Hare & Hounds Running, A Social Workout
How would you like to run (or walk) 3 to 5 miles and have so much fun, you forget you are getting a workout? That’s the idea behind the East Hill Hare and Hounds Running Club. But do you know the history of Hare and Hounds, or even Cross Country Running?
I’ll present a short history before sharing how you, too, can experience this great passtime that is enjoyed around the world.
LONG before running tracks and spiked shoes were known, our ancestors settled their disputes of superiority in regard to their powers of speed by running across the meadows and plains. But cross country running as an organized sport didn’t begin until 1837, when the Rugby School in England had their first annual Crick Run, a form of Cross Country Championship. The Crick Run has been held every year since.
This type of running was also called Hare and Hounds running because the course, or “trail” would be laid by “Hares” using small squares of paper scattered along the ground for the runners to follow. In the mid 19th Century in England it was not uncommon to have an open Hare and Hounds run as a main activity at a local festival. Some would run for the ribbon, and others for the activity itself. These type of runs quickly spread to the United States.
In 1868, members of Thames Rowing Club looking for winter exercise formed the Thames Hare and Hounds Runners on the south-west fringes of London, England. Other Universities quickly followed suit in the next three years and the English Cross Country Union was formed in 1883. All of these original clubs are still thriving today.
The popularity of Hare and Hounds running spread worldwide as a result of the Hash House Harriers, often called the Hash. The Hash began as a group of British Colonial Officers and expatriates started running together on Monday nights in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was a way to get a bit of exercise before socializing around large quantities of beer. That was in 1938, and today there are close to 2000 Hash Clubs around the world, including several along the Gulf Coast.
So now you know the history, but what exactly is Hashing or Hare and Hounds running? Hare and Hounds running has, quite obviously, Hares and Hounds. The Hares, those who design and plan the run, leave 10 minutes ahead of the Hounds, those running the trail. The Hares use flour, chalk, toilet paper and other clues to mark a trail. The Hounds work together, with the faster of the runners leaving additional, more obvious markings to ease the trail for those coming along more slowly. A good trail will have the walkers reach the end within a few minutes of even the fastest runners.
Locally, the East Hill Hare and Hounds Running Club, was formed in May of 2008. The Club runs on the second and fourth Sundays of each month from various locations in and around East Hill and Downtown, Pensacola. The runs offer two distances on each run. They can vary, but the shorter distance is roughly 2.5 miles and the longer is close to 4. All runners and walkers are welcome with no need to pre-register.
Anyone who has enjoyed one of these runs on a beautiful fall afternoon, and experienced the invigorating effects, will never avoid an opportunity to take part in this popular outdoor sport. The often-serious runner who is urged to participate by the enthusiasm of these more playful runners, will increase his or her powers of endurance, gain health and strength and see Nature in all her beauty… not to mention make new friends and enjoy copious quantities of refreshing beverage. Can you say, “On On!”?
For information on the location and start time for our next run, check out our Events Calendar on the right side of this page.