One of the things that my Dad has been involved in around Songkhla (where he lives) for years is the Hash House Harriers. It’s a running club, but the Songkhla chapter is usually more about drinking beer with mates (particularly during the week). They run every Saturday, almost always through scrub / jungle with their favourite areas being in rubber tree plantations where there are plenty of tracks and places to put false trails.
The way Songkhla performs their runs is a little bit varied from the wikipedia article, but it will give you the general idea of what happens. In any case, after a few runs on my trip here nearly 3 years ago last weekend was my 5th run – at which point they give me a hash name.
This run was being set by my Dad, so I went along to help him – but we got held up in the morning and didn’t get started until 10am which really was far too late. It was an absolute scorcher of a day, even under the trees it was hot. The typical 1-1.5hr run takes 3 or 4 hours to set, and we took a little over 4.5. Luckily we took extra water, but I was completely drained from wandering through not just the jungle but also the hill we were setting it on. I had a headache, am sure I suffered from heat exhaustion and more than a little dehydration too.
By the time we got home and had a shower it was only about 2hrs before we had to be back at the run site – I hadn’t planned to run after what I’d been through, but when we were due to leave I felt too tired to go and even in the aircon I still had a bit of a fever. Dad came back to get me later so I could attend the circle and receive my hash name – but I didn’t feel like standing up at all, much less getting iced just to receive my name. I was afraid that it would make me seriously sick, I’ll explain what it involves and you’ll see why.
Getting iced means you sit on a block of ice for at least 5min with your legs straight (to make it more painful) while the circle discusses why you’re there (Songkhla tends to pick just about any reason to ice someone) and then they sing a little tune. Towards the end of that, you have to scull half a cup of beer as fast as you can because people are standing around and at the end of the song anyone left has buckets of ice water dumped on their head 🙂
To make matters worse, flights to Brisbane are packed and so I can’t change my original departure time of Saturday morning – Dad neglected to tell me it’s the date of the 25th anniversary Songkhla Hash run, during which they’re playing host to this years interhash on their way through. Not only will it be a fun day with 400 people on the train running at 5 locations plus a larger than usual collection of locals, the party on Saturday night will be huge and I’m not happy that I have to miss it as well as my last chance to get a hash name for at least a year.
Oh well, always next time eh? 😉