What is “hashing”?

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Hashing . . . it’s a mixture of athleticism and sociability, hedonism and hard work, a refreshing escape from the nine-to-five dweebs you’re stuck with five days a week. Hashing is an exhilaratingly fun combination of running, orienteering, and partying, where bands of harriers follow an eight-to-ten kilometer-long trail through town, country, and desert, all in search of exercise, camaraderie, and good times.

Hashing began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of British colonial officials and expatriates founded a running club called the Hash House Harriers. They named the group after their meeting place, the Selangor Club, nicknamed the “Hash House.” Hash House Harrier runs were patterned after the traditional British paper chase. A “hare” was given a head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, all the while pursued by a shouting pack of “harriers.” Only the hare knew where he was going . . . the harriers followed his clues to stay on trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and solving the clues, reaching the end was its own reward . . . for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of iced-down beer.

The Seoul Hash House Harriers  was founded in 1972, and has been running in the Greater Seoul Metropolitan Area every week since then.  Seoul is a traditional men’s hash, often hosting a bonfire and generally meeting within walking distance of a Seoul subway stop.  The cost is 10,000 won or $10, and for that you get as much beer as you can drink, a good trail to follow, a light dinner (chicken/sandwiches/hot dogs, etc.), and a good circle (sometimes around a fire) full of jokes, songs, and camaraderie.

Ladies are not welcome at Seoul Hash, but are  encouraged at the bar after circle has ended.  If you are a woman who’d like to go hashing, there are several other running clubs in the Seoul area who would love to make your acquaintance.  Seoul Hash is generally conducted in English, but you don’t need to know how to speak or understand in order to attend.  Men of any age are welcome, and trail accommodations are made for those who may be of a certain wise age.

Seoul Hash meets every Saturday at 3pm in the winter/4pm in the summer–rain, snow, sleet, shine, or even if the actual no-shit nuclear doomsday is occurring.