Every second Sunday, at 4.30pm, the Hash House Horrors meet for a children's fun run .We joined them yesterday to see what it was all about, and to enjoy a bit of outdoor adventure.

The general idea of this kids' run is based on the original Hare and Harrier sport, or Paper Chase, which was popular in Britain in the 19th century. The modern version was started in 1938 in Malaya, by a Brit by the name of Albert Stephen Ignatius Gispert. He was fond of the Paper Chase, so gathered together several expatriates to form a group in Kuala Lumpur called the Hash House Harriers. The fraternity received its name from the Selangor Club Chambers, which due to its lackluster food was commonly referred to as the 'Hash House'.

The Hash House Horrors is a junior version and is non-competitive and very much based on camaraderie. There is a circle time after the run with songs, games (usually a tug-o-war),a meal, icecream and sweets given out to the kids.

A trail is set earlier in the day by the 'Hares' (children with their parents' supervision), who mark the trail with splashes of flour and strips of paper. Once the run begins, the runners, or 'harriers" just follow the flour and paper, calling out "on-on!" when they see a marker which lets the slower runners know they are on the right trail. The Hares had done a great job in marking the trail yesterday, and my kids were getting right into shouting out the "on-on".

Every run is different and the settings vary from places like Pulau Ubin to Bukit Timar Nature Reserve. The idea is for the Hares to set a challenging path; through jungle, down steep hills, and through water, so the trail is varied and interesting.

The trail yesterday certainly was that. Expect to get wet, and mud is inevitable. According to the kids, the best part of the run was wading along a shallow creek and climbing up the muddy embankment. There had been a heavy downpour earlier in the day, so some steep areas were very slippery.

It was quite a big turnout yesterday-perhaps 30 families, so we were never in danger of getting lost, but as the run progressed, we did spread out a fair bit and could always hear the "on-on" up ahead somewhere.

There is always a long and a short version of the trail, and most people with small children took the short route yesterday. This took about 45 minutes (walking most of the way), so we were ready for a cold drink at the end. The meal for the kids was fish and chips, cooked on a portable stove and two big woks and it tasted pretty good. If there is any left over when the kids have had their fill, the adults can buy a plate for $5.

There are also soft drinks and beer for sale, and for a number of parents I think this is their favourite part of the run!

The circle time was fun, with a welcome song sung for us guests. The song is finished with everyone shouting "down-down-down.." when we had to drink down our beer, or in the kids' case, orange squash. This reminded me of drinking games back in the bad old days, although yesterday we were given the option of pouring the drink out if we didn't want it.

A couple of children were given medals for completing 10 and 25 runs, and the 'whip' exposed any harriers who had misbehaved during the run. One unfortunate man was brought into the circle because someone spied him carrying his wife, piggy-back style, over the creek so that she wouldn't get her feet wet. The song was sung and the beer sculled.

The tug-o-war was fun, the kids rumbled for the sweets in the grass, and then it was all over. It was all so well organised and everyone was so friendly and down to earth, that we wont hesitate to join up.

As guests we paid $15 per child, which included the fish and chips, icecream, orange squash, and sweets.

If you want to become members, the cost is $50 for the first child, $40 for the second, with $10 annual insurance per child. No charge for attending adults.

Go to the Hash House Horrors website for an application form and more information. The next run will be 20th April, and details of the venue will be posted closer to the date.


Anonymous said... @ April 16, 2008 at 6:54 AM


This is brilliant find! And you have a fantastic blog. Please keep writing. I am adding it to the list of my favorite blogs!

Milly said... @ April 16, 2008 at 8:04 PM

Thank you very much for your encouraging comment Madhu. I love writing this blog, and it's great that you are getting something out of it too.

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