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EPISKOPI HASH HOUSE HARRIERS CYPRUS

(One Of The Last Gentlemen Only Hashes in The World)

Hashing

 The Fiendish Art of Fine Hashing

I won't bore you to tears with the history of the Hash House Harriers suffice to say a few bored slightly hungover colonial types decided one day to organise a run on a Monday to clear their heads and work up a bit of a thirst so they could have another beer without feeling guilty. 

However these colonials were amazingly way ahead of their time as they decide like so many UK Schools have done that winning a race was unimportant though they probably muttered something like it matters not who won or lost but how the race was run.

So the first thing to know about a hash is that it is not a race. Nobody wins nobody loses and it it is up to the three "just men and true" known as hares ( yes you do get a special T shirt to wear" ) to "lay" a paper trail that ensures the "pact" ( runners, joggers, polders or walkers) that start together arrive back together regardless of speed or level of fitness and everyone needs to be satisfied that they have not spent the time waiting around for slower members nor have said slow ones been run or walked off their feet. Pretty tall order don't you think ? Well don't worry if your selected to be an hare . Fifty years of hashing around Cyprus has meant the odd trick or four has been learnt and passed down to the present day hashers and will be described here. 

Crusty ex Army Generals will tell you that " time spend in reconnaissance (a recce) is seldom wasted " So hares are expected to do a recce first to plan out the run . Google Earth these days is a fine place to start but boots on the ground ( where do they get these expressions from) is always the next step in case some farmer eager for yet more EU grant money has ploughed up most of what Google is still showing as virgin land. Running or walking on ploughed fields is no fun as the said boots fill with earth. Ditto beach as well. 

Once you have a vague plan of the area, the direction of the run ( it's important you start and finish at the same place as many members would be unable to find their cars or 4x4s and more importantly the refreshment if you don't. This all important place is known as the RV) you are ready to lay a trail with the help of your other two hares. 

Dependent on the length of the run the trail is divided into between 6 and 12 "checks." At each check the trail ends and the pack stops until a hare arrives and shows them the general direction that a new trail might be found. The pack then searches for the new trail looking for blobs of paper we call trash. Once they find one they start to follow it. However dastardly fellows that we are on the hash, two of the three new trails that are laid are discovered to be false and the unfortunates have to run back to the check. Only one trail is correct and after following each  blob of trash until he has counted four of them ( challenging for some members) the front runner yells on on and off we all set again. Now the astute amongst you will have realised that the easiest way to get the pack together is at each check to just hold everyone till the slowest guy turns up. However in winter that means the fast guys freeze to death while waiting so a better way had to found and trust me it was. Check backs, loops and short cuts plus the odd holding check as well.  

So as you lay the trail you look where to put a check back. What this means is you lay a trail that is not the real trail. You do it preferably where the fast guys run off down a hill following what they think is the trail until they find 3 blobs of trash in a straight line marking a check back and then they have to run back up to find the hare who leads them onto the the real trail again. By the time they have run back the slow guys have arrived and the pack is back together again . 

Loops are easy to explain. After a check you lay a trail that is in fact a large loop and comes back almost on itself . The slower guys just trot or stroll to the next check and greet the faster lads who come pounding in. 

Holding checks are obvious as well . These should be done after say a long climb up an incline and the hare shouts holding check and stops the pack till everyone is together again .

By using these methods it is easily possible to keep everyone together but the fast guys get their exercise as do the remainder of the pack who utilise  these extra aids. 

At the end of the run the On Pres as he is known gives a short critique known unsurprisingly as the Crit ( well we are fairly simple folk). This normally consists of a few jokes (mainly ones you will have heard  before but please be polite ) and a critique of the run and the walk. These are never too complementary but not something to get upset about. There is no such thing a a good run or walk unless you bribed him earlier.