his soon to be wife was not allowed to join him in SE Asia until he had served at least 10 years there.  He had only been there about eight).  Plus, his soon to be wife was still finalizing her divorce.  Yes, G had a bastard son, by a married woman.  Early drama, even before the HHH.  While in Malacca, Gispert discovered and started running with the Springgit Harriers, which included a few women, so a mixed club.  He invited his friend Torch (who was a red head) to run with him in early 1938, while temporarily assigned and working for G in Malacca.  G was transferred to the KL office sometime in 1938 (and became branch manager in 1941).  He soon joined the Volunteer reserve on Monday nights.  Yes, Monday.  That is why when he started his own Harrier club, it was on Friday nights.  It only moved to Monday after the war in 1946.  G wanted to continue his running ways, despite the fact his son later stated he was not well gifted.  So he heard another chap, Cecil Lee had run with the now defunct Kuala Lumpur Harriers (which had been very popular in the 1920s) a few years prior, and thought the two could organize a new club.  Torch also joined in.  While discussions had occurred occasionally over a beer in the long bar, they mostly occurred over dinners in the club chambers.  G finally gathered up several mates, many who had also run with harrier clubs in SE Asia, for his first paper chase in late 1938.  Not wanting to repeat the name Kuala Lumpur Harriers, G later decided to call it the Hash House Harriers.  Attendance was solid, but small, usually 12 or less.  Remember, the four "objectives" of hashing were not written until 1950, and they were likely exaggerated a bit on the drinking I suppose.  But there is mention of great fun after the runs, which included beer and cigarettes.  While parties going well back to the early events in the late 60s and early 70s were rich in drunken comradery, I don't think a drinking club formed the basis for the HHH.  Which was my point to begin with . . . but has been getting much more prevalent among some factions around the world.

Here is a good example of what running a hash looked like back in the 1980s.  Lots of runners, no beer stops, and paper trails . . .


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





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

Jul 1-4
Africa Hash
Hosted by the Kampala H3 and Mengo H3 in Kampala, Uganda.

Jul 2-4 - Cancelled
Interscandi (now combined with DNH)
Hosted in the lovely Estonia.

Jul 2-4 - Cancelled
Danish Nash Hash
Hosted by the Copenhagen H3 in Harju Maakond, Estonia.

Jul 9-11 - Postponed to Jul 2022
German Nash Hash
Hosted by the Stuttgart H3 near Stuttgart, Germany.

Jul 9-11
Burlington Invihash
Hosted by the Burlington H3 in Vermont, USA.

Jul 16-18
Hundred Acre Woody
Hosted by the Flour City H3 in Geneseo, NY, USA.

Jul 24-25
2000th Run
Hosted by the Long Beach H3 in Long Beach, CA, USA.

Jul 24-26
Red Dress Run
Hosted by the Northern Plains H3 in Sioux Falls, SD, USA.

Jul 30 - Aug 1
Swiss Nash Hash
Hosted by the Schaffhausen H3 in St Gallen, Switzerland.

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)     


GoToTheHash page on Facebook at

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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 café (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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