Inebriated Runners Wearing TSA Costumes Get Swarmed by Police Near Airport Runway
Dubbing themselves "a drinking club with a running problem," Fort Lauderdale's Hash House Harriers went on their usual Monday-night run last week. Runners never know in advance the exact route their leader has planned, but they sometimes get a hint. This week, they knew the run would be TSA-themed.
The night started off all fun and drinking games in a Publix parking lot in Dania Beach, but it would eventually lead to handcuffs, tears, and, eventually, more booze after police brought an abrupt end to their run.
An international social club, the Hash House Harriers began in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur after British expats would run every Monday together. Loosely based on the children's game hares and the hound -- but with booze -- one person, the "hare," leads the run, making a new route every time and leaving a trail of flour behind him. Then the runners, or "hounds," must follow the hare's trail full circle back to the alcohol. Along the run are booze stops from beginning to end, a rabbit hole of sexual innuendo, and harmless hazing.
About 30 or 40 runners, many outfitted in costumes mocking airport security, arrived at the parking lot around 6:30 Monday night, July 29, for their warm-up tailgate with booze and Jell-O shots. A runner nicknamed "Virgin Captain" (hashers don't use their real names but rather address one another with naughty nicknames they earn once they have set up a trail) had choreographed this week's run, which he hinted would pass the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
It was by chance that a reporter (me!) had chosen this particular night to join the group and write about the intoxicated antics -- not expecting this week's run to turn out more eventful than usual.
Jess Swanson Red and orange Jell-O shots topped with two blueberries to provocatively represent "blue balls."
A little past 7 p.m., the hare raced ahead of the pack to lay his trail. Fifteen minutes later, the pack left in a mass stampede across the parking lot and through Dania Beach Jai-Alai. Everyone kept their eyes glued for the signature marks of flour. (Over the years, clueless news crews have often speculated about these signs and their meaning, suggesting they could be anything from anthrax to cocaine to criminal graffiti lingo.)
Jess Swanson First stop at the beer check.
After crossing through a park, a suburban neighborhood, and then over railroad tracks, the hounds reached their first beer check. After socializing and drinking some more, they continued onward -- about half of them with beers still in hand -- through a sand-spur-riddled field and eventually onto Griffin Road opposite the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport.
Here, after running on the sidewalk alongside the fence that surrounds the airport's runways, the hares were met by their first cop car.