In Bobo Hotpants’ youth, and in the early days of his reign as YH3 GM, he wrote a thesis for all potential hares on how to set a trail in Yangon.
At over 2,000 words, it’s probably a 2-3 beer read for potential hares. It can also be downloaded in PDF here >.
“Notes from GM, BoBo, on the setting of a Run, 2003” is a thrilling sequel to the exciting best seller “Notes from JM, Sexpat, on the Setting of a Run, 1993,” which itself was inspired by an original 1992 work “Notes from JM, Derek on the Setting of a Run.” This new work, 10 years in the making, contains a wealth of new information and should be considered compulsory reading for any aspiring Yangon Hare.
As is well known by Hashers all over the world, the only rule of the Hash is that there are no rules.
However a few Hash conventions, for example there is usually a run of some sort as opposed to just going to the pub, help to define a Hash. It should therefore come as no surprise that there are a few conventions associated with the run itself and, while the Hare is free to do his or her own thing, history has taught that the pack usually appreciates a well laid and a well thought out trail. For the benefit of sundry Hash Hopefuls, Hash Virgins, Hash Forgetfuls, Hash Hares-to-be and others, the following guidelines might give some food for thought
If you are a virgin Hare, try to pick a veteran as a co-Hare. Contact any embassy Hasher to obtain shreddie or use chalk, lime, whitewash, flour, or paint marks – as you see fit – to mark the trail.
The run should be planned to take around an hour of actual running time, i.e. not including beer stops (as a rule-of-thumb it will take you at least double the length of time to set the trail as it does to run it – not including the time taken to set the false trails). It is a good idea to research the trail well in advance of actually setting it. Often a couple of visits will be required to work out the details. As much as possible, try to be original and try to set trails where the Hash has not visited previously. Remember that the Yangon Hash traditionally has a Walking group who will normally only follow part of the Running Trail and suitable short cuts need to be planned to allow the Walkers to finish at about the same time as the Runners.
A beer stop (or two) in the middle of the run is optional but advisable (get real …. have a beer stop!) Note that in the hot months preceding the monsoon (usually end March, April and early May) a beer stop should be considered mandatory. There is a real risk of runners overheating in the hot weather.
Avoid lengthy runs on main roads. Not only is this potentially dangerous and unhealthy but it contradicts the whole ethos of the Hash. The terms Hashing and shiggy are almost synonymous.
Let’s keep it that way!!! Off road trails are preferred.
A to B type runs obviously require some extra logistics. In this case announce at the meeting point that it will be an A to B run before everyone leaves for the Run site. Make sure arrangements have been made to get the Hash Piss to point B and that all the cars will also be delivered to point B.
If you need to organise transport (e.g. a bus) to move people during/before/after the run, contact Hash On Sec well in advance. (Ed: no longer relevant)
Remember to tell Hash Piss if you need paper plates for nibbles after the run.
Provide Hashers with a map to show the way to the run site unless it is very obvious and easy to find. Remember many Hashers do not know their way around Yangon very well.
Setting the Trail
Quote from the “Hash Bible”: A well set hash trail is a work of art – held in highest esteem by our peers and a source of great pride … May your trails always bring the pack into the beer and may you always keep alive that excitement from your first haring to your next.
First and foremost, make sure you use PLENTY of shreddie for each mark and lay marks at frequent intervals – at least every 50 metres or so. This is especially important in the rainy season. In the rainy season try to use some common sense and put the marks somewhere where they will not get washed away, i.e. not in road gutters.
Do not try and deliberately fool people! Trails are inevitably confusing enough as they are. Do not lay a mark on a corner so that it is ambiguous whether the trail goes straight or makes a turn.
Mark corners explicitly – lay the trail around each corner and lay marks after a corner or junction to indicate which way to run – unless it is a Check. Hashers will assume that, at any crossroads/junction, the trail goes straight ahead unless it is clearly marked otherwise. If you go off-road and cross country into the shiggy, try to lay a very visible line of shreddie unless footpaths are very obvious.
CHECKS: Checks are placed at the end of a marked section of trail and should occur at reasonable intervals. Checks are marked by a circle. (It is often easier to lay the shreddie around an object such as a pole/tree etc.) Aim for around 6 to 10 Checks during a run. This will help keep the pack together. After a Check, the next section of the trail can be laid anywhere within a 360 degree arc of the Check. The first mark of a new trail should be laid within 100 metres of a Check. On the Yangon Hash it is traditionally allowable to lay one, or more, false trails from a Check.
FALSE TRAILS: False trails are marked by a large cross. (Note that, in the monsoon, a cross
may get washed out and look just like another blob – so make it obvious – crosses should be BIG). On finding a false trail the FRB should call “False Trail”, signal a cross by crossing his/her arms and return to the previous Check. The end of the false trail should be indicated within 250 metres or less of a check.
In recent years, a false trail has also been indicated on the Yangon Hash if no more than two blobs of shreddie are found after a Check. (In this case Runners should call Off Paper and return to the Check). This is a rather lazy way to set false trails. Marks often get disturbed after being laid and it is often unclear, when counting blobs of shreddie, whether or not a blob is a real blob or just bits of shreddie picked up by some kids and deposited elsewhere and thus it is difficult to know if the magic third blob has really been found. Runners also never know how far to go to look for the third blob after finding the first two before declaring it to be a false trail.
Finally FRBs (Front Running Bastards) never know if they have missed a turn after finding the first two blobs of shreddie and can continue looking without ever being sure of whether they are On Trail of Off Trail. If possible, be explicit and lay a cross.
CHECKBACK: Checkbacks seem to have gone out of fashion on the Yangon Hash. Checkbacks are marked by a large “T”. A checkback is somewhat similar to a Check except that the continuation of the trail is to be found somewhere back along the last 100 metres or so of the trail. The pack do not return to the last Check. This is a useful device and can be deliberately used to keep the pack together (like a Check) or it can be useful if the Hares find themselves at a point where, when laying the trail, they cannot continue laying shreddie (e.g. at a dead end, private or government property, etc). By returning along the trail that they have just laid and restarting in another direction they can continue the run.
ARROWS: Occasionally the trail may cut across a main road and it is sometimes useful to lay a
large arrow to indicate that the pack needs to cross a road or head in some particular direction.
ON IN: This mark written on the ground notifies the pack that the trail will soon finish (within
less than 400 meters) and there are no more Checks or trail splits. If the trail is obviously near the start/end point there may be no further hash marks. This signals the sprint for the beer!!
SHORTCUTS: Try to plan potential short cuts on the run. Make sure that either you or your coHare stays with the back of the pack to inform those that need to short cut the way to go, e.g. injured/exhausted/overly slow runners. See also earlier remarks about Walkers. Many runners like a chance to stretch their legs at the end of the Run. Think about having a longer “On Home” section after the last Check.
LIVE HARE: A live hare is a variant of the usual Yangon Hash dead Hare style. In a live Hare run, the object of the exercise is to catch the Hare. The Hare should have researched the route prior to the run and should have planned where to put his marks. The Hare sets off with the shreddie and, at a predetermined interval, usually five to ten minutes, the pack set off and give chase. The Hare lays marks as with a Dead Hare Hash and can lay Checks and False Trails. Obviously it takes time to lay a false trail and strategy will determine whether the risk of using the time to lay false trails and hence possibly getting caught by the approaching Hounds is outweighed by the benefit of fooling the pack and sending them in the wrong direction.
If a live Hare run has a beer stop, the Hare usually waits for the pack at the beer stop and collects a new supply of shreddie before setting off to lay the next section of trail in the same manner as before. The Hare can organise for several depots of paper to be available en route so that he doesn’t have to set off with one huge bag. A well-trained driver waiting at predetermined points with fresh supplies of shreddie can be invaluable.
Set one hell of a Hash and have fun!!!
A well-set trail will generally result in all the runners arriving home within 5 minutes of each other.
The idea is to achieve this by a judicious use of Checks, False Trails, etc. and not by deliberately confusing the runners with ambiguous markings or obfuscating the trail.
Use some common sense when laying trails, e.g. try to avoid the possibility of the Harriers unintentionally short cutting. Do not set loops on a trail where the ends are so close together that someone might accidentally miss the start of the loop and continue onwards to pick up the trail at the end of the loop. A Checkback mark can occasionally help to avoid this possibility.
Be culturally sensitive. Yangon has some great Hashing territory and, since the Myanmar people are extraordinarily friendly, you will be allowed go almost anywhere. If in doubt, e.g. when crossing someone’s private land or going through the grounds of a monastery, get permission and warn the people that the Hash will be arriving later in the day. If traversing pagodas, remember to remove shoes and socks. Remind the Harriers to do the same if the trail goes through religious sites.
The Hash is, above all, a social organisation. The Circle and after Run drinks/food and On Ons are as much part of the Hash as the running. Hares are encouraged to promote after Run activities/dinners etc.
The Down Down area should have adequate parking and should preferably offer some privacy! If the run is held during the rainy season, it is a good idea to find somewhere sheltered for the
Remember that when the original Hash House Harriers restarted after the Second World War and had to be registered as an official organisation in Malaya, the objectives and aims of the Hash were officially listed as follows:
- To promote physical fitness among members
- To get rid of weekend hangovers (they ran on Monday evenings)
- To acquire a good thirst and satisfy it in beer
- To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
Membership is open to all male persons who are interested in taking part in a weekly crosscountry paper chase.(The original club was, and still is, male only)
That’s Hashing in a nutshell!
Bob (BoBo) Thomas, July 2003
P.S. Anyone who does not like these non rules is free to lay a trail in their own way and to tell the mismanagement to get stuffed. However, after the Run, be prepared to face a trial by Circle and, if found guilty, be prepared to suffer the consequences!