The Hash House Harriers, started by British expats in Malaysia in the 1930s, is a running club with chapters in most major cities around the world ,and has been affectionately dubbed “the drinking club with a running problem.” The Suzhou H3 is a collection of Chinese and expats who meet every 2-4 weeks for an 8-14 kilometer cross-country run/hike in the hills, forests and parks of the region. After the trail is completed, beer consumption and merriment ensue, followed by a group dinner, or "bash."
The trails are carefully set by the 'Hares' using chalk and flour to mark the course. The Hares deliberately set false trails to ensure that the fastest runners are sent the wrong way and have to back-track. This allows the slower runners and walkers to keep up. Flour and chalk are used to ensure that there is nothing left behind to damage the local environment after the run is completed. An experienced runner from UK, Steve explains "We often see that other walking groups have left markers tied to trees and leave rubbish behind. As a group we are very keen to ensure that we do not damage the local environment. During the run we encourage everyone to buy drinks and snacks from the local shops to ensure we are contributing to the local community whist we enjoy their surroundings".
The trails are often outside of the city in the hills close to the Mudu or TaiHu areas. This provides a challenge of some steep hills for runners to tackle and gives everyone the chance to see some breathtaking scenery. "My favorite was when we visited Qiong Long Shan and went through the park" explained Blaise from the USA. "The traditional buildings and temples really allow you to get close to Chinese culture and see some beautiful places that youo otherwise we would not see."
After the run we return to Suzhou for a group dinner or “bash” where food and more beer are enjoyed. On holidays like Halloween, St. Paddy’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc., we have been known to host themed hashes with holiday-related beverages, costumes, and special dinner bashes. Recently we’ve also gone on several overnight trips to further away places such as Moganshan and Anji Bamboo Forest (where some scenes from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon were filmed). "I love the overnight hashes", says New Zealander Lynda, "They are an amazing opportunity to see parts of rural China that I otherwise would not have visited".
We often partner with other hash chapters, or “kennels,” from surrounding cities for joint events. These joint hashes often attract 60-100+ people and are a fantastic opportunity to meet people from other cities and to enjoy new surroundings and terrain. Long term Suzhou resident from UK, Richard says "Shanghai has 4 or 5 active groups that run every week. When we combine the Suzhou and Shanghai event we all get the opportunity to meet new friends and meet interesting people from other parts of China and share our experience and knowledge of life in China. I really enjoy this aspect of the Hash House Harriers." Hash House Harriers are represented worldwide and many members have joined the runs in other countries when they are traveling. "I often travel and find myself staying over a weekend in another country" said Graham who works in Wuxi, "I always look on the internet for the local Hash House Harriers and try to join their runs to make new friends." This global network is very attractive to anyone moving to new countries with their jobs where it can be difficult to meet people.
Each year a different kennel hosts a national hash event, or “Nash Hash,” where kennels travel from all over China and even Asia to one city for an epic weekend of running, hiking, beer, and amazing company. This past year the Nash Hash was held in Hangzhou May 22-24.
You can visit our website http://www.whatsoninsuzhou.com.cn/go/szh3/ which is hosted by our sponsor What’s On in Suzhou, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to our mailing list. Alcohol consumption is always optional and ALL fitness levels are welcome. If you enjoy running, hiking, good times, new friends, outdoors, or beer, come join us for our next event!