[NDG Monitor, September 24, 1997]

Runners in Red Dresses Invade NDG

     Women in red dresses are an everyday sight. Men in red dresses are less common. But women and men in red dresses running through the streets is highly unusual and just what people saw on Monkland Avenue last Saturday afternoon.

     The group of 30 runners was part of the Montreal chapter of the international running club, Hash House Harriers. In celebration of their 50th run and to raise money for breast cancer research, the runners took to the rainy streets in red dresses during the club's first Red Dress Run.

     "When I think about it, it's for everyone," said Concordia student and NDG resident Sandra Welch. "Even though I'm not the best runner, I can keep up. It's a very fun running club."

     Welch has participated in three runs with the club. Each run takes place in a different part of the Montreal area and the course is created and marked off by a different member each week. Saturday's run began in Westmount, travelled through NDG along Monkland Avenue and Sherbrooke Street before heading back to Westmount.

     "It's boring just to run on the road and pound the pavement," said the club's Grand Master Hash, Ian Hepher. "Someone goes out and sets a trail to keep the pack together."

     Hepher said the club is open to any level of runner, since participants go at their own pace, and there are even walkers who take part. Since the Hash House Harriers are an international club which began running in 1938, each chapter welcomes members from other countries who are visiting Montreal.

     The Original Hash House was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The term 'Hash House' was the mildly derogative nickname given (for its unimaginative, monotonous food) to the Selangor Club Chambers, by the British civil servants and businessmen who lived and dined there. According to one member, the diners decided they needed to get some exercise to rid themselves of the calories they were ingesting at the Hash House, so they started running along routes marked by paper, as they still do.

     Michel Desloover, a diplomat with the U.S. foreign service, was in Montreal last Saturday on his way to Burma from Bangkok. With 100 accumulated runs, Desloover said this was his first Red Dress Run and his first in Montreal. He was confident about his reasons for joining the club, which mixes exercise and good times.

     "I do it primarily because I like to drink," said Desloover. "Second, because I like to run and third because there are usually women on the run."

     For information about the Montreal Hash House Harriers, visit their web site at http://www.geocities.com/colosseum/1133 or call the Grand Master Hash at 695-1137.


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