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September 12 2013 / Emily

Hash Runs and a race report

How is it already mid-September?  Kids are back to school and I haven’t even blog-recapped some of my fun summer running adventures.

This summer I was introduced to hash runs!  And I quickly found out that the definition seems to vary.  I did two events, both called hash runs, yet they were completely different.

In mid-June, the Twin City Track Club hosted a summer hash run.  There were 15-20 members who met up at one person’s house, which was to serve as the start and finish point for the run… but the rest was a mystery to be uncovered.  What made this a hash run was the “hare,” a speedy runner who got a 10 minute head start over the rest of the group.  He carried a bag of flour (or it might have been powdered lime; they had both) and the handfuls he threw on the ground were our guide marks.  But the fun comes in that he was leaving false trails.  Most intersections we reached had marks in multiple directions.  Some runners would take each direction, looking for the conclusive third mark of flour.  At that point the call “MARK!” would go out and the rest of the group would follow that direction.  Some of the marks were hidden a bit, like on the side of a retaining wall or utility box – which is tough to notice when we are carefully looking at the sidewalk and street.

The ultimate goal of the run is for the group to catch the hare, which he is trying to avoid.  We had a grand time running around, searching for marks, and generally making a scene in the neighborhood.  At one point we thought we had completely lost the trail, but it would have been okay since many of us know Ardmore well – it is my neighborhood and many others live here as well.  The start/end point was about 0.75 miles from my house, so I even jogged there and back.

We were nowhere near to catching the hare, but we made our way back to the house and stayed for lunch and beer.  Quite a fun afternoon activity.

But speaking of beer, that is the other big missing piece of the hash run.

My July race was the Oskar Blues Hash Run 5k, in Beech Mountain, NC.  It was actually at Beech Mountain Ski Resort – on the mountain!  The weekend was the Bikes, Brews & Views festival.  This year they also added the hash run but didn’t update the name to include a run-specific mention.  That is okay though, we still had the brews and the views!

I headed west with a couple friends, and we opted to rent a “cabin” for our Friday evening overnight.  At first we considered camping but the stormy forecast and opportunity for a proper private bathroom made the cabin a nice option instead.  The headroom in the loft area (my “bedroom”) left a little to be desired but it was a comfortable enough little place to lay (and bump) our heads, if a bit dated.


I look enormous!

Saturday morning we were expecting to find a disc golf tournament at Beech Mountain.  My friend Aaron is a big disc golf player and had been looking forward to it, but the information or lack thereof on the websites left us confused at where to find it.  After a fair bit of wandering and asking around, it was discovered that the tournament had been cancelled due to too much going on that weekend.  The brand new disc golf course was on the same ski slopes as the run and the mountain bike competition, and it would have been a logistical nightmare.  So instead we did a little shopping and had a nice breakfast.

We spent a bit of time watching the mountain bike slalom warm-ups and time trials before it was time to change into our running clothes and find the start of the race.  Instead of normal bib numbers, they had blank bibs and permanent markers.  We were to come up with our own hash run nicknames.  Jane had been part of a Hash House Harriers club in a previous city of residence so she had an official name.  I decided on “Hops Hoar” and jotted that down.

mountain bikers, ski slopes and lifts and snow machines!

mountain bikers, ski slopes and lifts and snow machines!

Soon, a group of runners had assembled near the base of the ski lift.  A few people were in costume – we found out when picking up our blank bibs that there was a costume contest too.  Hadn’t brought anything to prepare for that!  The lifts were pretty neat.  They had been set up with alternating carts – the normal ones to carry people four across, and then others to carry bicycles.  Just like our race, many of the mountain bike courses started at the top of the mountain.

We took the lift up, and at the top there was a beer station with a can of Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils. The route weaved through a neighborhood at the top and we stayed on paved roads, jogging some but mostly walking while we sipped our beers. When they were done we tossed the cans – as we had been instructed – and started to run. Then the rain began. It had been cloudy all morning but it looked like we were going to make it through dry. Guess not. This is where our bib numbers started getting sodden and tearing off. I managed to catch mine and put it in my pocket.

post-race: note the pins left on my singlet

post-race: note the pins left on my singlet

As the rain came harder we left the paved road and headed down the ski slope. Halfway down we were soaked through and there was a tent canopy with some volunteers and a can of Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale per runner. We stayed for a while, huddled with the volunteers and a few other runners, trying to stay dry. The temperature had dropped and being soaking wet, drinking a cold beer and now standing still, I started to get cold. Decided to just let ‘er rip down the slope and I ran off with my beer sloshing all over the place.

Long before we reached any sort of 5 kilometer distance, we reached the bottom where everyone was handed a Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale and our prize of a logoed mason jar glass.  It was untimed (I didn’t even bring a watch), definitely not 5 kilometers, bibs fell off… but it was a blast!  After the race we changed and headed into the beer festival.  What a fun day.

beer festival!

beer festival!



Leave a Comment
  1. Darrel Wells / Sep 13 2013 8:41 AM

    Wow, Emily, that seems like a lot o’ fun! Thanks for again letting me live vicariously through your adventures!


  2. Dana Custer / Sep 20 2013 10:02 AM

    “hops hoar”- LOVE it!!! 🙂

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