If you're looking for a new social group, and don't mind a big of exercise, then Hash House Harriers could be just the mix you're looking for. Hash Groups take to Adelaide every week to go on an organised run, and socialise when they're done. The best bit is people of all fitness levels can participate.
Crossing a Stream on a Syrian Hash
If you've never heard of a Hash, it is basically a group of people who regularly get together for a run. Their route is organised the night before by people called 'Hares,' they set the route using markers for the runners. The runners are called 'Hounds' and they run the route. A Hash is organised so that everyone can run at their own pace, faster runners will set off first, with slower ones following behind. Hares will set false trails, the faster runners find out which is the correct trail and the slower runners don't get left behind.
False trails are just one of the interesting aspects of the Hash House Harriers. Each member of the Hash has their own nickname, you can't choose your own, these are given to you by other Hash members. Usually these can be quite rude or funny, and runners young and old will all have them. At the end of the run a down-down is held. This is a time to welcome new runners or visitors, and congratulate or shame runners for things they may have committed along the run. Often the reasons a runner is punished are ridiculous or often completely made up. Those participating in a down-down are made to scull a drink and poor the remainder on their head. Sometimes members are also required to drink from their shoe or the Hash boot.
Hash House Harriers are often described as a 'Drinking Club with a Running Problem,' and the socialisation afterwards is a big reason for many joining the Hash instead of another running group. As well as the food and drink after a run, Hash House Harriers will also often have runs for special events. Some of these may be themed and involve runners dressing up crazy outfits. While running is a big part of the Hash, it is still primarily about fun.
Drinking from the Hash Boot
Despite the strong association with alcohol, the Hash is also popular amongst families. Mums will run with babies and younger children can make up the end of the pack. It is a good way to get kids involved in regular exercise at a younger age.
There are currently seven Hash groups that operate in South Australia. Check out the Hash House Harriers' Australian website to find out how to get in contact with your local group. Prices vary, and usually include a drink at the end of a run. There are Hash groups all over the world. This can be a great opportunity to meet some new people when you're travelling or a good social activity to settle you into a new place. Have a go and see if you develop a six-pack or a beer belly.