Friday, July 11, 2008

0 The World Hash House Harriers (WH3) -- Hares on Heroin? NOT!


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So who exactly are the World Hash House Harriers? And what's up with the odd name?! ;-)

Sure the name of this international running club is slightly strange, appears vaguely British in origin, & sounds like they are gathering to do some slightly suspicious or illegal activity, but apparently it's all about having a bit of (mostly) innocent fun while running. Or, so it might appear at first. ;-)

Then again, the World Hash House Harriers (WH3) is often described as the "beer-drinking club with a running problem." ;-)

With a humorous tag line like that, I just had to see what this club was all about.

A motley crew of beer-drinking, feasting runners? Could it work?! ;-)

My curiosity was definitely peaked.

The website also states that "the only prerequisite to hashing is a sense of humor."

Let me just state for the record, that while I do enjoy a good laugh, running, & the occasional microbrew (albeit not while training!), I'm obviously not a member of this club (!).

In fact, until this very morning -- when I quite randomly happened upon the group's listing whilst doing a web search for local area running clubs -- I knew next to nothing about this organization, except for a vague recollection of the club's name. Yes, it all began innocently enough. ;-)

I knew I'd heard the name before but couldn't remember exactly where. Most likely, I'd probably read about it before on someone's blog & then forgotten all about it. For whatever reason, only the name had stuck in my mind, but absolutely no other details.

Upon further investigation, I found out that the club is primarily about the social aspects of running, with the main focus on finding fun & friendship on the trail. From what I can tell from many of the affiliated websites, there also seems to be awful lot of bawdy, frat-boy humor (Don't say I didn't warn you!), & the motto of the club seems to be something along the lines of "eat, drink, & be merry, and oh yeah, let's run while we're at it." Needless to say, the running is almost an afterthought. ;-) The main focus certainly isn't on the running, that's for sure. Or, to rephrase in modern terms, the basic objective is to "partay." ;-) (In fact, competitive running is often shunned by the group's members.)

According to the Global Trash Hash House Harrier's website, the Hash House Harriers are the "world's most eccentric running club." Hmmmm. So, would that be eccentric as in a "naked-quad-run-across-the-college-campus-in-the-middle-of-winter" kind of way? ;-) Or would that meaning be more towards "something genuinely odd & slightly disturbing" or possibly "offbeat, odd, but somehow still funny"?!

Well, anyone know the answer to that question?! (As I'm clearly not a member, I'm clearly not the person to be answering that question!)

According to one of the club's official websites, here are currently somewhere around 1867 WH3 running clubs in 178 countries, with over 19,554 members! And while there are certain female "harriers," it appears that the membership of these clubs appears to be predominantly male.

There are also apparently child-friendly, family-oriented divisions of the club, but while they may certainly exist, I have yet to see any of the websites for these clubs. A lot of the clubs appear to be adults-only or "all about the pub crawls." Part of the club membership seems to be about "having a really good excuse to run while intoxicated." ;-)

And, in keeping with these themes, most of the sites I've visited have decidedly adult language which sometimes borders on NC-17 (!) & also have images & content that are definitely NOT suitable for minors. They are rife with things that I dare not describe here.

While I'm certainly not a prude, I have to honestly say that I was a tad bit put off by some of the stuff I saw in my city's local club website. Well, it looks like the fun isn't so innocent after all. ;-) (As I said before, much of the humor & images tend towards the bawdy, so don't say I didn't warn you. And NO, I'm NOT going to post that link here. I'll leave that one for you to discover on your own if you wish.) I'd rather not go into detail, lest I be responsible for corrupting some innocent minor reading this blog. ;-)

Furthermore, I don't really want to give these sorts of things any air-time by discussing them, as I'm really not into the type of humor which objectifies women in a sexist or misogynistic way. (And I don't like it either when women do it as "payback" to the men. It just perpetuates the cycle of immaturity & injustice.) It's just very unnecessary. Oh dear, it's suddenly gone all serious & somber in here.

Anyhow, as I was saying: I'm not quite sure what to make of this club. Are there any of you who are members of this group & can vouch for the organization in all its various incarnations?! From what I can tell, it appears that each World Hash House Harriers (WH3) club is different, so I'm not going to overgeneralize or make grand, sweeping statements about a club of which I know so very little about.

It appears that each World Hash House Harriers (WH3) club takes on the characteristics of their leaders & other group members, for better or for worse. And I'll just leave it at that! ;-)

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