Last Sunday I was invited by a friend to a running meeting of the Hash House Harriers in Bucharest. I've never heard of this club before. That was strange to me to hear because I've been in a lot of group runs and I often talk to runners, but no one ever spoke about this group. Neither on Internet websites nor on social media did I see something about it.
According to Wikipedia: The Hash House Harriers (abbreviated to HHH, H3, or referred to simply as hashing) is an international group of non-competitive running, social clubs. An event organized by a club is known as a hash or hash run, with participants calling themselves hashers or hares and hounds. The objectives of this meetings are running, having fun and drinking beer with other hashers. But I better explain more by telling how was my first hashing experience.
I met with this friend of mine Iulian and with 2 other friends, Oana and Andrei, and we went to his place, where his guest Fred (from USA) organized this event. At around 2:15 PM we were around 10 people from different countries of the world at the starting point of the trail. The one who sets the trail before the event is called hare and the remainder of the group who must follow it is called hounds. The track is isually marked by placing flour on the street or on the trees. Sometimes there are false trails or dead ends, but Fred told us that he didn't put any. After introducing ourselves to the group of hashers, we started! Following the trail meant finding the flour points marked by Fred. When someone finds one, he should scream "On-On!", so that the other hound will follow him on the route. In the intersections, there is a circle, which means "Check!". In this case, some runners check each possible route until one finds the right one, screaming On-On! Most of the time I ran in front but found the false routes, so the pack took the right street on the Check points and I was left behind. This is great for the group run, because the slower runners can always catch up with the group. After a lot of good and bad paths, I found in the park a new sign: BN. Hey, there is a new sign. What does it mean? The older hashers told me. It's Bear Near! What followed then? Well, BS = Beer Stop! Fred bought to all of us a beer in a restaurant. Thanks Fred! After the Beer Stop, we restarted the hash run, following the trail set by Fred on the streets, until we went into the wild part of the city. I'm talking of the Văcăreşti Lake, which is an artificial lake which looks more like a Delta, having some water and a lot of terrain with birds, mammals and reed. There were no checkpoints or false trails on the lake, so the path was only forward. This was good to me because I could run a little faster and stay in front of the group. Unfortunately, when I was approaching the other side of the lake, 5 or more dogs saw me and started surrounding me. I knew it was too risky to run through them, so I backed up waiting for the other runners. I took a stone to use it in case of necessity. When Iulian and another hasher reached me, we decided to scary them by running faster to them. Some gypsies came out from their improvised huts and chased them away. Then we arrived safe to Iulian's house and waited for the other members of the group to join us. Some of them took another route at the end, avoiding the big lake. They all came back to Iulian's a bit later. This was the second and much longer Beer Stop.
After the run, the H3 tradition implies that the hashers should stay at the On-On-On or Hash-Hash Party. There are a lot of songs of "punishment" for the hares or the hounds, which are all finished by the one being punished by drinking beer. Of course, me, Iulian, Oana and Andrei couldn't avoid the "punishments" and also we had to tell a joke or do something else at our choice to enter the Hashers Group as we were the Virgin Hashers. We had pizza, we started singing with the hashers and the party continued until everyone left.
This social group is made mostly for expats who live in Bucharest, but local citizen are also welcome. If you want to join the group, you need to be invited from one of the members. You can find them on Meetup!
Below is our route from Last Sunday with all the wrong paths I found. On-On!