Abu Dhabi Island Hash House Harriers – Review

Hashing is a state of mind – a friendship of kindred spirits joined together for the sole purpose of reliving their childhood or fraternity days, releasing the tensions of everyday life, and generally, acting a fool amongst others who will not judge you or measure you by anything more than your sense of humor.” – Stray Dog

A drinking club with a running problem

After running with the Moloo Hash House Harriers in Hamilton New Zealand, and a quick rendezvous with the Cambridge Hash in the UK (during one of the coldest and wettest winters!), we joined the Abu Dhabi Island Hash House Harriers as soon as we arrived in the UAE. At over 42°C in the shade, this seemed like a great way to acclimatize to the desert…

Runs take place every Monday at 6:30pm at a different location, so if you are keen, check out www.auh4.org/Run.php for the location of this week’s run and just turn up. It is a family friendly hash, so feel free to bring your brats, beagles and budgies. Hashcash to cover water, drinks and dinner: 50AED members (25AED for run only), 75 AED non-members, 20AED brats. The once off membership fee is 150AED, which covers your first run, membership number, t-shirt, and adds you to the email list for upcoming runs and socials.

Other Hash chapters in the area include the Abu Dhabi Mainland Hash (run Mondays), Abu Dhabi Wasps (run Wednesdays), and the Sandpit Hash (http://sandpithash.wordpress.com/about) who organize desert trips once a month on a Friday. We haven’t joined any of these packs yet, but it’s on the to-do list.

Hashing? On-After?? Drinking club??? Read on….

The Hash House Harriers are an international running, socializing and drinking club, which originated in 1938 in Malaysia, where a group of British officers and expats got together on Monday evenings for a ‘hare and hound’ chase, to “promote physical fitness among members, get rid of weekend hangovers, acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer, and to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel”. The concept eventually spread all over the world, with approximately two thousand chapters existing today.

A Hash involves one member (the hare) laying a trail that the rest of the group (pack/hounds) must follow. Chalk or flour is used to indicate the trail, but the trail frequently ends in a check mark, at which the pack must spread out in all directions to find where the trail continues. False trails, back-checks and short cuts keep things even more interesting, while slowing the front-runners down and allowing the slower runners to catch up. Whistles, horns and verbal communication are also used to keep the pack together, including runners shouting “on-on” when they see a trail mark. In Abu Dhabi we use dead trails, marked by the hare before the run begins, instead of live trails, which involve the hare leaving the pack with a head start to mark the trail as he goes and the pack then tries to catch him. 

At the end of the trail, the group gathers at an on-after (nearby location/house/pub) to socialize with drinks and food, and observes various traditions. The social element is supposed to be as important as the running element, but every hash chapter varies in priorities and traditions. A circle is formed to sing traditional songs, introduce and name new members, recognize individuals (down-downs), and to inform the pack of future events. Down-downs (involving an individual having to empty his drinking vessel, or pouring what he can’t finish over his head) are the consequence of being recognized or punished for any achievement or misdemeanor, be it real or imagined. Hash names are all part of the game. After attending a certain number of runs, members are named by the pack with a silly, inappropriate name filled with innuendo.

Clear as mud? See you at the Hash.

– Hand Solo & Quick To Go Down

Abu Dhabi Island Hash House Harriers
Abu Dhabi Island Hash House Harriers
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