Friendship, exercise and fun are just some of the benefits the members of the Perth Hash House Harriers enjoy every Monday evening.
A ‘Hasher’ is a member of a ‘Hash’ club who meet once a week to walk or run around a pre-marked trail.
Hash had its roots in colonial Malaysia in the 1930s, where expatriates devised ‘the Hash’ as a way of getting some exercise before settling down to an evening drink. There are now more than 2000 Hash groups worldwide.
The Perth Hash House Harriers is one of 27 Hash Clubs in WA and was formed in 1970 with five participants, which has since grown to sixty members. One current member has been enjoying the Hash for 51 years. Many members also bring their dogs to a Hash run. The club holds a charity fundraiser once a year. The 2020 fundraiser raised $2500 for Lifeline.
The group meets every Monday and members move at their own pace. According to Grand Master (Club President) Ian Beaton, ‘Fast runners get a good workout and walkers enjoy the exercise.’ Previously described as a drinking club with a running problem, the modern Hash has evolved into more of a Men’s Shed where members can enjoy their run or walk and let off a bit of steam in a safe place.
A peculiarity of the Hash is that everyone has a ‘Hash name”.
These names are selected by the group and can refer to a person’s occupation, surname or an eccentricity. An entomologist is Ant-Man and a retired detective is Dick Tracy, a runner with the surname Price is known as Barcode and the origins of Chunder are probably best left unwritten!
Members set a run once a year. The run setters are called Hares. Hares map out a run that has a distance of 6 to 8 kilometres and is expected to last about an hour. As well as the correct trail, Hares also factor in a few false trails that end in cul-de-sacs or dead ends, to fool the faster runners and give the walkers a chance to catch up. Runs have been held as far as Joondalup in the north and Baldivis in the south as well as in the Perth Hills so members can enjoy diverse WA areas.
Hares are also responsible for providing supper after everyone gets back to the starting point. Budgie and Dick Tracy were the Hares on duty the night I was there. They described their supper as a feast of gourmet buns, barbecued corned beef, excellent sauces and every salad ingredient on the shelves at Coles. As well as supper, Hashers enjoy, wine, beer or soft drinks.
The Perth Hash House Harriers has a dedicated club van that has solar panels, LED lights and a barbecue.
Socially the Hashers hold lunches every month, twice a year sundowners where partners are invited and joint runs with other Perth Hash groups including women’s groups who are known as Harriettes.
Hashers often attend the biennial Interhash, which is a get-together for clubs worldwide. Perth House Hash Harriers members have attended Interhash meetings in China, India, the UK, Thailand and Fiji among others. WA hosted the Interhash in 2008 attracting 4,500 participants and thousands of spectators and boosting the WA economy by an estimated $6.3m.
The Nash Hash for Australian hashers (men and women) is held once a year and has proven very popular. 2021’s Nash Hash is being held in Adelaide later this year and many WA Hash members are expected to make the trek across the Nullarbor to the three-day event.
Seniors make up the majority of members in the Perth House Hash Harriers but men of all ages are encouraged to join or to come along on a Monday night for a no obligation run/walk and to enjoy the fun.
If you are interested in seeing or joining a Hash then head to the website for further information: www.perthhash.com
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