Essex Hash House Harriers "A Drinking Club with a Running Problem"
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HASH
Hashing was born in 1938 in Selangor, in Kuala Lumpur in what is now Malaysia. A
group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings
to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend by running in a fashion
patterned after the traditional British paper chase or "hare and hounds". They chose
the name "Hash House Harriers" after the Selangor Club Annex, where the original
hashers dined, and which they had nicknamed the "Hash House" owing to its lacklustre
food. The particular genius of the founding father, A S Ignatius Gispert, nicknamed
"G", was to make the traditional hare & hounds running more fun for the main pack
by finding a way of making it non-competitive.
Sadly ‘G’ died defending Singapore against the invading Japanese forces in 1942 however
the club continued. After the war, the authorities in Kuala Lumpur required all clubs
to publish a constitution. The objectives of the Hash House Harriers were recorded
“To promote physical fitness among our members”
“WTo 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”
Subsequently, as original members took on other assignments or repatriated, new chapters
were formed and so the hash began to spread. In 1962, Ian Cumming founded the second
major chapter in Singapore. Hashing continued to spread through the Far East and
the South Pacific, Europe, North America, expanding rapidly during the mid-1970s.
By 2000 there were 1570 active hash clubs in 184 countries…
The development of the internet has made it much easier to contact clubs and so many
seasoned hashers make a point of connecting up with local clubs whenever they travel-
nothing can beat a hash as a way to find your bearings in a new location.
Most clubs periodically run celebration events when they invite members of other
clubs to join them for a weekend. On a grander scale, there is a biennial UK Nash
Hash and even Interhashes, attended by hashers from all over the globe.