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The Perfectly Laid Trail II

For another international perspective on hashing, haring, and the perfectly laid trail, here’s a guide from the Polygon Hash House Harriers in Cyprus (author unknown), courtesy of Polygon H3 hasher Big Bang:


A Guide To The Laying Of Trails

In keeping with the original intentions of the Hash, there should be no rules as such, however, the following are necessary as a guide or code which accommodates an accent on social, healthy exercise and fun.

To start with there are one or two little ‘niceties’ which should be observed. When bringing a prospective member on their first run, you must ensure that they are introduced to the committee and particularly the Hash Master BEFORE the run commences, thereafter, it is your responsibility to ensure that they complete the run without mishap.

When taking on the responsibility of being a ‘Hare’, and make no mistake, it is a responsibility, you should recce your proposed trail at least twice, and be certain of every detail, before the date of the run. One of these recces should take place about the time of day during which the run will be held. It is also desirable, and good manners, to inform the On-on of the impending invasion of the restaurant or bar. This also serves to warn that extra staff may be needed to cope with the sudden influx of bodies.

The length of the trail will vary considerably depending largely on the type of terrain over which the trail is laid. As a fairly rough guide, if it takes two hours to walk the final trail, then it should be a hour’s run for the average hasher. An ideal trail keeps everybody together for most of the run, and the whole pack should be back to the run venue within approximately 15 minutes of one another, with slower runners arriving back in not much longer than one hour after the start. To overcome unforeseen difficulties, and to ensure that the run takes place, two hares will normally be required to lay the trail.

Now to the actual laying of the trail. The following points should be adhered to whenever possible.

1. The start and direction of the trail should be clearly marked and uncomplicated for at
least the first half mile, at which point there should be the first CHECK. This check must be a good one, designed to hold the pack for as long as possible in order that the late comers can catch up. The check should be in the form of a large circle of chalk or flour.

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From the check, the third or fourth is ‘On’ and it is optional whether or not you put directional arrows or horns on the circle to indicate the possible direction of the new trail or, indeed, false trails.

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False trails should be indicated by a cross at the end of the trail.

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2. REMEMBER THAT CHECKS ARE DESIGNED TO HOLD AND KEEP THE PACK TOGETHER. In order to do this you may lay false trails from each check point, but it is important to remember that a false trail should not be indicated or marked over 250 meters from the CHECK, and in open country, 100 meters in semi-scrub, or 50 meters in thick scrub. A good run should have at LEAST 6 good checks, and if the checks are laid as per the above code then there should be no need to write ON ON, however it is a good idea if only to jog the minds of the front runners that they should be calling this once having found the correct trail. Again for the Hashers benefit, it is often advisable to indicate LH3 on the occasional arrow just in case there are other arrows in the vicinity.

3. When marking the trail each mark, if using chalk, should be an arrow or, if using flour, should be a blob and no more than 30 meters from each other (these distances are only approximate). This should be adhered to as closely as possible in order that the front runners can be fairly certain when they have run out of trail. It is quite legitimate to make a sudden left or right turn from a comparatively straight trail without indicating such, and the hounds should realise they have over run the trail when the last mark was at least 30 meters behind them, or when the trail is marked with a CHECK BACK.

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4. If the last check has turned the pack onto a narrow, long path over which it is difficult to pass, or a steep shiggy climb, then your next check at the end of this path should be especially designed to hold up the front runners so those who were doing the greatest amount of checking at the last check or the slower runners have time to catch up. Depending on the make up of the pack and the difficulty of the stretch it is sometimes advisable to put a REGROUP to allow the pack to regroup.

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5. Each trail should include a little of everything, depending on the area where the run is being set. A little shiggy, open country, a little bush, level paths etc. It should also include a hill or steps.

6. The occasional long and short should be included to give the front runners a good run and the back markers time to catch up.

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7. Whenever possible very busy main roads should be avoided, and no check should be laid on or even close to a road. Quite apart from the obvious dangers of having a pack milling about near the edge of the road, there is the problem of hearing the pack calling over the noise of the traffic.

8. The last check of a run should be a particularly good one and bring the pack together for, ideally, a good flat or downhill run over a distance of approximately half a mile, giving everybody a chance to stretch their legs.

9. If you wish, you may on this last sector of the run indicate ON HOME which means that each runner is now free to make their own way, over whichever route they feel is quickest to the run venue, but for the benefit of those who are not familiar with that particular area you must maintain a correct trail back to the run venue. After the run the Hares are responsible for checking that all the runners have returned. If any are still missing after a reasonable period of time, they must organise search parties.

10. As Hashing is strictly non-competitive there will be times when new or un-fit Hashers lag behind the pack. It is good policy for one of the Hares, or the Hare, if the trail has only been set by one Hare, to remain at the back of the pack during the run to point any straggler in the right direction, and to ensure that nobody gets lost or left behind. Although it is ‘frowned upon’, all Hashers are susceptible to taking short cuts and are lovingly referred to as SCB’s (Short Cutting B******s) and every Hasher has at one time or other attained this title. So again, it is good policy for the Hare to note when he is setting the run any Short Cuts that may be used for the benefit of new Hashers. If this tactic is employed, it is ESSENTIAL that the Hare does not let the main pack see the SCB’s waiting at a point on the trail, thus indicating to them where the trail is going. Keep them out of sight until the front runners or main pack have arrived.

Finally to all runners, the Hares have taken some time and trouble to ensure that your run will be as enjoyable as possible. Do not spoil it by acting in an unhashma-like manner whilst running. CALL as appropriate and if necessary return along the trail until the next runner has been contacted and knows the direction in which you are running. You should call ‘ON ON’ at each mark once you have established you are ‘ON’. On hearing ‘ARE YOU ON?’ give the appropriate reply i.e. ‘ON’ ‘CHECKING’ ‘CHECK BACK’ ‘ON HOME’. This applies to all runners – front, middle and back.


Hashing is social running, and is enjoyable for what each person gets out of it. Whether you are an experienced runner or a beginner, each should respect what the other benefits from Hashing. If the experienced Hasher wants to do a lot of running during the Hash, he does this by being up near the front of the pack and doing a lot of checking, and the new or social runners can have their satisfaction by just getting around the trail, even if it means taking the occasional short cut, and both have the pleasure and satisfaction of each other’s company after the run.


© 2018, Flying Booger. All rights reserved.

About Flying Booger  Hash House Harrier, man about town.


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