The Spirit of a Thirsty Run

Thirsty hashers come in all speeds, from walkers to ultra-fast front-running b**tards (FRBs). A hash is a social run, and the goal of the hare and trailmaster is to ensure all runners enjoy themselves, can follow the trail, and finish at generally the same time. These hints may help to achieve this.

If you are the hare:

DO measure your trail, either using an online tool such as MapMyRun or with a runner's tool such as a GPS watch or iPhone app. Set a trail that the slowest runner can reasonably finish in one hour. This means a maximum of about 7km excluding on-backs. Adding an FRB loop can take it to 8km or slightly over.

REMEMBER that the purpose of on-backs and checks is to keep the pack together by giving the FRBs a reason to burn off extra energy. So set plenty, and don't be afraid to put a bit of distance into them.

DO give the FRBs some extra running by adding on a clearly marked section of trail that takes them the long way round. This doesn't need on-backs or checks if you don't want them.

AVOID long uninterrupted stretches of road that stretch out the pack. Make your trail twisty and break it up with checks and on-backs.

DO keep the pack together by putting checks at the tops of hills and staircases, where the pack can spread out.

DO include a drink stop if you can, preferably 70-80% of the way round the trail. This bunches the runners together close to the finish.

CONSIDER the sparing use of Regroup (RG) points, which require runners to hold up until the pack is back together.

DON'T trailmaster your own trail unless you are happy running in the middle of the pack and helping other hashers. If you know the way you tend to run faster and give away the direction at checks—which is NOT what you're trying to achieve! Either enjoy a rest in the circle, set up a halfway bucket, or enjoy a lazy victory lap while chatting to other hashers.

If you are an FRB:

DON'T hide at on-backs to draw in the entire pack. The purpose of an on-back is to bring the pack together on trail, not down a blind alley. If you find an on-back, turn around and head back to the trail.

DO chat to other hashers. It is a social event and not a solitary pursuit.

DO check the checks. If you get there first, checking trail is your job.

DO make a noise. "On on!" is the call, loud and frequent.

DO arm yourself with a piece of chalk from the trailmaster. You can mark off checks if you get there first, which means less work for those behind you.

DO linger at the half-way bucket: it is both an excuse for a drink and a way of getting the pack together before the last push for home.

RUN to the start of the hash if you regard Thursday as a training day. DON'T regard the trail itself as part of your training.

If you are trailmaster:

DO give a piece of chalk or some flour to an FRB. That allows them to mark off checks and on-backs if the pack becomes stretched out.

POSITION yourself in the middle of the pack. You want to be advanced enough to help with genuine difficulties in finding trail, but you should not be involved in the FRB pursuit.

MARK trail clearly as you go round. This probably means drawing extra trail if arrows are hard to find, in addition to marking off checks and on-backs. Somebody starting ten minutes after you should be able to run round the trail without having to do any searching.

LOOK for ways to help any runners who are struggling by suggesting short-cuts and warning of long diversions. Your job is to get everyone home safe and together.

DON'T give clues at checks unless the trail really has gone cold or the entire pack is back together and shivering.

ENJOY yourself: you don't have to hang at the back. Some trailmasters run all over the place, from the back of the pack to the front, to keep themselves entertained. The most effective trailmaster pops up all over the trail.