My dad told us if there was one club we had to try it was Honiara Hash House Harriers.
Touted as “a drinking club with a jogging problem,” ‘hares’ leave a paper trail for punters to follow by walking or running, followed by drinking and singing silly songs.
Sounded lame. But we went anyway because we only have like one friend here.
Showed up feeling like the first day of school
We turned up for our first hash at a shopping mall parking lot. We’re a bit uncertain as to what we are supposed to be doing and waited for an authority figure dressed in a rabbit costume.
Our leader turns out to be disappointingly average and is dressed in run-of-the-mill running gear and shoes that look like they’ve never seen a paved sidewalk before. This man is “Grand Master” and he gives us a quick rundown of how to hash: “Follow either the walking or the running hares, and keep a lookout for shredded paper symbols and stacks”.
We agonise over the most important decision we’ll make all week: do we label ourselves as runners, or walkers?
The fit girl with compression socks doing deep pre-run stretches give us the impression that the runners are serious people, so we opt for the walking trail. Also, as a walker, it’s easier to fully immerse ourselves in the sights at a pace more conducive to appreciating nice scenery…
Grand Master equips us with lollipops to give out to pikinini in the villages and we move out.
The search for hare crop circles begins
We start moving and soon find ourselves out of town and amidst the quaintness that is behind Honiara: villages, ups, downs, plantations, gardens, goat tracks, log bridges and other more tenuous planks the locals try to get away with calling “bridges”.
We are exercising and touristing at the same time. Nailing it!
For everyone else that isn’t us, we are a group of sweaty expats stomping up in people’s backyards and kūmara patches and handing out things that give kids cavities.
Well, that was fun!
About an hour and a bit later, our eyeballs are full to the brim of seeing a side of Honiara that we didn’t know existed. We make it back to the carpark in the dark and raid the Hash chilly bin for hydration.
With everyone having a vessel in hand, we “circle up” and the singing and drinking commences with special celebrations and rude songs for notable characters during the run.
As Hash newbies, beers are thrust into our hands and we are serenaded the ‘virgin’ song as part of our initiation. We reciprocate respectfully by skulling our beers to a chant of “Down, down, down, down…”.
We did not expect such a rich and heartwarming experience.
We are told that if we show our faces enough times we get endearing nicknames like “Punchdrunk” and “Muffdiver” – that’s exciting, I’ve always wanted a rapper name.
So, it looks like that’s us every Monday at 5:15 pm. Honiara Hash Harriers is strongly family-friendly with old, young and newer humans in the mix. Definitely a lot of fun, a great way see what’s behind town, and a good place to meet some new peeps.
If you’re interested in joining Honiara Hash Harriers, stalk their updates on Google Groups.