How to be a Hare?
This is based on one hare’s limited experience of laying trails for the Sunday Hash, so nothing here is “The Truth” and some parts may not even be correct. There are are always good reasons to break one or more of the suggestions. And remember:
“Our Next Run could be good…”
Location: Choose where you will run
The main requirement is to set a run that the hounds will enjoy. Considerations include:
- Variety. Don’t run a trail that was recently run by the Sunday Hash. The checks will be broken too quickly as the hounds remember the area and they will let you know that it was boring. Check our historical hareline to avoid this.
- Differentiation. Be careful about setting a trail close to (or crossing) another recently run trail (Sunday Hash or another Hash). I heard a story about the Seletar Boys crossing over to a Bike Hash trail one evening and some were still looking for On-Home more than 2 hours later. What happened was that a Seletar check was set close to the Bike trail and the hounds found the Bike trail marks first. To help reduce the risks, it may be wise to check the harelines of the other Singapore hashes.
- Terrain. Generally, we seem to prefer forest and tracks to city and roads, but there are wide variations in taste. Many enjoy running in drains (we must all be mad!).
- Access. A substantial number of members and guests travel using public transport. If the location is inaccessible, let On Sex (and the Webmaster) know how people without cars can arrange to get there. For example, give an accessible pick-up location where drivers are certain (or at least very likely) to pass.
- Circle. We need an open space, ideally with lighting, to hold the circle after the run.
- Food. After the run, we will want to go somewhere reasonably nearby to eat, drink and sing. Try to find somewhere well away from residences so that we can be loud, bad and rude.
One good way to get familiarity with a variety of locations is to run with the other Singapore hashes.
Unless you are very experienced, it is wise to have at least one “recce” of the trail before you attempt to lay it.
- To get the right length of run, you should take about 2 and a half hours to walk the trail. This can vary a lot depending on your fitness, determination to be quick and whether you are chatting with someone etc. (I took under 2 hours to walk a trail by myself and 4 days later walked the same trail with a co-hare and took 2 and a half hours).
- If you are not familiar with the area, allocate additional time to explore side trails and spot other places to put checks.
- If the trail is long, consider how and where to put a long/short split.
Arranging the On-On
- The hares are also responsible for arranging the meal and for meeting any shortfall between money collected and money due to the restaurant (coffee shop/whatever). You should budget about $10 per head ($100 per table of 10) and charge $12 per head (as restaurants generally charge per table). If you end up with 15 people, you will need 2 tables, have to pay $200 and will only have collected $180. If you do make a “profit”, then what you do with it is between you and your conscience.
- Make sure that the restaurant knows that you cannot fix numbers until a few hours before you arrive. If you do not speak Chinese, it may be wise to take a local with you to negotiate (this is less of an issue for more central locations). Try to fix the price per table.
- Generally, the Westerners are in a slight majority at the On-On and they whine if there is too much meat and not enough veggie.
- Try to get a large plate of fried rice or a large noodle dish served first to take the edge of people’s hunger.
- Find out how much the beer costs, just in case it is outrageous.
Inform the Hash
- About a week before the run, let the On Sex know the details of the run. The details can then be circulated to all members in the newsletter. Let the webmaster know at the same time so that the website can be updated. The best trail in the world is no good if no-one turns up.
Laying the trail
- The purpose of checks. Checks have two purposes – to keep the hounds interested, not just running, and to keep the pack together.
- Circle checks. It is traditional to lay a circle check quite close to the start of the run. This allows all of the hounds to bunch together as, invariably, there are some not quite ready when the pack sets off. A circle check is laid at a spot where there are two (or better still more) alternative routes available. The trail should restart somewhere out of sight from the check.
- T-checks. Lay a false trail and put a t-check at the end of it. The real trail should not be immediately visible. This should catch the FRBs, give them some additional running and allow the rest of the pack to catch up.
- Hash-Hold. A circle with a H in the center. Not used very often, this mark is used to get the entire pack back together before starting a new segment of the trail. Can be used to mark the site of a drinks stop.
- If laying a trail away from existing tracks in a forest, it is wise to keep the marks close together so that the hounds can see 2 marks in front at all time.
- Laying trails in the rain. Don’t use chalk, it gets washed away very quickly. Paper and flour are better but try and find places that are sheltered from direct rainfall.
- Laying trails in National Parks. We have negotiated some simple rules with the National Parks.
- No flour on trees. Flour has caused other users of the parks to file reports of diseased trees. It can be considered as feeding the wildlife, with all of the problem that that brings.
- No running off existing tracks. This can cause damage to the flora and could cause erosion.
- Pick up the paper after the run. Otherwise, we are littering the park.
Just before the run starts
- Appoint mystery whips.
- Arrange the keybag. If there are no non-runners present, the front-running hare should take they key.
- Explain what markings you have used. Colour of toilet paper, chalk, flour etc..
- If necessary, find out how many will go to the On-On and let the restaurant know.
On the run
- Breaking checks. The front hare should stay well behind the FRBs and try to avoid giving hints on how to break checks until after the main pack arrives and have spent a few minutes looking for the trail.
- Sweeping. One of the hares should stay at the back of the pack to shepherd the walkers and slow runners through the short cuts.
- National Parks. If running in a National Park, then the sweeping hare must pick up all of the paper.
In the circle
- Enjoy the down-downs in the circle. The chances are that you will be called back multiple times for spurious reasons!
At the On-On
- Collect the dinner money and ensure that the restaurant gets paid.