Hashing :: A Fun Way to Run

Mr. SP and I have a long history with hash running.  In fact, our first date in February of 1993 was to be a hash.  We had a big snowstorm that day and the hash was cancelled, but soon after we had our hash date.

What is a hash?  Hashing involves two or more “hares” and a “pack” of runners.  It’s modeled after the hare and hounds.  How it works is a group of runners meet at a spot designated by the hares.  The hares take off 15 minutes before the pack and lay a trail of chalk marks and flour plops.  After 15 minutes, the runners follow the marks and try to catch the hares.  The hares slow down pack by making intersection marks where the runners have to investigate in all directions to try to find the trail.  This is great because it keeps the pack together and it allows the slower runners to catch up to the faster ones.  Beer checks are also a part of hashing.  The hare leaves beer and water for the pack to drink which is another opportunity for the pack to catch up with each other.  Hashers are known as “drinkers with a running problem” but you don’t have to be a drinker to enjoy the hash.  I hate beer and have run over 200 hashes without consuming a drop.

Hashers love to go off-road and the more muddy, weedy, and briar-filled, the better for a hash.  Hashers call areas like this “shiggy.”  I’m not a big fan of shiggy because I’ve gotten bad cases of poison ivy and chiggers from it.

Mr. SP and I learned the ins and out of our town from hashing.  Our town is full of wooded areas and a hash can make you feel like you are deep in the wilderness when in fact you aren’t far from civilization.

Hashers get a “hash name” after running with the group five times.  Mr. SP’s name is Happy Hurl because “He’s so happy, he makes you want to hurl.”  My name is “Trigger Happy” because I rode horses and I’m Mrs. Happy Hurl.  Many names have to do with your career.  Lesley is a dietitian and her name is “Healthy Dish.”  Suzanne used to be a cop and her name is “Spread ‘Em.”  John is “Meisterblower” because he used to run every hash with a bugle.  Many hash names aren’t fit to share here.

I took a 12 year break from hashing but went back last Sunday to introduce a young German friend to the activity so he could meet some people in town that are active and his age.

Me and Matt


We met the pack at a local Kroger parking lot and got acquainted with the people we didn’t know and reacquainted with our old hashing friends.

Suzanne OOmpa and his dogs


Soon the hares took off and the pack gathered in a circle for introductions and warm-up exercises consisting of singing “Father Abraham” with movements.

The pack took off and quickly found the trail.  Lynchburg is full of hills and a hash is guaranteed to be either up or down.  Mr. SP is seen here scouting trail in a new apartment complex area.

Happy Hurl running up a big hill


The trail quickly went into the woods where is was DOWN….. (This was so steep that it required clinging to trees!)

Down a Steep Hill


After running though a muddy bottom is was back UP….

Up a Steep Hill


And then back on the road for a brief bit.   We couldn’t find the trail at this point and spent a while wondering around in all directions.  Soon we were back on track.  When you know you’re on the correct trail, you yell “True Trail!”.

Looking for the Trail


Taco the Chihuahua had no trouble keeping up with the pack.



We ran and ran and then were supposed to run through a tunnel that goes under a railroad track.  The tunnel was marked “1901” on the top.

1901 Tunnel


We all said “no thanks” to running through a dark tunnel with a deep creek and instead climbed up a steep hill, crossed the tracks, and then went down a steep hill to the top of the tunnel where there was a beer check.

Down to a Vodka Check

This hill was so steep that I felt like I was skiing down it.  Half of the time I think I was squatting and sliding on my shoes through the leaves.

Come on Down

If we had run through the creek through the tunnel, we would have seen this dead deer up close and personal.  He must have run down the hill and not known that the tunnel was there.

Dead Deer


John takes a break at the beer check.  (Really it was vodka and cranberry.)



Taco is too cute!  Can you believe that this little critter ran for miles along with his chihuahua pal?

Taco and Suzanne



Eventually the words “Beer Near” were written on the road in chalk signifying that the run was almost over.



A hash always involves beer and lots of it.  If you don’t like beer, like me or John, too bad for you!

Beer at End


The hares built a bon fire and provided the pack with sandwiches.

Hasher at End


Don’t you love the potty chair seat?  Notice that no one wants to sit on it.  Hashers are nuts!

Bon Fire


A hash isn’t complete without dogs begging for food.  Lilly was so sweet that I couldn’t resist giving her some of my sandwich.



Matt loved the hash and met a some people his age.  Mission accomplished!

Matt and new friends

Mr. SP and I had forgotten how much we enjoyed hashing.  Running through the woods blowing a whistle yelling “True Trail” and “On-On” makes you feel like a kid.  We had such a good time that we are going back to run again this Sunday.  I have a feeling that our old hobby is going to become our new one!


  1. Never heard of this, but it sounds like a blast. Your enthusiasm really shows in these pictures and commentary! On On! (Whatever that means, but it sounds appropriate!)

  2. I’ve never heard of that, but so great that you have a group of folks to go have an “hashing” good time with! Sweet pups, I’m sure they make it even more fun!

  3. That sounds like a blast. I met some hashers before in NC when I was taking my kids ziplining. They had been out running all weekend. Do you know if there are hash groups in Roanoke? We have a huge group of fitness freaks who are cyclists and CrossFitters.

    1. There is a Roanoke group. I believe that the Lynchburg group helped to get it started. I’d certainly drive to Roanoke to hash!

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