Hashing, as we know it today, began in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1938, when a group of restive British company men started a hare & hounds running group. They named the group after their meeting place, the Selangor Club, aka the "Hash House." Hash House Harrier runs were patterned after the traditional British public school paper chase. A "hare" would be given a short head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, soon to be pursued by a shouting pack of "hounds." Only the hare knew where he was going . . . the hounds followed his marks to stay on trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing down the wily hare, solving the hare's marks and reaching the end was its own reward, for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of iced-down beer.
Hashing died during World War II, but came back to life in the post-war years, spreading slowly through Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand, then exploding in popularity in the late 70s and early 80s. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs (kennels) in all parts of the world, complete with newsletters, directories, and regional and world hashing conventions.
Despite its growth, hashing hasn't strayed far from its British and Malaysian roots. A typical hash "kennel" is a loosely-organized group of 20-40 men and women who meet weekly or biweekly to chase the hare. We follow chalk, flour, or paper, and the trails are never boring. When forced to, we'll run the occasional street or alley, but in general we prefer shiggy . . .fields, forests, jungles, swamps, streams, fences, storm drains, and cliffs. And although some of today's health-conscious hashers may shun a cold beer in favor of water or a diet soda, trail's end is still a party. Perhaps that's why they call us the "drinking club with a running problem!"
After WWII, the Kuala Lumpur Registrar of Societies informed the hashers that since they were a "group", they would require a constitution. The objectives of that constitution, as recorded on the club registration card in 1950 are:
1. To promote physical fitness among our members
2. To get rid of weekend hangovers
3. To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
4. To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
Waukesha Hash House Harriers
A Drinking Club with a Running Problem
in the Greater Milwaukee Area