|"I've got the data from our run last night" @lazygirlrunning|
Based out of a local pub, Hash House Harriers seem to use running as a convenient method of building up a thirst for beer; ahead of the run, a “hare” lays a chalk trail for the pack to follow, shouting calls of “On on!” to indicate when the next marking has been found.
Having survived swimming around a lake in a gale in May, Laura felt she needed to go one better than just an “ordinary” hash run and invited me along to the City Hash’s annual “Last Pac-Man Standing” event in London last night.
“Do you know what we’re doing?”
“NO!” answered the masses.
“Do you know the rules?”
“NO!” I joined in this time.
“Did you read the instructions on the website?”
“NO!” we chorused one last time.
Pac-Mans each get a beer token. Four beer stops are located at undisclosed locations around central London. Pac-Mans run wild around London until they find beer. Pac-Mans swap beer token for beer. Pac-Mans drink beer. One of Pac-Man's fingernails gets painted to stop him returning to the same beer stop. More beer tokens are available from a man with a bag somewhere in Trafalgar Square. Pac-Mans run wild around London until they find another beer stop. Pac-Mans swap beer token for beer. Pac-Mans drink beer. And so it goes on. No boundaries. No clues. Just look out for several people dressed as ghosts who will chase you down the street and ruthlessly steal your beer tokens.
“What noise does Pac-Man make?”
“WACCA WACCA WACCA!” came the answer.
“On on!” the hare shouted and we were off.
A stranger in London, I follow Laura across Leicester Square, trying to keep up as best I can. Among the usual crowds of people enjoying a warm, summer evening, we spot one of our gang with a cup. “On on!” shouts Laura and several hashers follow us.
We eventually find two people hidden in Whitehall Gardens with a flask containing some concoction: grapefruit-based, undisclosed spirit mixed in. Refreshed, we wind our way back up to Trafalgar Square to recharge our tokens and sniff out the next stop.
“Ghost!” Laura yells and we find ourselves belting up The Strand. Even my most determined sprint isn’t enough to escape the tenacious ghoul and he steals my beer token. Back to Trafalgar Square we go again, shouting, sprinting, stopping occasionally to recover from a fit of the giggles.
|I'm wondering if, perhaps, the secret to running quicker might be to train with a man dressed as a ghost going “Whoooooooo!” behind me.|
There is such as a thing as too much fun though and Hashers should be careful on a run. Misdemeanours of any kind are noted and used against you back at the pub when the run is complete. It looks like I've chosen the right night to try my first hash: the “virgins” are spared and only the more established hashers seemed to be penalised in the “down-downs” tonight. Instead, I'm simply left to enjoy an evening playing, chatting, and belly-laughing in London.
Thanks very much to Laura and the City Hash House Harriers for my first introduction to hashing.