Running Wild

You are running through the jungle, bushes catching your legs, desperately looking for a marker. You hear feet hitting the ground behind you – people are getting closer. Someone shouts nearby. They have found a marker. Welcome to the Hash.

Idiom: Head start: A head start is when in a race one competitor starts before the other people.

“A Hash is a way for people to enjoy the outdoors with a group of fun people,” Nicolas Toft, who organizes Hash runs in Guam told The Word. “The concept is fairly simple: One or two people set a trail for people to follow, and the rest of the group gives them a head start, eventually chasing after them. And there’s beer at the end of it.”

Hashes began in 1938 when a group of British officers and expats living in Kuala Lumpur would meet on Mondays for some exercise after the previous weekend’s drinking binge. The game was based on a traditional British chase called ‘hare and hounds.’ In this game the leader leaves pieces of paper for others to follow. Today flour, ribbon or chalk are used instead. The game is popular all over the world but there are some differences.

“The ages of people running the Hash vary widely by continents: America has the youngest groups, and Australia and Asia have the oldest,” MR Toft said. “I think the older hashers participate because for many of them it’s become their social activity of choice, while the younger hashers like the trail running.”

Collocation: Take place: To take place means to happen. ‘He didn’t know where the party would take place.’

Mr Toft takes two different approaches whether he is setting the trail (aka the hare) or running it as a hound. While running he is thinking ahead and trying to make the way shorter and catch the hare. Playing Hash requires creativity. Front-runners have to be confused. Short-cutters can’t predict where the trail is going and the route should give people a chance to enjoy the scenery. On Guam, Hashes often take place in the jungle, so the location is important. Some runs have themes such as the Blue Moon run which happens when there is a blue moon.

The game also has its own slang. A mark is called an On-On. When the trail splits you’ll see a Check, which means you need to decide which way to go. If you then spot an On-Back you’ve chosen incorrectly, but an On-Arrow means you are going in the right direction.

Mr Toft discovered Hashing when he moved to Guam to be Director of Child Support for the Territory of Guam.

“It is a great way to see parts of the island that I would never otherwise explore, and that no one else has seen; it provides a large social group, comprised of people from all parts of society, who all have a similar interest and personality; it helps to keep me in shape, and mostly I love the gamesmanship that comes with either setting or running a trail,” he said.

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Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

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Hash is a social game of running. Someone makes a path using ribbons or flour. A group follows them and tries to catch them.

“A Hash is a way for people to enjoy the outdoors with a group of fun people,” Nicolas Toft, who organizes Hashes in Guam told The Word.

Hashes began in 1938 when a group of British officers and expats living in Kuala Lumpur would meet after the previous weekend. They needed some exercise to feel better. The game was based  on a traditional British chase called ‘hare and hounds.’ The Hash is popular around the world but in each place it is different.

A trail is a clear usually marked path. It often goes with the word ‘hiking’ or ‘biking’.

“The ages of people running the Hash vary widely by continents: America has the youngest groups, and Australia and Asia have the oldest,” he said. “I think the older hashers participate because for many of them it’s become their social activity of choice, while the younger hashers like the trail running.”

People need to be creative to run the Hash. The people who make the trail need to confuse the front-runners. Short-cutters can’t know where the trail is going and people need a chance to enjoy the scenery.

Mr Toft discovered Hashing when he moved to Guam to be Director of Child Support for the Territory of Guam.

“It is a great way to see parts of the island that I would never otherwise explore, and that no one else has seen; it provides a large social group, comprised of people from all parts of society, who all have a similar interest and personality; it helps to keep me in shape, and mostly I love the gamesmanship that comes with either setting or running a trail,” he said.

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

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You are running through the jungle, bushes catching your legs, desperately looking for a marker of some sort. You hear feet pounding behind you – people are getting closer. Off to your side a shout of triumph goes up. Someone has found a marker. Are you going the right way? Will you find your way out? Welcome to the Hash.

“A Hash is a way for people to enjoy the outdoors with a group of fun people,” Nicolas Toft, who organizes Hash runs in Guam told The Word. “The concept is fairly simple: One or two people set a trail for people to follow, and the rest of the group gives them a head start, eventually chasing after them. And there’s beer at the end of it.”

Since 1938, crazy people the world over have been running through forests, jungles, rivers, city streets and shopping malls. Hashes were begun by a group of British officers and expats living in Kuala Lumpur who would meet on Mondays for some exercise to clear their heads from the previous weekend’s drinking binge. They designed the runs to resemble a traditional British chase called ‘hare and hounds.’ In this game the leader rips up pieces of paper and scatters them behind him as he runs while the rest of the group follows the paper trail and tries to catch him. It’s done a bit more environmentally sensitively nowadays – Mr Toft says the trail setter now uses a single pile of flour, ribbon or chalk mark to indicate you are on the trail.

“The Hash is slightly different from place to place. Each group will have its own traditions, and there is no centralized authority,” Mr Toft said. “Disorganization is part of the fun, and the only thing taken seriously is the need to not take anything seriously.”

Pun explained: To run wild: If we say people are running wild, it means they are doing what they want and are unsupervised. The author has made a pun because the people are literally running.

Hashing has run wild through the region where it originally started and spread across oceans. While it still seems to be most popular in Southeast Asia, there are chapters from Calgary to Chile to Cologne to Cameroon. There are international Hashes as well, with crazy runners taking over Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm for a weekend this coming August. While one of the groups’ mottos is ‘A drinking club with a running problem,’ it isn’t necessary to consume to enjoy. Different groups have different focuses (i.e. some ‘runs’ are more of a pub crawl) but Mr Toft says people of all ages can participate.

“The ages of people running the Hash vary widely by continents: America has the youngest groups, and Australia and Asia have the oldest,” he said. “I think the older hashers participate because for many of them it’s become their social activity of choice, while the younger hashers like the trail running.”

Parts of speech: Shortcut: This word was originally a noun which we used with the verb ‘take’ – to take a shortcut. Here the author has used it as a verb. This is an example of English flexibility.

Mr Toft takes two different approaches whether he is setting the trail (aka the hare) or running it as a hound. While running he is thinking ahead as to where the trail is going and if he can shortcut the marked path and possibly catch the hares.

“In setting, it’s nearly artistic, trying to create a trail that accomplishes several goals: making sure everyone makes it in safely before dark, keeping the front-runners confused enough so that the group stays together, making sure the short-cutters can’t predict where we’re going, and introducing everyone to some remarkable feature, whether it’s a cave or waterfall or ocean view,” he explained.

Since Guam is an island, Mr Toft says they are usually running through jungle and often across rivers, but the terrain will obviously vary by location. There are also special runs held throughout the year by different chapters, like Blue Moon runs (held at night when there is a blue moon) and Red Dress runs in which everyone runs in a red dress. In Guam, Mr Toft says these are usually held on city streets.

To add to the general atmosphere of mischief, there are names for just about everything – a basic trail mark is called an On-On. When the trail splits you’ll see a Check, which means you need to decide which way to go. If you then spot an On-Back you’ve chosen unwisely, but an On-Arrow means you are going in the right direction. If you go off the trail you’ll be called a Flyer and if you’ve done something ‘wrong’ (which is up to the discretion of the hare) you’ll be charged with a Down-Down, which is drinking a penalty beer. And at the end of it all there’s a little party for those who make it, with drinking, singing and general merriment.

Mr Toft himself got involved after moving to Guam and being told by a co-worker (his non-Hash job is as Director of Child Support for the Territory of Guam) that there was a group that did something similar to hiking but with more drinking involved. He says he keeps doing it for several reasons.

“It is a great way to see parts of the island that I would never otherwise explore, and that no one else has seen; it provides a large social group, comprised of people from all parts of society, who all have a similar interest and personality; it helps to keep me in shape, and mostly  I love the gamesmanship that comes with either setting or running a trail,” he said.

Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona

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