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Close Encounters

Hashers and civilians clash from time to time. Here’s an example from earlier this year:

YouTube Preview Image

The man who made this accusatory video encountered members and guests of the Rumson Hash House Harriers in New Jersey’s Great Dismal Swamp. He accuses hashers of trespassing, damaging property, and being so drunk they couldn’t understand what he was telling them. I think any fair-minded person, after watching the video, would wonder what the hell this guy’s talking about. The hashers in the video seem unusually sober and well-behaved to me!

The nastiest part of the video is the Star Wars-style scrolling text at the end, where the ranch manager demands the names of the hares and all the participants. If you can get through that without wanting to tell the guy to go fuck himself, you’re a better person than me.

I really admire the restraint exhibited by the Rumson hasher who responded to this asshole’s accusations:

 To Edison Wetlands and neighbors

I am sorry if some of the runners got lost during the trail run. The run was located in public parks, grounds and roads. No portion of the run was on the Edison Wetlands. This run has been held every year since 1995. We ask all the runners to bring canned goods for Hands of Hope St. James Food Pantry.

Hikers, trail runners, bird watchers and others often get lost in the woods. I have supported Middlesex Greenway, Edison Wetlands and other community groups over the past 20 years. I was not near Triple C Ranch and Nature Center Edison Wetlands on January 3 so I can’t comment on actions of a limited group of runners. Some of your statements are not true.
I am surprised by your comments since we have had the run previously at Triple C Ranch. I did not direct anyone on property. I left several messages for you prior to Jan 3 to advise the runners would run on the Tyler road past the ranch. Runners promote seeing wooded areas saved from development. We look to continue to have events to help Hands of Hope St. James Food Bank as we have had for many years.

Again, sorry if runners were lost and went the wrong way on the trail, which primarily was along the old railroad bed/future extension of Middlesex Greenway. We will ask future runners to stay off private property.

I previously helped your group at your request by publicizing your zombie run. We will help promote your running events in the future if requested.

One of the runners indicated he looked up how much land Edison Wetlands Association actually owns at Dismal Swamp. I could only find that they own a 4.55-acre tract. All of the other preserved land there was paid for by non-profits (NY-NJ Baykeeper, NJ Audubon Society), Middlesex County and some of the various townships (Edison, Metuchen and South Plainfield). All those woods are public open space. Boy scouts, bird watchers and mountain bikers often use the same trails.

I have a bit of a different reaction to this close encounter story, which appeared earlier today in a British newspaper:

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 8.31.56 AM

click image to read the article

More than likely, the hashers who ran across farm property in England weren’t any rowdier or drunker than the hashers in the Great Dismal Swamp. But it does appear they frightened some livestock. In one encounter with hashers, a ewe jumped a fence and broke its leg. In another, a calf was so frightened it ran away and had to be put down … at least according to the farmer.

We haven’t heard the hashers’ side of the story on these UK incidents, but I notice the journalist zeroed right in on that fucking “drinking club with a running problem” thing too many of us parrot.

I don’t really have an editorial stand on all this. Very few hashers I know would deliberately lay trail past a “no trespassing” sign or across a farmer’s field. But sometimes just being in the general vicinity of someone’s private property is enough to set off alarms, and there’s not much we can do about that.

Civilians will never get hashing or hashers. Nevertheless, I don’t want them to get so upset they start passing laws against our favorite pastime.

© 2015, Flying Booger. All rights reserved.


About Flying Booger  Hash House Harrier, man about town.


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