What IS Hashing?

Hashing has been described as a drinking club with a running problem. More specifically, it’s social jogging for the unfit, slightly fit and nearly fit. Runs are typically between four and six miles, and are laid, in advance, by one or more HARES, usually following country footpaths or lanes or, if not, with the permission of local landowners. There are CHECKS, every half mile, or less, where better runners can run further in endeavouring to find the correct path, and lesser runners can have a rest. HASHING IS NOT A RACE, the aim is that, because of the CHECKS and various FALSE TRAILS, all the runners, from the fit to the walkers, finish at about the same time. Runs usually start and end at a pub, and it is customary for HASHERS, after the run, to take full advantage of the facilities offered. Dress is usually scruffy running gear (trainers, shorts/tracksuit, T-shirt) - don't dress up, it can be muddy. Bring spare shoes, jeans, etc. for pub afterwards.

If you’d like to try Hashing, just turn up at one of the forthcoming runs or, for confirmation of venue, to arrange a lift or for any other details, get in touch with one of the contacts contained in this site. We welcome women, men, children of about ten years plus, dogs, mums, dads, grand-parents. Of any sexual orientation. Or none. From any country, politics, religion, creed, etc. Basically, we’ll take anybody! Cheers!

 Brief History of the Hash House Harriers *


Hash House Harrier roots extend back to the old English schoolboy game of "Hares and Hounds," in which some players, called "hounds," chase others, called "hares," who have left a trail of paper scraps along their route across fields, hedges, streams, bogs, and hills.  One of the earliest Hares and Hounds events on record was the "Crick Run" at Rugby School in Warwickshire, England, first held in 1837. 

Hare and Hounds as an adult sport began in the fall of 1867 with a group of London oarsmen who wanted to keep fit during the winter.  Also called "Paper Chasing" or the "Paper Chase," the game became very popular after its introduction on Wimbledon Common in 1868 by the Thames Hare and Hounds.  Early clubs called themselves "Hare and Hounds" or simply "Harriers."


The Hash House Harriers as we know it today was founded in Malaya (now Malaysia) by Albert Stephen Ignatius Gispert, an English chartered accountant.

It was sometime during 1937 when Gispert (or simply "G" as he was known to his friends) acquired a taste for the paper chase with the Springgit Harriers in Malacca (also in Malaya). Shortly after being transferred by his accounting firm to Kuala Lumpur he gathered together a number of fellow expatriate businessmen to form a harrier group. The first run was held in in December 1938 and the founding members included Cecil H. Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Eric Galvin, H.M. Doig, and Ronald "Torch" Bennet.

The local governemt decide to tax all informal and non-profit groups and required they choose a name, club officers and so on. So the group chose the name “Hash House Harriers”. "Kuala Lumpur Harriers" would have appeared a logical choice, but "G" decided instead to use the nickname for the Selangor Club where a number of the local harriers both lived and took their meals. It seems that due to its lackluster food, the dining room was commonly referred to as the "Hash House." As it turned out, the government backed down when they realised that these clubs would not be able to pay the tax. 

A.S.I. Gispert (1903-1942)

Albert Stephen Ignatius Gispert
Second Lieutenant, 371854
2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Born: July 31, 1903, son of Arthur and Remedio Gispert of 80 Breakspears Road, Brockley, London, England.

Died on Feb 11, 1942 at approximately 4:00 a.m., while in charge of a mortar platoon. 

Gispert and his men were killed in action against invading  Japanese forces on Dairy Farm Road, Singapore.

This peaceful hashing endeavor was eventually cut short with the advent of the Japanese invasion of  Malaya, in which several hashers distinguished themselves. Captain Gispert died in the Battle of Singapore.. 


Postwar Rebirth

Post World War II, it was nearly 12 months before the survivors reassembled. 'Torch' Bennett put in a claim for the lost hash mugs, a tin bath and two old bags, on the fund set up with the proceeds from confiscated Japanese property and run No. 1 was a trot around the race-course in August, 1946. Subsequent to the 1,000th post war run the celebrations surround it were considered to be such a success that the 117 official pre-war runs were added to the total so we could celebrate the 2,000th run as soon as possible. 


The Original "Hash House," Kuala Lumpur,
circa 1938

The 'Hash House' was the mildly derogative nickname given (for its unimaginative, monotonous food) to the Selangor Club Chambers, by the British Civil Servants and businessman who lived and dined there.  Originally, the ground floor housed the main Selangor Club dining room, and between the two World Wars it became a social center of the times, used regularly for lunch time meals by the members who worked in the immediate vicinity.

Situated close to and behind the present Selangor Club, it's function changed after independence and it became a key office for the local Water Board, as it was the place where all Kuala Lumpur (K.L.) residents came to pay their water bills. Sadly, it gave way to the relentless march of time around 1964, being bulldozed to the ground under the north-bound lane Jalan Kuching. The buildings housing the original stables and servants quarters are still in existence. 

With the advent of the Emergency in 1948, the Hash was automatically in bad official odor, as their activities were generally illegal in terms of the curfew imposed on most of the areas surround Kuala Lumpur and in the years 1948-51, they maintained a precarious existence at best. The turn round came with the famous bandit incident at Cheras.

This has been widely misreported, but what actually happened was that below where the Lady Templer Hospital is now, in an area that was then rubber and belukar, the Hares on a darkening and rainy evening came across some men wrapped in ground sheets sleeping on the ground. The following pack found the bandits on their feet but in the general confusion nobody got hurt. One member ran to Cheras Police Station and raised the alarm; the army laid ambushes on tracks leading out of the area and first thing the following morning bagged three bandits trying to break out. One of them was found to have a substantial price on his head and the bounty was shared among the non-government employees on the run (government servants were not allowed to participate in such rewards). 

Other colorful incidents related by Cecil Lee, include how 'Torch' Bennett once nearly drowned in quicksand, and how on one memorable occasion the erstwhile unathletic 'G' was actually leading the pack: sadly his moment of glory was short lived as the paper trail turned to be false.  Swimming would seem to be an unofficial prerequisite to all Hashmen too, for Cecil remembers having had to swim across a mining pool in order to get home after being lost on one occasion, and on another it is reported that several Hashmen ran in to a stream where bathed some unsuspecting Malay maidens. The girls screamed; their menfolk came hurtling to the rescue with the unsheathed parangs flashing, and the errant Hashmen broke land speed records in the eagerness to clear the scene. 

The Hash Spreads Out

The second Hash Chapter was founded in Singapore in 1962, [Editor's note: The Royal Italian Bordighera Hash was begun in the late '40s but died by the late '50s. It was later resurected by members of the Milan H3] followed by Kuching in 1963, Brunei, Kota Kinabalu and Ipoh in 1964, Penang in 1965, and Perth was the first outside Malaysia and Singapore in 1967. Even by the time of K.L. 1,500th run in 1974 the total was only 35, so the subsequent explosion has been spectacular indeed. The 1992 international list will total around 1,100 clubs in over 135 countries and all continents (including Antarctica) where the hash format is often adapted to environments very different from the neat rows of Malaysian rubber trees amongst which it was conceived. Kabul HHH understandably foundered, but what can it be like to hash in Sinai, Peking, Addis Ababa or the Falkland Islands? [Editor's note: The aforementioned second hash dating back to 1962 was founded in Singapore by Ian Cumming who is still actively hashing with the New York H3. He is also a primary contributor to every hash songbook]. 


The first attempt at an Interhash get-together was the K.L. 1,000th post-war run in 1966, and the spectacular 1500th run in 1973 when attendance was something over 300. Interhash 1978 in Hong Kong broke new ground with an attendance around 800; Interhashes 1980 and 1982 were credited with 1,200 - 1,300; Interhash 1984 with rather more Interhash 1986 broke the 2,000 barrier with 2,143. 

Attendance at Bali for Interhash 1988 was reported to be between 2,600 and 2,700. Interhash 1990 in Manila was affected by the then current state of emergency in the country, but nevertheless some 1,600 intrepid Hashers were let loose in Manila and survived to tell the tale. 

Interhash 1992 in Phuket, Thailand does not seem to be affected by the recent unhappy turmoil in Bangkok and, judging by reported registrations the numbers are set to pass 3,000. [Editor's note: Interhash 1994 in New Zealand drew nearly 4,000, Interhash 1996 in Cyprus drew 6,000 and Interhash 1998 in Kuala Lumpur had over 7,000 participants] 

* Taken from Hash House Harriers Press kit - http://harrier.net/presskit/shistory.html

Written in 1992 by Mike Lyons from the copious research material prepared by John Duncan. Transcribed in 1994 by Tom "Self-Executing Officer" Moore, On-Sec, Boston H3, and edited by Chas. "ZiPpY tC" Baumerich, On-Sec, Pikes Peak H4. 

From the 1938 charter of the Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers
  • 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