Hashing 101

About H4 (Houston Hash House Harriers)

The Houston Hash House Harriers was started in 1979 on the banks of Buffalo Bayou and has been hashing ever since through the mud, the shiggy, the streets of Houston and the surrounding areas.

The goals of the Houston Hash House Harriers are:

  1. To promote physical fitness among the members.
  2. To get rid of weekend hangovers.
  3. To persuade older members they are not as old as they feel.

If you like beer, running, and are over 21, we encourage you to come and try a new experience with a great group of people. You just might like it.

Information for new hashers (a.k.a. “virgins”)

You’re curious about hashing. If you have never attended a hash before, YOU ARE STILL A VIRGIN! If you have a short attention span you can watch the short documentary below (compiled by hashers in Santa Barbara, Calif.), which is a good intro to what hashing is like everywhere in the world.

Here is a Wikipedia article about hashing in general, and about the very first hash house. If you still think you want to come run with us, keep on reading!

How to Find the Hash

Each week, hashers meet at a predetermined place, referred to as a “pre-lube.” There are various ways to find out where and when the hash will start. The first is this site, click on Calendar to find out when and where the next hash is. You can also call the Hash Hotline at 71-DIAL-HASH / 713-425-4274 and the recording will give you all the information you need to show up at the right place. The hotline is updated daily, the start location of the run is announced the morning of the run. You don’t need to let anyone know you are coming, just show up!

In addition to our hotline, here is a list of Houston-area hashes. Once you’ve run a few hashes with us, you might want to join our Yahoo group which is how news about events gets spread the quickest.

There are a few places in the city where the hash meets regularly for, for example, happy hour or run starts. A lot of these places go by nicknames. Click here for a map of H4 points-of-interest in Houston.

Hash by-Laws / rules

Um…we’re the hash, there are no rules. Well we had one but we lost it. If you know where it is please do return it. Unfortunately, Texas does have a few “rules”. As such, all who attend our events must be of legal drinking age (21 as of this writing). It is also important and necessary that you have a valid, state-issued photo id to attest to your age as most of the establishments we visit after runs will require it.

Hash Overview

A “hash” involves a trail that is set once weekly by some unlucky group of hashers, typically a lead and some helpers. These poor sods are known as “hares”. This also leads to the use of the terms “harriers” (male) and “harriettes” (female) when referencing hashers in general. The trails themselves are anywhere between three and six miles long. Trail is typically marked in flour and/or chalk.

Chalk Talk

Once it has been deemed an acceptable time to begin, everyone gathers around the hares in a circle for chalk talk. This is the time when the markings will be explained and as well as particulars concerning the trail. Another part of the circle is the introductions. All those present, including virgins and visitors, introduce themselves to the rest of the hash.

The Actual Trail

After the chalk talk, you will be pointed in the general direction of the trail start and will then be on your own (actually, you will surrounded by other hashers, but the difference is negligible). You will be looking for the marks as described by the hare(s).

On finding the first mark, you, the clever virgin, will yell out “On-ONE!” to indicate you do not have your head totally up your arse, and may be going in the right direction. Upon finding the second mark, shout out “On-TWO!” Find a third mark, and holler “On-ON”, the indication that you are indeed on true trail.

When you find an ‘X’ (a cross), this is called a “check,” which means that trail can go in any direction from that point. The hares will attempt to confuse you with false trails, which may be marked with a large “F” or three horizontal lines… or not at all. Trail may simply evaporate after one or two marks (this is called a “blowjob”). If this happens, return to the last check and try a different direction.

And if you’re one of those overachieving virgins who likes to run, look behind you, and you may see the whole pack bearing down on your cries of “On-ON!”. You are now an “FRB”, or Front Running Bastard.

A Cherished Moment — The Beer Check

After running on trail for awhile, somewhere between the start of the run and the end of the run, there will be a very special check, the “Beer Check” (also known as the “BC”). Sometimes we have one beer check, sometimes more. The more beer checks on a trail, the more likely you are on a longer run. At the beer check, beverages, including beer, water, and soda are provided. Beer checks help keep the group together. While the faster runners drink and enjoy a break, the slower runners and walkers have time to catch up. But all have some time to enjoy a beverage or two. From the beer check, the pack takes off again until the on-in is reached.

The On-In

The end destination of the trail is known as the on-in. This is usually a bar, restaurant, a hasher’s personal residence, or at times the beach, a parking lot, an open field, etc. At the beginning of the on-in, another circle is formed. The Religious Advisor (“RA”) calls the hares into the middle where they are given the proper abuse they deserve for setting the trail. Visitors and virgins are also given justice for making the mistake of running with us. Accusations are also made for abuses on trail, such as wearing the same hash apparel as other hashers, showing up late or skipping the trail or together and just showing up at the end. Note: Do not wear new shoes, apparel that references competitive r*ces or r*nning clubs as this will lead to accusations as well. If you do, prepare to drink for your foolishness. You have been warned. Hashers typically frown on events of a competitive nature. Accusations lead to down-downs. Songs are sung, beer or other beverages are consumed, food is eaten and much merriment is had by all.

Still want more info? Call 713.425.4274 / 71-DIAL-HASH for more information. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions collected from new hashers…

Frequently Asked Questions by Hash Newbies

Q: How do I join the Hash?
A: Just show up to one of the trails. On your first trail, you will be a virgin but can consider yourself a hasher thereafter.

Q: If I attend a hash, do I have any obligation to show up regularly or pay dues?
A: In Houston, your first run is free as a virgin. Afterwards we ask that you pay $5 at the start of each trail. This is the only money we ask you to pay. This money helps cover the cost for the hares providing entertainment for the hash that week. We have people who show up once a week, and we have people who show up once a year (or less). If you had a good time, come back. If you decide that hashing is not for you, just stop showing up.

Q: What exactly is a “Hash Name”?
A: A Hash Name is the name that hashers go by during hash events. Every hash member receives a hash name, as decided by the other hashers. Usually this name has some connection with a personal embarrassing event, or has sexual implications. In any case, it is usually a name that you don’t refer to in public, sign on your e-mails, or put on your resume. The more embarrassed or dissatisfied you are with your potential hash name, the more likely you are to be given that name.

Q: So what’s the deal with the term “Hash”?
A: Okay, here’s the story: The Hash House Harriers phenomenon began in 1938 with an Englishman named Albert Stephen Gispert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He gathered together a group of British expatriates to play a variation of a game known as the “paper chase” or “Hares and Hounds”, an English schoolboy’s game. The group got its name from their hangout, The Selangor Club, which was commonly called the “Hash House” due to its barely edible food. Need more info? See our history section.

Q: I’m oversensitive and easily offended. Is Hashing right for me?
A: Probably not. You should find a different hobby. Knitting?

Q: What kind of people attend the Hash?
A: People from all walks of life, from judges to students. You’ll find hard-core runners, non-competitive runners, walkers, and those that just like to get out and get a little exercise. In all cases, they are people that enjoy a good laugh, and can have some fun socializing while still getting some exercise.

Q: Can I participate in a Hash event without being forced to drink alcohol?
A: Absolutely. Although a healthy tolerance for people who drink is desirable, the point of hashing is to have fun and get some exercise.

Q: I want to be a hare. What do I do?
A: First, attend a few runs so that you get the idea of what hashing is about. After that, see an experienced hasher to help you co-hare, help out and show you the ropes. Some good people to ask about co-haring a run with you are Roller Balls, Shuttlecock, McPisser, Pipes, Menage Myself, Heartache and Will He Peter.

Often, Mismanagement will post open haring dates on the Yahoo email list. If you have a date in mind, first check on the calendar that the date is not taken, then email a member of Mismanagement, Snatcha, or the Yahoo groups directly to request the date. You can also leave a message on the Hash Hotline.

Still interested? Read more below: