THE SPACE OBSERVER [Note 1]
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 1995
By Staff Sgt. Elton Price
the trails in search of fun, camaraderie and most
importantly, the Down-Down
On-On. You've heard of trash
talk -- well that's hash talk. Hash House Harriers
The hashers are a social club
with a running problem -- though, that's not quite
how they phrase it [Note 2]. And On-On is what they
do before the Down-Down.
No, no -- they don't say
everything twice. But they probably have about twice
as much fun as anyone else every other Saturday of
If you're confused, that's OK
-- so are most of the hashers, especially during one
of their hashes. But that's what makes the whole
thing so much fun.
It all started long, long, ago,
in a place far away.
In the 1930's, some British
civil servants and businessmen living in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, frequented a local eatery which
they called the Hash House for its
unimaginative, monotonous food.
According to one legend,
Horse Thompson, one of the founding
fathers of the Hash House Harriers, had been
introduced to an early form of hashing in the early
1930's. In its earliest form, runners would chase a
paper trail laid by a lead runner, or hare.
Legend has it that
Horse, who received his nickname for his
size and strength, related his experiences with the
paper chase to some friends at the Hash House late
one evening. The Hash House was about to close, and
Horse suggested the he should introduce them to the
game that night.
He bought as much beer as he
could carry and a sack of flour. The moon was full
that night and Horse reasoned that his buddies should
be able to follow a trail of flour in the moonlight.
He put the beer and flour in a knapsack, told his
friends to give him a 10-15 minute head start and
took off, leaving a trail of flour.
When his friends finally caught
up to him, they had a good laugh and said they really
must do it again. The rest, as they say, is history
Over the years, the hash grew
in popularity, and members started to disperse to the
four corners of the earth. The second hash chapter
was founded in Singapore in 1962 [Note 4], followed
by one in Kuching in 1963, and Brunei, Kota Kinabalu
and Ipoh in 1964. A chapter which opened in Perth,
Austrailia, in 1967 was the first outside the
Today there are more than 1,100
chapters in 135 countries around the world [Note 5].
The most important of these, at least according to
local hashers, is the Pikes Peak Hash House Harriers
and Harriettes, better known as the P2H4.
Through the years, many Hash
traditions have come and gone and each local Hash
seems to have its own way of doing things. But
certain things remain constant.
Hares lay the trails, usually
in flour, and hounds follow. Hares often lay false
trails to try to throw the hounds off the track.
However, the trails are marked so the hounds can tell
after they've followed a false trail so far, and that
it is false. The goal is for the hares to make the
trails as challenging as possible without completely
throwing the hounds off the trail. The goal for the
hounds is two-fold -- first and foremost is to find
the Down-Down. The Down-Down being where all the
Hashers gather after the run for refreshment and
songs. The hounds second goal is to snare the hare.
If a hound snare a hare, the hare has to tell where
the Down-Down is -- thus making it a shorter trip to
the Down-Down [Note 6].
After five hashes, the group
rewards new hashers with their very own hash name.
Typically, they try to work something about the
person into the name, but as with most things related
to the hash, there really are no rules.
Hashers with the P2H4 have such
colorful names as Silver Moon (one of the founding
members who was names for his hair color), Zippy,
Barnacle Bob and Snow Queen [Note 7].
According to Shawn Todd, the
P2H4 hashmaster [Note 8] and an instructor at the
Airmen Leadership School here, all it takes to be a
good hasher is a sense of irreverence and a desire to
have a good time.
About 30 hashers, several of
them military members, proved the point this past
Adorned with whistles, hash
T-shirts and other hash attire, they gathered in the
parking lot of the shopping center at Fillmore and
Nevada. After taking a few minutes to explain the
rules [sic.], the motley crew took off. Within a few
more minutes, On-On ran out as the group found the
first traces of flour and the hash began in earnest.
Before it was over, the hashers
would go over a river and through the woods (and
other assorted under brush), but no where near
grandmother's house. They did however stop at one
point for a song break, and at another for a
refreshment break [Note 9] before finally reaching
According to Todd, it was a
pretty typical hash -- everyone got some exercise and
everyone had a good time. And Todd should know. He's
been hashing for six years now. He and his wife Kim,
another instructor at the ALS, went so far as to have
a hash wedding.
Although the hashers are called
hounds and hares, the story of the tortoise and the
hare probably better suits them. Though a few do run,
most walk or jog at a leisurely pace. And if a hasher
does have the unfortunate honor of finishing first,
he or she is serenaded with a disparaging song at the
Down-Down and forced to carry a 10-pound chain with
them at the next hash.
Though the regular hash is
every other Saturday, the hashers typically look for
any other excuse to get together. They routinely have
specialty hashes, such as one during every full moon
and one every so often only for the women [Note 10].
Though nothing says a hash
can't cover the same route twice, most hares seek to
lay a new, fresh adventure for each hash. Todd says
the group has hashed in such places as Divide,
Manitou Springs, Pueblo, Castle Rock and Black
We even ran through the
Broadmoor (Hotel) one time, and the Antlers
(Doubletree Hotel) another, he said. This
past June, we had a weekend hash for our 200th hash.
We camped out and hashed near Cripple Creek.
So, whether it's for the
exercise, the camaraderie or the scenery, Todd says
new hashers are always welcome. One word of advice --
if you go, make sure you know the hash name of the
person who invited you, and more importantly, even if
you have some relatively new shoes to break in, bring
the old, comfortable ones instead -- you'll need them
IF YOU GO
Time, date and place: Call the
Hare Line, 719-576-0331.
Cost: $5, covers refreshments.
Oxymoron giving the chalk talk, and Hash
Horn Caveman blowing)
Notes by ZiPpY the Cyberpimp,
Sexual Intellectual (friggin' know it all), Pikes
Note 1 - The Space Observer is
the base paper of Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Note 2 - The reporter
delicately skirts the subject of beer at the hash.
The US military has been actively
deglamorizing alcoholic beverages since
the mid 1980s.
Note 3 - Methinks that some
literary license was taken with this
Note 4 - The second hash is
actually the Royal Bordighera Hash which started soon
after the Second World War in Italy and died in the
fifties. It was revived by the Milan chapter in the
Note 5 - These statistics are
circa 1990 and come from the Mother Hash
in Kuala Lumpur. The number of hashes now (late 1995)
has most certainly increased. For instance in 1990
there were five hash groups in Colorado. Today there
Note 6 - Most P2H4 hare are
dead. On the occasional live
hare hash, if the hare is caught, the one who catches
simply becomes a co-hare from that point. The caught
hare may be depatnsed for a brief time also.
Note 7 - These were about the
only names that were printable in a politically
correct military publication. And Silver Moon
actually got his name because he needs little urging
to drop trousers and expose his moon, but he does
have silver hair.
Note 8 - P2H4 Grand Master
Shawn Todd's hash name is Yanks It.
Note 9 - Beer check.
Note 10 - The Half Mind Half
Moon H3 hashes one evening a month without regard to
the phase of the moon. The wimmin only Colorado PMS
H3 hashes on the 28th of each month.
Note 11 - A nicely done warning
not to wear new shoes without mention of the new shoe