A cross country running group with a difference

MEMBERS of a different kind of Hastings cross country running and walking group enjoyed a long weekned of ‘hashing’ in Jersey.

The Hastings Hash House Harriers are a cross country running and walking group with a twist, and in June the groups travelled to Jersey for weekend of events hosted by Crapaud and Jersey Hashes.

Hastings Hash House Harriers

Hastings Hash House Harriers

Hashing is a world-wide phenomenon and it originated in Kuala Lumpur in 1938, when a group of British colonial officers and expatiates began meeting once a week for an evening to run. A hash is a combination of running and orienteering, as ‘the pack’ chases a sawdust or chalk ‘hares.

’‘Hares’ lay trails across fields with sawdust, or chalk on roads, prior to the ‘hash’ and the pack, a group of runners and walkers, must follow it. When the group sees three marks, all participants are ‘on trail,’ and it is up to the front runners to then guide the rest of group on where to go. But there are several false trails and front runners can end up running back the way they came.

Nigel Baker, who has been a member of Hastings Hash House Harriers for four years, said: “I started because I used to be a member of Hastings Runners and I used to run a lot but as I have gotten older hashing is a lot easier. There’s a lot less pressure than with other organised running groups because you’re not constantly running. You do a few miles and stop when you get to a checkpoint.

“When you are running in a group like the Hastings Runners everyone is at different speeds and ends up dispersed. But this is definitely more of a group activity!”

Nigel also explains the red garb, telling the Observer that during a hash race some years ago, a women turned up wearing a red dress and high heels, and although she didn’t know what the event was, she participated anyway. Ever since then, whenever hash groups get together like they did in Jersey, it has been tradition to dress up in red.

The Hastings group was set up in 1994 by Colin Daniels and Roy Mills and usually meets on the first Sunday of every month. Nigel added: “It‘s a great way to keep fit and have fun, and runners and walkers of all levels are very welcome! The run is about six miles and four-and-a-half for walkers. For more information visit www.hastingshhh.co.uk.