LSW Guide To Hashing

 

The Run
Typically a run wil be between an hour and an hour and a half. Distance varies depending on terrain.
The run will be advertised in advance as an A to A run or an A to B run.
An A to A run starts and finishes at the same place, as opposed to an A - B which finishes elsewhere.
Runners meet at the start and leave their bags under the watchful eye of the hares. For an A to B run, the hares load the bags into their car or a taxi and take them to B.
Before runners set off, the Hares (who set the run) will explain the markings they have used. The markings are explained in detail below but it is worth paying attention in case there are some nuances.
The hares will also say whether there is a Wimp/Rambo split i.e. a short and long run option
New runners may also ask the Hares for advice or a short cut if they are apprehensive about the run.
It is not in the Hares' best interest to have any runners go missing or take hours to finish, as the Hares have to go back out onto the trail to locate them.
A lot of runners opt to carry a phone WITH the hares numbers stored, in case they get separated from the pack or are struggling to follow trail.
New runners should also write their name and mobile on the run list especially for an A to B run
A torch or headlamp is almost always needed as the runs are at night.
Runners should bring their own water for the run

Hash Markings and Calls
LSW use 'closed head' chalk arrows where the chalk line bisects the base of the triangle to meet at the apex. This is to distinguish LSW markings from other hashes that run on other days/nights of the week and who also try to use their own distinctive markings. Flour is used in conjunction with chalk especially where there is no surface to write in chalk. There should be chalk or blobs of flour about every 50m to 100m depending on terrain/visibility. They should be more frequent in dense foliage or congested streets where they are likely to be missed. String may also be used to mark the trail if it is raining and the chalk and flour are likely to get washed away. Unless explained otherwise, if no markings have been seen for over 100m, then trail might have been lost. The exception might be where the trail is on a single path with no possible other route to take.

The point of the markings is to keep the pack running. The only time the pack should be looking for trail is at a check. Markings must never just stop or disappear - they have to end in a T or a CB. If the trail gets to an intersection then it must be explicitly marked in the intended direction. It should never be left to runners to find out where it goes unless it is a check.

Chalk marking

LSW chalk arrow showing the route to take. On seeing a chalk arrow or flour, one shouts either "CHALK" or "FLOUR" to indicate to others one is on a trail (not necessarily the correct one though). The letters 'LSW' might also be written next to the arrow which helps distinguish it from other hash's markings.

On on marking

This is an On On which means one is definitely on the right trail. "ON ON" should be shouted to let the rest of the pack know, particularly after a Check. The On On can also be marked without the arrow, so if you see NO NO then you are running in the opposite direction and it's time for a major rethink..

Check marking

This is a Check, with arrows pointing to the various possible routes. The letters 'CK' inside the circle are optional. A Check means one is definitely on the right trail and one shouts "ON TO THE CHECK". The correct trail from the Check will be in the direction of one of the arrows. Front runners will check each, or some of the routes, and return to the Check to T any of the false arrows, so runners behind will know which are wrong, and save them having to check them. It is intended to slow the front runners, and bring the pack together again.

Already Checked

If one of the arrows has been T'd it means that a front runner has already been in that direction and found a T and come back to mark it.

Already Checking

A question mark on one of the arrows means that a front runner has already gone to check in that direction and hasn't come back. If it turns out to be wrong, then runners will return and T it and try another route.

Open Check

An open check means the trail is in any direction (as opposed to a 'closed' check which has arrows for the possible routes). The first flour or chalk after an open check means On On. Open checks don't have any other markings like Ts or Check Backs. On seeing the first flour or chalk, shout "ON ON". A question mark in one of the directions is like the above which means that a front runner has already gone in that direction, and again if it hasn't been rubbed out or T'd then it is probably correct.

T marking

A 'T' shows runners that they are on the wrong trail. One shouts "T" to tell the others not to follow that trail. If it comes after a Check, one returns to the Check, Ts it off, and tries a different route. A 'T' is typically 100m to 200m from the Check.

Check back marking

This is a Check Back. It means the correct route is somewhere between the Check Back and the last Check or the last On On. One shouts "CHECK BACK" so the other runners also know to look for the trail off the trail they are on, as opposed to going all the way back to the Check to try a different route. A Check Back like a "T" is about 100m to 200m from the Check.

Wimps Rambos Split marking

This is a Wimps/Rambos Split. The Wimps route is easier or shorter than the Rambos, and is for less aggressive or less fit runners. Runners can make up their own minds on reaching the Split as to which one they feel like taking. There might be a few subsequent arrows marked with a 'W' or 'R' confirming which trail one is on. The hares will say before the run whether there is a Split.

More information on checks
If one is lost or arrives at a Check, one can call "ARE YOU ?". Any runners within earshot will then shout out what marking they last saw. A call of "ARE YOU ?" at a check should elicit the response "CHECKING LEFT", "CHECKING RIGHT" or straight or down or up etc. (common sense usually prevails) from the front runners. If one of the front runners has seen an On On or another Check, they will shout it out again. This happens quite often as the back runners might have been out of earshot when it was first called, or were unable to identify the direction the call came from.

More information on markings (labouring the point)
The idea behind the markings is that they should be clearly visible to keep runners running. If possible they should consistantly be on the same side of the path or road. Where the trail has to cross to the other side, that marking should be hard to miss. A solid line of flour works better than a little arrow. In urban areas where there is street lighting, arrows or chalk under the light or on the lamp post are easier to see. Runners then anticipate further markings under/on the street lamps.
Random, sporadic or hidden markings that cross from one side of the path to the other guarantees a pissed-off pack at the end of the run = down downs for the hares. Some hares are under the impression that a badly set run means they won't be asked to do it again. The obverse is true - they'll get asked repeatedly until they get it right, and thereafter they'll be asked because they do it so well...

Where there is an intersection or open area, the trail should be clearly marked before going through it. There is no point in only having markings after the intersection because it means runners have to already know where the run goes before they find trail.... If runners miss a turn-off they will continue for several hundred metres then possibly chance upon flour or chalk from a previous hash and follow that to be never seen again. Checks are the only place where runners have to work out where the trail goes next.

Where flour is used extensively there should be periodic chalk arrows, On Ons or 'LSW's to reassure runners they are going in the right direction on the correct trail because one cannot tell which way a blob of flour is facing. The same applies where there is a Wimp and Rambo split. Immediately after the split the first few markings should have an R or W in case runners missed the split and want to change their mind. When they are about to rejoin, each should again be marked W or R and then WR when they are both back on a common course. This helps runners avoid going back out onto the opposite trail they haven't done yet. To a hare setting a run during daylight it might seem obvious which way to go; to a visitor running at night it won't.

Markings during bad weather
If it is raining, and in HK it rains, chalk and flour markings get washed away in seconds. There are several alternatives for how the run might be marked. It is normally simplified i.e. complicated checks and overzealous shiggy are dispensed with. Markings can be made with pieces of string that are tied to railings or tree branches. The trail is invariably straight and checks or turnings have to be clearly marked, for instance by two pieces of string. On earth paths, paper strips can be laid on the ground with stones on top to keep them in place. Fake bank notes called Hell Money can be bought from Chinese stationers rather than having to pre-cut sheets of paper.

Receding Hareline
The receding Hareline is a list of forthcoming runs, showing the run number, date, hares, and when known the location of the run. The principle is that everyone running the Hash should take turns in setting a run. There are about 125 active Hashers and the average turnout is 25 runners. With two Hashers setting each run, everyone can expect to set one to two runs a year. Not bad for the other weeks of fun!

It's better to volunteer for a run, rather than being press-ganged - one can choose a convenient date. Trying to find someone else to set your run on a 25th of December because you have family commitments can prove to be remarkably tricky.

Anniversary Runs
The Hash has been counting its runs since run number 1, which seemed like a jolly fine place to start. The 2000thrun was on 25th March 2015. Anniversary runs marking 50th, 100th, special numbered runs etc, are often set on a Saturday with pleasantly illustrated commemorative T-shirts provided to add to the collection already piling up in ones wardrobe.

 

Setting a Run

Lots of shiggy (off-piste), takes longer, especially at night. Bear in mind that a run set during the day will be quite different at night when people are running/crawling using torches. Coloured chalk gets rendered invisible at night.
You can never have too many markings, and regular On On's reassure runners that they are going the right way (especially for new runners or runners separated from the rest of the pack).

The job of the Hares is a not an easy one. Most runs go well, a few don't. If you've set a run you'll realise how much effort goes into it, often the hares taking a half day off to set the run. Don't be too critical of them - they'll probably get loads of down downs in the event of a fiasco.

The Hares should :-

  • Attend the run the week before their own run in order to announce where their run will be, and to do a write up of that run for the hash news
  • Recce their proposed route before actually setting it. Care should be taken for example, where gates may get locked after dark.
  • Organise a location for the start of the run that is accessible by public transport and ideally sheltered in case of bad weather.
  • Organise The Bins (cold drinks and ice for after the run).
  • Organise the On On (restaurant for dinner and down downs).
  • Collect money for the food at the end, and include a small amount per head for Down-Down beers.

If you are a Virgin Hare, it's best to set a run with a more experienced Hasher. There are plenty around who will after a fair amount of nagging be willing to help. Despite the description of the markings here, it is no substitute for having an Old Hand help you.
When setting a run, buy chalk well in advance from a local Chinese stationery store ($5 per box) - it can be quite hard to find, as the big bookshop chains do not invariably stock it. As a guideline an average run with two people setting, take a box of chalk each, and a couple of bags of flour each.

Hash News
The Hash News is an account of the last run and any down downs that were given out. It also details the forthcoming run, like location, transport and intended On On. It is written up by the prospective Hare(s), and sent to Ruggero who forwards it to the rest of the Hash, and posts it on this website.

The Bins
After the run, either back at the start (A), or at B, to where the hares have spirited the bags, runners expect cold drinks.
In the hot, humid months, June to October, more beer and "softies" are likely to be consumed at the end.
Most Hares use large black bin liners, or something similar in which to put the beer and softies, covered with ice to keep them cool while the rest of the Hash is out on the run. It is advisable to get this done pretty damned sharpish-like, as some of the Short Cutting Bastards can finish suprisingly early. Sugar Boy and Harty have been known to get back from an hour and a half run in fifteen minutes - the length of time it took them to finish a beer at the nearest pub.
It makes sense if the bins are near a supermarket or 7-11 that sell drinks and ice, unless the hares have a car to transport it all (heavy, and normally the last thing one feels like after setting the run).

Hash Cash
Bin prices are $20 $10 for the run, $10 for a beer, $5 for a softie.
Hash Cash will collect money at the end of the run, and in the restaurant. If Hash Cash is not around, the Hares should collect the money (it is, after all, their money that paid for the drinks!).
The principle of Hash Cash is to cover any shortfalls during the course of a year, where some runs lose money (low turnout bad weather, or people generally dislike the Hare) which the Hash fund can cover. The idea is not for a Hare to finish out of pocket.

The On On
The On On supper ideally costs about $100 a head (which can sometimes be difficult). People buy their own drinks separately.
Choice of venue and cuisine is completely up to the Hare. Most restaurants will arrange a set menu or do a deal for a block booking, and provide vegetarian courses as well. There are normally about 20 people at the On On, so they will often give a better price for drinks.

Down-Downs
These are doled out by various raconteurs after supper to any miscreants. Down-Downs are completely arbitrary, may or may not be true, have no right of appeal, and are a half glass of beer downed in one. 'Dobbing people in' (grassing on them) to the down down master is actively encouraged.

The On On On
If one still has a thirst after the On On, there is the On On On. LSWers go to the Queen Victoria in Wanchai - it might have something to do with the happy-hour prices extended to the hash, although any boozer that admits people with questionable body odour might suffice. There is little opportunity to shower after most Hashes, though Jeeves proved very adept at finding bodies of water with a suprisingly high ecoli count to 'freshen up'.