A Thirst For Running And All Things Social

Eleanor Colman

While studying at the University of Sheffield I quickly established a friendship group who were keen runners. We did lots of social runs, enjoyed some beginners fell running and completed Endurer in the Peak District – a gruelling mud race with lots of hills and some tears! Looking for a fun way to combine our love of running and socialising one of our friends suggested we did a ‘hash run’. She had previously lived in Taiwan and completed a number of these over there.


Hash running involves a ‘hare and hounds’ style non-competitive run where one member of the group leaves a trail. The ‘hare’ may complete a live trail where they get a small head start or this can be laid in advance. We completed a live trail where the intention is to catch the hare and have a lot of fun on the way. A hash run can be done on all kinds of terrain so has something for everyone. Ours took in the famous hills of Sheffield, residential streets, allotments and some farm land with some very confused looking horses! It was great taking in the sights in a completely different way to when you go out with a run already mapped out in your head. I got to explore places I had never previously run. The big bonus as a ‘hound’ was you never knew what was coming up so you couldn’t dread the hills!


A hash run is great for runners of all abilities because the way the trail is laid ensures front runners will run further, but still finish around the same time as those at a slower pace. The distance can be decided based on the needs of individual members. The trail layer can include any number of false trails and dead ends. These are marked by chalk or flour using a specific code for that particular hash running group. Commonly a ‘check’ means the runners need to search in all directions to find the way, an arrow or a straight line means you are on trail, and an ‘F’ denotes false trail and to go back to the last ‘check’. Runners can shout to other runners ‘on on’ so that they know they are heading in the right direction. The front runners will pick up the other runners/walkers as they turn back from any false trails or dead ends which keeps the ‘pack’ together.


A big part of hash running is the social aspect.  Trails can end in a ‘hash bash’ at someone’s house, pub or a restaurant. Some hash running groups even like to incorporate a ‘beer check’ where they engage in a little tipple and perhaps a snack to keep them going. Hash runners often say they are a ‘drinking group with a running problem’ and aim ‘to acquire a good thirst’ on route. Our hash run was on a very hot summer’s day and ended with a well-deserved picnic and of course some bubbles to quench our thirst! Why not give hash running a go and see if you can discover more of your local area?


For more information on hash running, check this out:



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