The Hash House Harriers are 77 years old.
The Hash was founded in 1938 by British officers stationed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After duty, it was their custom to congregate at the famous Selangor Club to quaff a few brews. One Monday, one of their number thought he would take a bit of exercise around the club track instead of indulging with his comrades. The novelty apparently was infectious and the group decided to hold a cross country run each Monday evening to work off the excesses of the weekend. Afterwards, they would gravitate to a local eatery they called “the Hash House”. They invariably washed down their food with their favorite amber fluid. The group soon became known as the Hash House Harriers. The runs were somewhat less than athletic and were based on the old schoolboy game “Hare and Hounds”.
Hashing in Kuala Lumpur was suspended during the World War II occupation by Japanese forces, but then re-established after peace returned. Subsequently, the hash began spreading like wildfire and the number of hashes soon climbed into the hundreds by the early 1980s. Today (2015) there are some 2000 or more active hashes in over 180 countries, including approximately 350 in the United States.
The Hyderabad Hash was founded by Eric “Digit” McGaw, an American employed by the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) on 18th February of 1990.
The philosophy of the original Hash House Harriers from their 1938 charter is:
- To promote physical fitness among our members
- To get rid of weekend hangovers
- To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
- To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel