Little did we know that when we read an interesting magazine article about running a hash in Grenada that we’d actually partake in one. We love a little adventure and we were totally game to try something new, especially if it involved the Grenada bush (aka backcountry / rainforest). We committed ourselves to joining a group called the Grenada Hash House Harriers for a “hash” run. In Grenada they proudly call themselves the largest and most fun group of hashers. Apparently started by 3 guys who called themselves “drinkers with a running problem”. It’s an organized fun run (or walk), on a trail through a different part of Grenada every week. Anyone can do it and it’s not a race, unless your Craig, then it’s a race.
It was Saturday morning as the sun disappeared behind the rain clouds, my thoughts were filled with visions of wet, mud slicked trails we’d be running later that day. When it was time, we donned our running shorts, laced up our running shoes and put a hat on our head to keep the rain from pelting our face. The next challenge was finding a ride to the hash. Our options were to find where a bus should pick us up (tried that unsuccessfully), take a city bus (too complicated with all the transfers) or find another hasher willing to give you a ride (how hard could that be, right?). We opted for #3 and miraculously found a ride by standing on the side of the road, in the rain. Craig and Erica stood on one side while Chris and I stood right in the middle of the traffic circle. We were sure we couldn't be missed if we stood smack dab in the middle. We were wearing running gear for crying out loud. No one in Grenada looks like that, especially in the rain! As it turned out, Craig and Erica were the ones to get us a ride, with the 'hash doctor' no less. Cool…we’re in good hands. Wrong. He’s not actually a medical doctor, just the hash doctor. What does that mean, exactly? We’re still not sure. We piled in his compact car and rode up the very narrow, winding, wet road up and over the mountain to the next town of Birchgrove. As we got out of the car, we quickly realized we weren’t at the beach where it was warm. It was pouring rain and cold!
We huddled near a mini mart with approximately 50 strangers to listen to the Hash Master go over the details and make sure everyone signed in and out of the hash book. "Softwood", as the hash master was affectionately called, belts out in his British accent “that way they’ll know what to put on your tombstone”. He explained that the trail is randomly marked with shredded paper. If you stumble upon a circle, then there are multiple trails to choose from and only one of them is the correct one. What? That’s part of the fun. If your in front (like Craig) and choose the wrong path (marked with an X), then you shout to everyone blindly following you “On Back”. If it’s the right trail (rewarded with more paper), then you shout “On On”, which means keep going.
Before we knew it, before we were completely and totally exhausted, before we were muddy beyond recognition, we were at the finish line. Craig came in a respectable third while the rest of us came in somewhere in the middle of the pack. We were handed a beer and scarfed down some oil down as well as grilled chicken. It all tasted soooo good. The rain had stopped as we befriended students from St. George University, who ended up giving us a ride back to the marina on their bus. But it doesn't end there my devoted readers. After everyone has returned safe and sound, there is the ritual of more beer drinking. This time it's for reasons only deemed necessary by the hash team. If they see you commit a hash farce or you have run several hashes and they have 'gotten to know you', then you might be awarded a hash name. It is an honor to have a hash name and they are all without a doubt derogatory or humiliating (in the best possible way of course). For example: "Bo-peep" (for being notorious for loosing hashers on the trail), "Wino and his wife, Why Not", "Distillery Dame", etc. etc. And then you have to drink a beer, in front of the crowd, on your knees. This is not a friendly, here have a beer my friend. This is equivalent to fraternity hazing. One must drink the beer all at once without stopping. If one stops drinking continuously, for whatever reason including gagging, they pour the remainder of the beer over your head. Then my friends, the hash is over and it's time to go home! Sounds like a blast huh?! Would we do it again? Absolutely!
Leaving the marina clean and ready for an adventure. The kids stayed behind on Patronus with Maggie as the babysitter.
Erica writes on the back of Craig's legs
Fueled up with a coke and shirley biscuits
The Hash Master (left with blue shirt) and an unsuspecting runner must drink a beer from their brand new shoes (thankfully before the run). A Hash tradition. If your shoes are new within 6 months, you must drink. Chris came very close to drinking a beer from his shoe, but somehow he convinced the master that he bought them before they left on the trip and they 'just don't show any signs of wear'. That's a great endorsement if I ever heard one!!
Wet and ready to go with our friend, the hash doctor
Read 'em and weep
Some cute little cheerleaders
The first paper circle we came upon was 20 feet from the start. No fair!
Here we go.....running up the hill, only to learn it was marked with an X (fake trail)
Running along the road before we hit the mud
In the Grenada bush, wet and muddy!
Half way mark
More onlookers as we pass through small villages
Hash photographer, Brian, as he navigates the muddy trail
We have come full circle, finish line just up the road
Ahhhh, nothing beats a beer at the finish line. As you can see, Craig, has quite a pile of empties. He came in third and had a long wait for the rest of us!
My legs are slightly cleaner because I found a faucet to wash off some of the mud
Some good ole grenada oil down (the national dish).