Hash House Harriers Are Misunderstood: "We're Not Inebriated"
Jess Swanson Costumed hashers before their run past the airport on July 29th
I recently ran with the Fort Lauderdale's hash for the first time. Though I had only heard whispers about the group's weekly shenanigans, no one running that evening (myself included) expected it to end in handcuffs and tears near the Fort Lauderdale airport -- though there were provocative TSA costumes involved.
After writing a post about the misadventure and then another post about the detained hasher's prior arrest in a thong involving Tasers, tear gas, and drag queens, Fort Lauderdale hash's community organizer, Virgin Dick (he preferred not to release his civilian name), told me is concerned the events have portrayed the runners as more reckless and intoxicated than they really were. He stressed that police rarely interrupt their runs and that my interaction with the group was outside the norm and simply a case of bad timing.
"Hash House Harriers has groups all over the world," Virgin Dick explained, his lighthearted tone suddenly serious. "After the post, I was surprised by the intensity of some of the comments. I mean for one, they called me an idiot over and over again. [It was] mostly the European [hashers] where they only drink after they run. But I've never been to a hash on this side of the ocean that does that."
He also had qualms such as our labeling the group "inebriated runners" in the headline and including real names and photos since some of the hashers are police officers and school teachers by day who don't want their hashing alter egos exposed. VD also divulged that since the post linked to their Facebook group, he was convinced to change the privacy settings from public to private.
"[Hashers] were offended the word 'inebriated' was used a couple of times. It made us sound a lot more drunk than we are in general. We're pretty straight while running; we don't get lost in the woods or anything. We're not inebriated. I don't know what the word is, but it isn't inebriated. But other than that, I thought it was a fair assessment of what we did."
In all of VD's time running with the hash in South Florida, he can remember only one other instance when police cut their run short: It was shortly after 9/11 when a police officer eating at a restaurant near the Fort Lauderdale airport spotted the hare laying his flour trail in the parking lot and confused it with terrorism. According to Paris, no police report was filed even though it ultimately led to the hare winding up on the other end of a cop's gun as 13 cop cars, three firetrucks, and a helicopter surrounded him.