Grab Your Red Dress and Get Hashing!

10 Aug

When I was in high school, being known as a “hasher” had an entirely different meaning. 🙂 I mean, you know…not that I was in “those crowds” in high school or anything…Wait, what was I saying…

Photo courtesy of Ryan Thibodaux


These days, in my running circles, being a Hasher has an entirely different meaning. The Hash House Harriers is the most unorganized organized group of non-competitive runners in the world. The long and short of it? They run, they drink, and they have fun…lots of it. Hash House Harrier groups call their meet-ups (which can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whenever they feel like getting together) Hashes or Hash Runs, with participants/runners referring to themselves as Hashers or Hares and Hounds.

The history of the Hash House Harriers dates back to December 1938, where it began in Kuala Lampur (Malaysia). A group of British colonial officers started weekly Monday evening runs where they would sweat out the “too much partying” they did over the weekend. (A hungover run does not sound like my idea of fun, but, hey, more power to ‘em!) After meeting for several weeks, they were told by a the local Registrar of Societies that in order to be recognized as an official “group” they had to name themselves and form a group Constitution. The name of the group was inspired by the Hash House, a local hunting and food club to which the men belonged. The Constitution they came up with is classic! Here are the official tenets of the Hash House Harriers as outlined in their 1950 charter:
• 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

C’mon…who wouldn’t want to join that club? Am I right or AM I RIGHT!?

Hashing nearly died out during World War II but has made quite the resurgence in the last decade. Participants find the non-competitive, relaxed atmosphere a welcome change from rigorous weekly training schedules.

During a Hash, one or more members are elected as the Hares. The Hares goes ahead of the group laying a trail, which is then followed by the rest of the group, often referred to as the Hounds. Hares employ every trick in the book to lay out false trails, dead ends, misleading routes, splits, and short cuts to do their best to throw the Hounds off their trail. This system works out beautifully because it keeps the Pack (or Hounds) together and working as a team…regardless of pace, speed, or fitness level. Hashers have to work together to stay on the right trail. The goal is for the whole group to make it to follow the right path and make it to the end, where food and drink await them!

One of the biggest events held by the Hash House Harriers is the annual Red Dress Run. According to Wikipedia, here is how the Red Dress Run got started…

“According to hasher lore, a newcomer in San Diego was invited to a hash; unbeknownst to her it was a running group, and she attended the run in a red dress instead of running clothes. After being mocked for wearing such an outfit she ran the trail anyway. Other hashers began wearing red dresses as a joke and the tradition soon became an annual event that spread across the world. The point of the run is that all participants (both sexes) don red dresses of various sorts.”

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/NOLARedDress


Can you take a small guess at what city hosts the largest Red Dress Run in the world? That’s right, New Orleans! (Shout out!) An estimated 8,000 participants ran last year and over 10,000 runners are expected this year! Whew! That’s a whole lot of red dresses to squeeze into the French Quarter on a Saturday morning!

This Saturday morning is the New Orleans Red Dress Run and I couldn’t be more excited!! I don’t have my red dress yet (I’m such a slacker!) but I can assure you that it will be stretchy, bedazzled, sequined, and fabulous. To up the ante, I have enlisted my other pregnant running friend, Jen, to be my baby bumping running partner in crime. It should be interesting, to say the least. Don’t worry, there will be pics…LOTS of them.

Have you ever even heard of hashing? Are you in a Hash House Harrier group? Have you ever run in a Red Dress Run?

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11 Responses to “Grab Your Red Dress and Get Hashing!”

  1. alli August 10, 2011 at 10:20 AM #

    Sooo disappointed that I will be out of town for this! I really wanted to participate this year! Have fun.

  2. amandasvids August 10, 2011 at 1:23 PM #

    Looks like so much fun!

  3. Jordan Trump (@trumpdabeast) August 10, 2011 at 1:49 PM #

    Darn, I thought for sure the biggest run would be in San Francisco or some other area of California. Guess wrong 😦 Don’t you think it will be hard to find a red dress so close to the day of the event?

    • katieRUNSthis August 10, 2011 at 1:51 PM #

      Me too! I thought either San Francisco or somewhere in Colorado would be good contenders. But no, NOLA wins again! 🙂 Trust me, I’ve got more creativity in my pinky than Martha Stewart has in her whole body…I can come up with *something* spectacular by Saturday! 🙂

  4. Amanda @FancyOatmeal August 10, 2011 at 6:50 PM #

    This post was a totally new topic to me! The only red dress thing I’ve heard of was to bring attention to heart disease and heart health for women. This looks like a lot of fun though!

    • katieRUNSthis August 10, 2011 at 6:53 PM #

      Really? You have never heard of the Hash House Harriers? There are groups all over the world. They are LOTS of fun to run with…sort of like a social run mixed with a scavenger hunt for trail clues! Its super fun! You should check them out!

  5. Jamie August 10, 2011 at 10:19 PM #

    I saw Samantha Brown do a segment on Hashing in Malaysia on her Travel Asia show. It was interesting. I hope you enjoy rockin’ that red dress 🙂

  6. Michelle August 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM #

    In Columbus we did a pink dress run and I’ve been to a green dress run for St. Patty’s day.
    Have you gotten named yet? Have an awesome time this weekend!

  7. Jessica August 11, 2011 at 9:09 PM #

    I never heard of those terms before. Good luck to you and Jen for the Red Dress Run! I would love to do it one year. I am on call this weekend so I can’t go. :…(

  8. Running Joke (@RedDressRuns) August 14, 2011 at 9:09 AM #

    Terrific piece on the history of the Hash House Harriers. You got it nearly all correct whereas most do not. The only hiccup was calling the founders officers. They were actually accountants who became officers only as World War II loomed. The Red Dress Dress Run arose from a 1987 incident commemorated in 1988 by the San Diego Hash Harriers in 1988, and arriving in New Orleans in 1993. The Hash House Harriers Red Dress Run predates the Heart Association’s Red Dress for Women campaign (2003) by many years. See more at http://www.RedDressRuns.org.

  9. Bar Hadari August 22, 2011 at 7:26 PM #

    The Hash House Harriers sound so much fun! I know that GOTRIbal is putting on a weekend retreat that will include a couple things like that. There will be a Happy Hour the night before and a full day of active sessions like Beach Yoga and running/swim clinics. Lots of friends, drinks, and endurance sports!
    Check out GOTRIbal and the event: http://www.gotribalnow.com

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