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Tuesday, April 25, 2000 -- Morgantown, WV
The Spring Formal Fun Run
Story and photos by Julie Bertsch

[Details] [Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]

Spring Formal Fun Run
There were lots of laughs to be had at the Formal
It was the Hash of the millennium, as runners lined up wearing their Sunday best for the 2000 Spring Formal Fun Run. The HashHouse Harriers of Morgantown & Fairmont are just one of many Hash running clubs that can be found all over the world. Just try typing in "Hash House Harriers" on an internet search site and you'll see what I mean.

A typical hash today is a loosely-organized group of 20 to 40 (or more), men and women of all ages who meet weekly or biweekly to chase an appointed "hare". The group of hounds follow the hare's trail marked with chalk. There may be false trails that can lead the runners in circles. The "hounds" have their own chalk to mark the real path which will eventually lead them to the hare, and the end.

Spring Formal Fun Run
Good feelings were all around downtown on High Street
Not only do the Hashers run streets and back alleyways, but they also ford streams, explore storm drains, and scramble up steep slopes (the muddier the better). At the trail's end of a Hash, there is always a celebration which is sometimes called the "On-In" or "Apres", involving cold brews and beverages to everyone's liking. Today's On-Ins usually include funny songs and good food, in the tradition of the "hash".

One might remember last year's Formal, when hashers had to run on the very rocky, rail trail. Now the rail trail is paved and smooth, and although the fun runners did get to test it out, the hare was making sure that the long 5 mile trek would not be that easy.

Spring Formal Fun Run
Looking pretty in pink as they start the Formal Hash
Just about all Hash running clubs have a Formal Run which is usually called the "Red Dress Run", where women AND men put on a red dress and running shoes, and then do their hash in the main part of town for all to see. These local Hashers add their own twist, and go above and beyond the call of the red dress.

This year's Formal Fun Run was certainly a longer trek than last year's. Many familiar pit-stops were made along the way, including Jim's Boxing Gym, and the WVU Mountainlair. The Hash House Harriers are always ready to be the center of attention, as cars were stopping, and folks were whistling. The run finally ended after over an hour of grunting through town with a fine celebration at the West Virginia Brewing Company.

Spring Formal Fun Run
Stopping traffic with just a look
It's certainly a strange site to see, but believe it or not, there's a rich tradition at stake here. This particular journalist was also dressed up for the 2nd year in a row and as always, the Formal was a lot of fun to be a part of, even though I wasn't running the whole thing.

"Regardless of the style of the hash, all is in good fun and this "drinking club with a running problem" welcomes all with a sense of humor. Hashing has created a fraternity that knows no geographical bounds of hospitality. You're as welcome at one group as another, although there are still a few traditional "all male", fewer "harriette" and even more rare "by membership" or "social status" only groups left out there. The only prerequisite to hashing is a sense of humor, as running and athletic ability usually take a back seat to the social aspects of the sport." --- Off of The World Hash House Harriers Home Page.