Created by Kristal Tits
SO, YOU WANNA HARE?!?
Having hashed with the Montreal Hash House Harriers long enough to have 5 runs or so under your belt, you have undoubtedly dashed home and frantically searched the MH3 website for information on how you, too,
can join that elite group of hashers known as “the hares”. Well, hashing has no rules… but haring does. If you decide to hare a run, you are taking on the responsibility for the group's fun as a whole. That is why we have put together this little guide to help you along.
Before getting down to the nitty gritty, it might be useful to remind ourselves just what it was that Gispert, founder of the first hash house, had in mind when he started his club. The 1938 charter of the Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers said the club’s aims were:
• To promote physical fitness among our members
• To get rid of weekend hangovers
• To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
• To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
And so, if you manage to get all hashers through your trail with body and spirit intact, have them finish the trail at pretty much the same time, even though they may all be of varying running ability, you will have succeeded.
The Buddy System
For your virgin lay, you must work with an experienced hare. If you already have someone in mind, go and ask them if/when they would be available to set a run. Then go see the hare raiser to book the date officially. If you do not have anyone in mind, the first step is to go see the hare raiser and they will help you find a co-hare.
Selecting an On In and general trail area
Often it is easiest to find the On In first, the place where you will be doing your down downs and after-run socializing, and work from there. It is preferred that the start be within walking distance of the On In, so that people can walk back to their vehicles. This is known as an “A to A” run. Make sure there is sufficient parking nearby.
If you have the hashers start somewhere far from the On In, you need to provide transportation back to the start, and/or you need to have provided a car to transport people’s shag bags (bag with dry clothes, wallet, etc) to the On In.
Montreal often runs from hashers’ houses in summer and bars in winter. This is not a set rule and new venues are always welcome. Just make sure you have a backup plan for any outdoor venue in case of rain, freezing cold. Also make sure that it is a place where hashers can legally drink alcohol and will not be kicked out mid-circle. If in doubt, consult the GM.
The trail itself should be devious and challenging, but not life-threatening and absolutely not on private property unless permission has been obtained.
If you are not sure if it is private property or you can’t contact the owner, DO NOT SET TRAIL
THERE. Land owners will call the police. As for scenery, try to find interesting things to run on/through/in like sewers, forests, hills, swamps, creeks, ravines, business parks, public places, etc. Avoid stretches of flat blacktop with no checks, or run the risk of your run being referred to as a death march. Also, railroad tracks should usually be avoided.
Every hash is different. Here in Montreal we follow
marks made from various materials (see below for ideas). When on trail, we use the
check (circle with a dot) to indicate a possible change in direction. This slows the FRBs (front running bastards) who now have to find trail and lets the slower runners catch up. They either get three marks… and then a fourth mark to mean that they are On On, or they get three marks … and then a
false trail (three marks lined up, or a big X, or a big F) which means they must return to the check and follow another possible trail. Do not be afraid to use the check. It is an important part of getting everybody On In at about the same time. Also, there are
check backs (circle with an X inside, with a number next to it). The pack will be running along and without warning will come across one of these check backs. They indicate to the pack that they need to back track. The number written beside the check back tells them how many marks they have to count backwards before they can look for the
true trail again. True trail is what hashers call the trail that is correct and leads to the beer. It can sometimes be marked by the pack as TT. These check backs are also very useful to slow down the FRBs.
Sometimes hares will split the trail into two correct paths, one much shorter and/or easier going than the other. Often this split is referred to as the
Runner/Walker split or Rambo/Wimp split ( marked R & W).
At the beginning, in some conspicuous place near the car park, the hare should put down a hash mark (HHH), and near the end of the trail there should be a beer near mark (BN) to encourage the dehydrated. There are various other markings in the hash world for you to use. Just make sure you introduce them to the pack before the run starts, during chalk talk.
Trail setting materials
Chalk and flour are the standards in Montreal. You should have enough of both to mark your entire trail. Also, providing the FRBs with chalk helps keep the pack together as they can put down
pack arrows (arrows not left by the hare) and mark through checks for the slower runners behind.
In rain, big blobs of flour survive best. In a torrential downpour, shredded paper may be the only alternative. During the winter months, creativity is key: kool aid, grated carrots, carpenter’s chalk, crushed fruit loops, etc.
Just make sure it is BIODEGRADABLE AND VISIBLE -- that means NO SPRAY PAINT, and in winter, NO YELLOW LIQUID that could be confused for dog piss.
Let us say that generally, the average hasher expects to be out running for between an hour and an hour and a half. Therefore the trail should take 45 minutes or so to run straight through (without running back checks or false trails). More or less, the setting to running ratio is this: 2:1. That is to say that for every hour you are setting, it will take hashers half an hour to run. This is just a rough guide and each person should figure out their own pace. That means allow for much MORE time than you would expect when laying your first trail.
The overall length of the trail however, should also be dependent upon the weather. If it is sleeting or freezing cold outside, or it’s a hot humid day with a smog alert, the run should be shorter than usual. Use your common sense, and remember that not all hashers want to train for a marathon or experience a “Survivor Hash”. What this means is that if you decide to offer a very challenging trail, an epic run, something to go down in the annals as the trail of the century, then please offer an ‘out’ midway through for less keen hashers.
Directions to your run must be posted a minimum of one week in advance on the website. This allows more people to be aware of your run and helps out-of-towners plan ahead in the case of a visit to our city. In fact, if you know the general area of your run when making the booking with the hare raiser, let her know. Or, let the webmaster know as soon as you do.
When you send your email, you need to provide the start location and simple, clear directions to the start. Also provide any other useful information and suggestions, such as whether or not dogs and/or kids are allowed, what other items you should bring (sunscreen, lawn chairs, bathing suit, any special theme, etc). These details should be mailed again to the hash webmaster, and the hash hotline.
Unless you are 100% sure about the accuracy of the directions you provide, go out and drive them. Make sure that you have the exit numbers, names of streets, route numbers, right/left turns, etc. noted correctly, and that you aren't providing directions the wrong way down one-way streets or through blocked streets due to construction zones. Providing information on public transit is also a very good idea and appreciated by those without a ride.
And for you haring veterans out there, please remember that it is just plain simpler for you to resend complete directions to your venue instead of “Same as last time”.
If you are live haring, all it means is that you cannot put down flour before the run starts. It does not mean you cannot plan HOW and WHERE you are going to set it. In fact, for a first live hare experience, it is probably best to plan it down to the last street block and maybe even run it once or twice before run day.
On run day, the pack will give you up to a ten minute head start. Once you set out, you should be running for just under an hour (less in winter!). Make sure that you have enough time to get back!!! That means keeping an eye on your watch and cutting out previously agreed-upon sections of trail if need be. Of course communication with your co-hare before and during the run are essential.
…vs. dead hare
There is no excuse for a poorly marked dead hare trail. Just be careful to allow enough time for setting.
Keep in mind that Montreal is a very walker-friendly hash. Any trail must accommodate walkers and slower runners by using trail techniques such as Back Checks, False Trails, Hash Holds, or by providing a separate walkers’ trail. If you and your co-hare are live haring, it is not excessive to get a third hare to simply lead the walkers on a pre-determined marked or unmarked route. Remember that the aim is to get walkers and runners alike hoisting their first beer at about the same time.
We do not want to be losing anybody on trail, so if you think the shoulder on the road is too narrow, the bridge too rotted away, the curve too blind, then don’t go there. And remember, the hares are the ones responsible for lost hashers on trail. They must go out looking for missing hashers until everyone is found. You don’t want to miss the circle because your trail was poorly laid.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION on Beer, Snacks and Refunds
Currently, it is the hares’ responsibility to get the beer for the run. A hash cooler is also at your disposition. Just ask someone from mismanagement for it at least a week before your run. On average the hash consumes three or four cases of beer for a summer run, two or three cases for a smaller winter run. As much as possible, the beer should be bought at a Maxi or Costco type place, though Provigo will often have similar prices. Beer should cost in the range of 18$-24$ for a case of 24, plus deposit and tax. The hash does not expect to drink micro brews on the hash, nor do they want to.
Micro brews and depanneur-bought beer is significantly more expensive and should be avoided at all costs. If you are unable to go to a large surface store to get the cases, please get in touch with the GM and other arrangements can usually be made.
Remember to save all receipts.
No receipt, no hash refund.
Water is the only absolutely necessary alternative to beer.
If you decide to buy anything else for your On In, it must be pre-approved by hash cash or THERE WILL BE NO
REFUND. Since runs starting from homes are much cheaper to put on, you most likely have a small (around 10$) budget for snacks and soft drinks, but you
MUST CHECK WITH HASH CASH before purchasing any food. And again, no receipt, no refund.
Also please note that since the hares do not pay hash cash, they absorb the cost of chalk and flour.
You’re not in this alone. Feel free to get help from the mismanagement at any point in the process. It’s your run, but we all want to enjoy it. Be creative, have fun and good luck!