So You Want to be a Hare
You may have Hared more times than the number of remaining hairs on your head - or this may be the first time for you to hare for the Seoul Hash. In any case, the following is a list of pointers to keep in mind. Understand these are not rules since THERE ARE NO RULES IN THE HASH - but there are TRADITIONS, such as these, formulated over the years as a result of some major screw ups that we have no wish to experience again!
- Be Aware of Your Assigned Run Date. Being unavailable, out of town or inconvenienced by the date assigned to you to hare a run is no excuse if you wish to be considered a member of the Seoul Hash House Harriers. If you can't hare on your assigned day, it is YOUR responsibility to find a substitute hare and to inform the Hon Sec 2 weeks in advance.
- Advise the Hon Sec at Least 2 Weeks in Advance to give him enough time to advise the rest of the pack as well as to schedule with the capacity for last-minute contingencies.
- DO NOT rely on someone's prior run directions without verifying them yourself. It is commonplace for landmark signs to come down, roads to be renumbered and even traffic routes to be redirected in Korea thereby rendering last year's run directions confusing - particularly to new or visiting hashers. If you take the time time to set a run, it is well worth the small extra effort to verify the directions to the run site.
- INCLUDE your cell phone number in the run directions in case people get lost trying to find your site. No matter how well you may write the directions, you will be dealing with men who take pride in having "half a mind."
- An even more important reason why to advise the Hon Sec 2 weeks in advance is discussed in Point #3.
- Reconnoiter Your Run Site at Within Two Weeks in Advance. No matter how well you know the terrain - Korea is a "Land of Change!" Muddah Nature can change things incredibly via the last typhoon, Samsung Construction suddenly starts laying concrete where you expected your OnOn site to be, mobile beekeepers placing their hives in the middle of a strategic point of the run, etc. You need to walk the course at least once, pacing one-hour walk for every 20 minutes run. It should take two to three hours to set. The length should between 5 and 8 kilometers and set so that reasonably physically fit runners can complete it in about 45 minutes and the slowest in about twice that time. If a train or subway station is likely to be used by the hounds to get to your run site, note the exit number so you may include it in your run directions.
- Consider Your Terrain and Your Markings accordingly. Traditionally we use three media - flour, chalk and shredded secrets from the paper shredder. Each has its place and limitations – but all have one consideration in common – better too much than too little:
- Flour: This is our traditional favorite but since Sept. 11, 2001, it has caused the most problems as the local village idiots have too often run to the police screaming "Anthrax!" The police generally know better but they have little patience for the foreigners going around stirring up the populace. This issue may be passing with time but you should always check with the GM about this option given local and current political conditions. Often the simple fact that the locals spy foreigners leaving things on the ground can generate anxiety and a phone call to the local police. The advantage of flour is that it is totally and quickly bio-degradable and it can be colored with orange Kool-aid or Tang when used on snow or elsewhere. (In the US, some Hashes mix flour with water-soluble paint powder that is designed to be used in kindergartens as it is non-toxic; however, only those with PX privileges have any chance of finding the stuff.) One minor drawback is that sometimes birds and dogs will sometimes lap up the stuff when it is laid on hard surfaces. Also in strong rains it will wash away completely from pavement but it can be remarkably resilient on earth and grass if the location is at least somewhat sheltered.
- Chalk: This is often the media of choice when the trail passes through urban areas since flour and shredded secrets have a way of being blown away or swept up by tidy denizens. Ideal chalk is yellow or a lighter pastel in color and about a half inch in diameter. The large-size chalk is very difficult to find on the local economy but often the GM can secure it one way or another. Generally we use arrows that are about 6 inches long and on the pavement. Occasionally we use light poles but we should refrain from marking buildings since often owners can take offense.
- Shredded Secrets: This has been the most common substitute for flour. Like flour, this is often a preferred medium on dirt trails. In some ways this is the least desirable since it is the least biodegradable. However, if the finely shredded type is used, it is amazing how fast the stuff will decompose within a few weeks. Avoid using the type that consists of fine strips as opposed to chopped chads. The strips are easily swept up by the locals since they really are unsightly and can easily be picked up. Also the strips really are a type of litter that takes a good while to decompose.
- Spray Paint: Just five words on this topic: Don't Even Think About It.
- Final Advice: Consider your terrain and the weather. Increasingly we are discovering that a mixture of trail marking media, such as chalk and flour, is best to handle the varied requirements that make up an interesting trail.
- Set Your Trail Early. This is an obvious point but it is better to be a bit paranoid about setting your trail a half hour or so earlier than absolutely necessary than having the pack wait about for the Hare to show to start the run. If in the case of an emergency where you cannot avoid setting your trail as early as needed, be sure to clearly mark the OnOut (beginning of the trail) from the OnOn site before your set the rest of your trail. If the OnIn requires marking close to the OnOut exit, mark the OnIn after the pack has left.
- Plan Your Trail. A good run should begin with a clear OnOut of several hundred meters to the first check to stretch out the pack a bit, and should finish with a similar, fairly straight OnIn. A good trail might also include one or two loops, e.g., up one side of a short valley and down the other. Such loops provide opportunities for the "D Team" to take short-cuts (thus encouraging them to hang in there for a Beer Check). However the trail must not ever intersect. Otherwise it will create confusion and/or allow the Short-cut Cheating Bastards too easy of a run.
- The run should include perhaps 6-10 good CHECKS to confuse the front runners and allow the slower types to catch up. All checks should be clearly marked by a large flour or chalk circle on the ground or, when appropriate, by a large sign saying "CHECK." (See next section for details) The trail should restart within 100 meters or so of the circle, and may restart in any direction (check backs are okay), but preferably on one of the trails leading away from the check rather than out in the middle of some rice paddy or shiggy pit. Where the trail restarts it must, as always, be clearly marked. A really effective check will include one or more false trails marked leading away from the circle; generally, these should end within 250 meters or so with a false trail mark (two lines across the trail, or perhaps a sign).
- When placing checks and false trails, Hares should be wary of leading the Hounds too near another portion of the run that may pass nearby. Avoid difficult checks very late in the run. Another very important to keep in mind is should you set a long falsie, it is important that the True Trail can easily be found once the pack has back tracked. Failing to do so can throw the whole pack off trail since they will not know for sure where to look for the resumption of the True Trail as they back track. In such a case, the pack may give up on following the rest of the trail and your efforts from that point on will have gone for naught. This has happened on more than one run even when the trail was set by a very experienced hare who got a bit too clever for the rest of the pack!
- Understand the markings. Again there are no rules but these Traditions get pretty close to being rules since the last thing you want are permanently lost Hounds (see Point #12).
- Try to space your marks no more than 50 feet apart. Remember - depending on your media, a key mark can be swept away, lapped up or parked over so it is important to be generous with your markings. Unless you wish to deliberately slow down or temporarily confuse the pack, place your next mark within eyesight of the last one for the runners since it's not good to slow them down unnecessarily.
- Don't get unnecessarily clever. A common error of Virgin Hares is to slightly hide their trail marks - such as behind tufts of grass or leaves along the trail. This is okay when you want to be marking within eyesight of a falsie's turn off or near a check. However, it is not at all well regarded on other parts of the run since the idea is for the Pack to run - not for them to guess whether or not they are on True Trail as they hunt for your trail marks. So keep almost all the trail marks visible from even a medium distance. You will be much appreciated by the rest of the Hash when you do.
- Be consistent. For the sake of the hounds, be consistent in your marking so they know where to look. Best places are either at eye level or at foot level – but generally at the same level. Do not mix chalked arrows and "X"s. If you do use "X" markings announce what they mean to the Hounds before the run!
- Understand the difference between falsie and checks. A falsie purposely takes the Hounds to a dead end forcing the faster Hounds to backtrack to the last likely branch in the trail. Clearly mark your falsie or dead end with double bars of media perpendicular to the general direction of the trail. The bars should be at least 6 inches long. Checks are circles applied to the ground at a crossroads or paths' intersection. Sometimes we mark the circles with arrows leading out from the circle to multiple possible directions. Often the checks are simply circles. If you choose to place double bars at one false trail from a check, you must do it on all other false trails. Otherwise, you need not mark with double bar. However, all falsies must be marked with double bars.. A variant on a falsie is to purposely not mark a logical trail intersection and let the Hounds figure out where True Trail leads from there; however, this should be done with care allowing the trail to be relatively easily discovered within 25 yards or so from the intersection. (Again, see Point #12!)
- Use the right media. If your trail goes through both urban and rural stretches, consider using the appropriate combination of chalk and shredded secrets or flour.
- Consider including an A/D split. Often the best trails include a split in the True Trail into an "A" trail which is the longer track and a "D" trail, the official (as opposed to the well respected unofficial) short cut. In the cases of an "A" trail and a trail lacking an A/D split, the ideal length is about 45 minutes or so run for the physically fit (roughly 6 kilometer or so, depending on terrain.) Longer and shorter trails are acceptable but the Hare should keep in mind how much daylight will be available depending on the start time of the run and the time of the year. It is not a good idea to have Hounds running in the dark (again, refer to Point # 8). The "D" trail can short cut as little or as much as the Hare wishes but the Hare should advise the pack prior to the run if there is an A/D split and if so how much of a short cut the "D" trail will offer. Should you employ an A/D split, be sure to clearly mark the split with large markings of "A" and "D" with arrows pointing the directions of the split.
- Why Not a Beer Check? Occasionally we do a beer check where the Hare meets the hounds at a beer stop. It's important that all hounds stop in for a beer if only to get directions for the next leg of the run. Consequently it is bad form to put the next trail marks within close proximity of the beer check.
- Theme Runs Can Be the Best. Consider the run number, date, location, etc. as a rationale for adding a theme to the run. The theme can be celebrated with costume, song, verse at the Circle prior to the run and/or with markings, effigies, etc. placed along the run.
- Keep the Fuck Away from the Farmers' Crops. You don't like the maid mucking about with your funny plants growing under the sunlamp in your closet, and neither does Farmer Kim like you trampling through his seedlings, jeopardizing that extra margin of disposable income that he was going to spend on something from your joint venture's new domestic line. In other words, keep the trail away from farmland except possibly in winter when you are absolutely sure the land is not being cultivated. When in doubt, stay clear!
- Bring Food and Ice. One of the positive distinctions of the Seoul Hash ia that we provide at least decent grub for the runners. Consider the weather and the number of people likely to show up. Obviously a bit too much food is better than not enough. We have a soup tin for your possible use that holds at least 5 gallons of soup or chili. Sometimes it can take days to track down who is holding the soup tin so if you wish to use it, try to track it down even a week or more prior to your run. Contrary to some misunderstandings, it is not the responsibility of the Hash Hooch to secure the ice. Ice is always the Hare's responsibility. Also while it is the Hash Hooch's responsibility to deliver the beer to the site, it is the Hare's responsibility to carry it on to the actual site, put it on ice and keep it in the cooler while the pack is out. Food should not be served until the first of pack has arrived back OnIn. The Hash Cash will reimburse up to W50,000 for food, ice and fuel. Run patches, T-shirts, etc., are the HARES' option, not reimbursed unless approved in advance by the Cummittee. While we are on the subject, visitors should be paid up (US$10 or W10,000) prior to starting out on the run.
- Secure Fuel. The Seoul Hash has a tradition of a fire - sometimes only a protected candle flame and other times a decent sized campfire - depending on location and weather. Plastic logs (Prestologs) are a handy item that can be used in most locations. Other public places may limit us to some kind of candle in a wind-resistance holder. At other places there is often wood or downed tree limbs near by. In any case, do not assume you will find something to burn. Either confirm during your pre-run reconnoiter there is fuel on the ground or arrange for something to be brought to the OnOn site during the day of the run.
- Don't Be Shy to Ask for Help. A hare is responsible for everything listed here but need not personally do everything himself. It is still good form to ask others to assist in bringing in the ice, fuel or what have you. Also the hare should consider the season and location in determine the appropriate quantities of fuel and ice. Obvious as it may be, we often have too much fuel in summer and/or too much ice in winter. Even with half a mind – think!
- Locate Parking. Consider where drivers may park their vehicles and obtain prior permission if necessary. Ideally the parking (and certainly the Circle) location should be secluded or at least more or less hidden from human observation.
- Be Prepared To Rescue. Ultimately it is the Hare's responsibility to locate lost Hounds. This rarely happens but just so you know up front, should a Hound go missing it will be up to you to find on your own or lead others in a search and rescue party. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep in mind as you set your run where someone could potentially venture off trail and get lost - and where there may be near-by roads to drive out to search for a lost Hound. It is always prudent prior to the run when giving information about the trail to warn of any hazardous or tricky locations. It also appropriate to add to departing hounds, "Shortcut cheating bastards do so at their own peril!"
- Clean Up the Site. While all the pack will help you take back to the cars the litter and undrunk beer, etc., it is the Hare's responsibility to ensure that the fire is out COLD and that site is free of litter left by the pack. This means it is the Hare's responsibility to bring out garbage sacks for the event and to deposit the trash in proper receptacles.
Hints for the Hounds
Be on time. Run at your own pace, and rest when you feel like it. Hounds on the trail should shout "ON-ON" loud enough so those behind (perhaps calling "ARE YOU?") can hear them. When the leading Hounds come to a check, they should shout "CHECKING" at intervals until the correct trail is located. Once the trail is found, the lead Hounds should stop and shout "ON-ON" loud enough to alert the other Hounds, who may have gone checking in the opposite direction. Listen for the Horn; he blows only when he's on the trail.
Well, those are the basics. It may seem like a lot but often solitaire Hares put on the whole run by themselves. Other Hares work in teams of two - and we strongly advise against more than two Hares at a time. However, our Tradition is that each Hound should set a run at least once a quarter year. Again, please recognize that when Hares team up for a single run they also are increasing the number of runs they are expected to run per year.
Should you have any questions, please check with one of our EMs , the GM or the Hon Sec.