Interested in joining the Chicago Hash House Harriers? Great! The easiest way to find out about us is to simply show up and join us for a hash run.
Our upcoming runs are on our Home Page. We normally begin running the trail 30 minutes after the listed time, so you can have yourself a beer beforehand. Bring your sense of humor and sense of adventure!
You may have some questions about what hashing is all about. For answers, take a look at our FAQ area below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is this club?
We are the Chicago Hash House Harriers. We are one of thousands of “hashing” clubs around the world. Our club was founded in 1978, but the original club “The Hash House Harriers” began in 1938 in Malaysia. You can find a ton of information about the history of the Hash House Harriers and hashing in general by searching on the Internet.
Q. So it’s a running club?
Yes, and more! Each week we meet up to run, walk, jog or crawl a 3 to 5 mile trail. Our trails twist and turn through streets, alleys, parks, forests — you name it! Once we finish the trail it’s time for socializing and enjoying a few beers during our unique ceremony called “the circle”.
Q. Do I have to run or can I walk?
You can move at any speed you like. Our membership consists of fast runners, slow walkers and all speeds in-between.
Q. How do I know where the trail goes?
Our trails are marked using arrows drawn on the ground in chalk. Just follow the arrows and you will complete the trail. In rainy weather we use more durable materials for marking the trail. This will all be explained to you at your first run.
Q. Who lays out the trail and puts the marks down?
That person is known as the hare. He/she is responsible for choosing a venue, then designing and marking the trail. They are in charge of the run! Two members will often “co-hare” a run in order to share the workload or to show newbies how to hare.
Q. How is the hare chosen?
Our members volunteer to be the hare for a particular run. All members are expected to occasionally be the hare, somewhat commensurate with how often they run with us. You won’t be expected to hare until you’ve been with us for a few months, and you can always ask someone to co-hare with you in order to learn how to do it.
You can see the schedule of upcoming runs along with the names of the hares on our Hareline.
Q. When do you meet?
We meet based on the following calendar. Note that runs begin 30 minutes after the meeting time.
- In Summer (May-Sep.) we meet at 7 PM on Monday evenings. [COVID-19 UPDATE: We run on Sunday afternoons at 2 PM until further notice.]
- In Winter (Oct.-Apr.) we meet at 2 PM on Sunday afternoons.
- 3 or more times a year we have big events that span an entire weekend and afford the opportunity to run on 2-3 consecutive days.
The full schedule of upcoming runs can be found here.
Q. How much does it cost?
A mere $10 (in cash please) gets you the trail and copious amounts of beer at the finish. [COVID-19 UPDATE: $5 or BYOB]
Q. What’s with the funny names?
These are hash names. Every member or “hasher” has earned their hash name in some way. Ask a few people how they got their hash name and you’ll get the idea. A hash name is not something you choose for yourself, but is chosen for you by the other hashers after we get to know you.
Q. I see people wearing cool and funny t-shirts. Can I buy one?
Yes you can! Ask the Hash Haberdasher what gear we currently have in stock.
Q. I was sitting in a bar one time and these hashers came in after a run and started socializing and singing really funny songs. Was that the “circle”?
Yep, that sounds like a hash circle. Hope you enjoyed the entertainment! We don’t always conduct the circle in a bar, but it’s not uncommon either, especially in winter. [COVID-19 UPDATE: All circles will be conducted 100% outdoors until further notice.]
Q. Can you tell me more about the circle?
Sure. It’s called the circle because the hashers stand in a circle. In the middle of the circle is our Religious Adviser or RA. The RA is a kind of MC or stage manager and leads the circle. Despite the name, this is not a religious event in any sense!
The RA leads the group through announcements of upcoming events, opinions of the trail, and general accusations of debauchery and foolishness. After each accusation, the group will join in a song from our extensive songbook. The hasher being recognized is expected to step into the middle of the circle and take a sip, a drink or a gulp from their beer cup while the rest of the hashers sing the song.
Q. It sounds a little intimidating. Will I be forced to drink beer?
Nope. You won’t be forced to do anything. If you are called into the circle, you may sip as little or as much beer as you want. If you don’t want to drink at all, that’s fine too. The circle is about entertainment, not hazing. If you have a sense of humor and an open mind, you’ll have a great time.