Article by Foot Fetish
The Hash House Harriers is the largest running organisation in the world, with running groups dotting the world over, in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, Oceania and everywhere in between. However, they are a running club with a special difference; they love to drink beer, will sing songs, try to get each other lost on the runs and generally enjoy a generous dose of tomfoolery along the way. Not only is the Hash House Harriers the largest running club in the world, it is also the most fun!
Hash Running was started by British expats, living and working in Malaysia before World War II. The idea was to have regular get-togethers, do some running, but also drink some cold beers in the hot Malaysia summer. One of the Brits ran first, leaving trails of paper and chalk arrows on trees, pavement and walls, then the rest of the group had to try to find him later in the day by following his hidden marks. At the end of a sweaty and hot run, he was waiting for them with cold beer. Hash Running was born and began to slowly spread around the world.
Today, there are Hash House Harriers groups in over 50 countries…including China! Indeed, there are Hash kennels in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Haikou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Chengdu and right here in Xi’an! In fact, the Xi’an Hash House Harriers is fast-becoming one of the biggest and best Hash House clubs in all of China.
Each year, many of the Hash Run groups around the world hold a special charity event, where members all wear a Red Dress (both the girls and the guys!) and run around the city trying to find the trail and, in doing so, raise money for local charitable organisations. The first ever Red Dress Run was in San Diego, California, USA back in 1989, and since then, millions of dollars have been raised globally to help numerous charity.
This year was the first ever Red Dress Run by the Xi’an Hash House Harriers, and boy, was it an amazing event!
The charity chosen was a local charity called the Yellow River Soup Kitchen, which provides free hot meals to the homeless in Xi’an, as well as free blankets and clothing in the cold winter. The charity also donates clothes, medical supplies, aid and support to those most in need in Xi’an and its surrounding areas, and we are delighted to announce that the Red Dress Hash Run managed to raise more than 2,600RMB for this amazing cause.
The run itself began from the south gate of Jiaotong University, with the two “hares” (the name we give to those laying the trail for the others to follow) starting out five minutes before the chasing pack! The two hares were Foot Fetish and Juicy Milky Udders (Hash Runners get a “Hash Name”, usually adult-themed, after they have completed five Hash Runs), and they ran off marking arrows on the pavement and trees with chalk.
After about 3km, we came to our first ‘Beer Stop’ (drinking beer on Hash Runs is compulsory!), so we rested for 20 minutes, drank some cold beer, then ran again, this time with two new hares (Tour Whore and No Name Richard). At this point, the running group (all wearing Red Dresses, don’t forget) got completely lost and were running back and forth trying to find chalk arrows, not an unusual thing in Hash Running, where getting lost is common and constant!
After another quick beer stop, the trail found itself going through the lovely Xingqing Park, with over 35 people, all in beautiful red dresses, having fun and staying ‘On Trail’.
After a total of about 10km, we finally got to the end, where we ‘circled up’ for the Down Down – this is where we talk about the run, sing songs, play games and drink more beer! Hash Running simply has to be one of the most fun events in Xi’an! An amazing day, with money raised for a very deserving cause.
Joining the Xi’an Hash House Harriers is free and everyone is very welcome. We run in Xi’an twice a month, but wear running clothes throughout the year. The first ever Xi’an Red Dress Run was immensely successful and we look forward to another charity run in the summer of 2018!
If you like what you read and wish to experience the Xi’an Hash Run for yourself, scan their WeChat QR code to follow them and stay informed of their upcoming events.
If you would like to support the Yellow River Soup Kitchen without having to put on your eveningwear, please visit http://ww.yellowrivercharity.com/en/want-to-help
Foot Fetish is the benevolent overlord of the Xi’an HHH.