Nairobi Hash House Harriers
Where can you do a 50 minute jog, then spend the next hour or two sharing risqué jokes and swigging beer with your fellow runners numbering anywhere from 30 to 100 people? This weekly experience awaits you at the Nairobi Hash House Harriers (NH3) and other Hash running groups around the world. Whoever said you cannot have your cake and eat it clearly never met the hashers, as they are popularly called.
This self-styled drinking club with a running problem is part of an international fraternity of running clubs with a presence in every major city in the world. The hashing tradition is said to have began in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur. Its history in Nairobi however dates back to 1978 when the first group of runners came together to form NH3. Since then, its popularity has seen it grow and spawn two other running clubs in the City, Original Nairobi Hash House Harriers and Sunday Hash House Harriers. Those unfamiliar with hashing may find the club’s traditions bizarre, but with time, most people adjust.
The NH3 meet for their weekly runs every Monday evening at 5:45pm, with the venue changing every week. Running distances are typically 6km for those doing a short run, and 10km for those interested in a longer run. Runs are characterized by false trails designed to mislead faster runners, allowing slower runners to catch up and keep the group together. In addition, they have a brief stop called a halt at the halfway point for a ritual song, dance and refreshments.
Besides the Monday runs, the NH3 have a calendar of weekend runs that have over the years become very popular with recreational running enthusiasts from all over the country and the East African region. Some of these include the Ngongathon, Mt Kenya Run and the Naivasha Relay.
No membership fee is required to join NH3. However, each runner is required to pay a registration fee of Ksh 200/= on every run, which goes towards the cost of the ritual down down ceremony (don’t ask…) held after the run.