Hash House Harriers, the drinking club with a running problem

April 22, 2015

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Have you ever heard of the Hash House Harriers? It is a worldwide network of local clubs who describe themselves as drinking clubs with a running problem. They meet once a week to first go running in the mountain then they booze together. After I was brought to one of their event last year, I volunteered to create their new website. Let me tell you how fun their events are and how I helped them.

A bit of history

The first Hash House Harrier group was created in 1938 in Malaysia, by a group of expatriates. The idea was to first do some exercise by running in the mountain, and at the end of the run participants gather and drink beers together in a cheerful atmosphere.

The group became quite popular, and similar groups popped up everywhere in the world.

Hop on the bus

I live in Taipei, Taiwan, and the local House Harrier club is called the China Hash. They meet once a week to go running in the mountain. It can be in the outskirts of Taipei, or a bit further. On special occasions, the China Hash rent a bus in order to go running in a remote location. That was during one of these trips that I did my first run with them.

Usually, the departure trip is a bit calmer than the return trip, so I’ll fast forward for now.

Follow the hare and the flour

For each run, there is a Hare. It is the leader of the run. He must know well the path, and he usually starts with a couple of minutes of advance.

He carries with him some flour. He uses it to indicate the direction to follow. In the tropical forest, nature is very dense and paths can be quite difficult to follow.

Checking … On-On!

If you happen to be lost, you have to shout “Checking”.

When someone finds the right direction, he or she shouts “On-On”.

Hurry-up, the race is on!

Hash House Harrier clubs are more or less competitive. The China Hash, the local club of Taipei is. They maintain a record of who arrived first for each run, and at the end of each season the best runners receive some rewards. But each local club is different in this regard. In any case, everyone is welcome to participate, whether you want to compete or not.

Drinking time

After the run, it is time for relaxing. Participants have a chance to drink and socialize. If it happens to be a bus run, the return trip can be quite eventful, but I will not go into too many details and let you the chance to experience it by yourself!

The new website of the China Hash

After I saw the old website of the China Hash, I offered them to do a new website for them. They gladly accepted, and I was happy to volunteer for this work.

However, they needed a specific functionality to allow participants to register for bus runs, and manage registrations as well as a waiting list. I first tried to find a plugin for that, but none of them really matched our requirements.

Finally, I took this opportunity to create my first WordPress plugin. Later on, I decided to upload it to the WordPress plugin repository, under the name of Events RSVP. After a few weeks, there already have been 57 downloads. I expect to have 1000 downloads one year from now. I will add new features regularly. More on that in another article.

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