An overly-lengthy and verbose explanation of how to set a trail as a hare

Hanoi Hash House Harriers (H4) Hare Guidelines

Introduction: So you have been selected by the Hash Hare Raiser to set the Hanoi Hash & you are looking for a few suggestions? Look no further; here they are, all spelled out the by the H4 MM Committee. Did you know that 959 different people on our Hanoi Hash did this before you? (no worries, nobody new, unless you are Hash Nerd). You can increase this number and be truly a part of our hash family.

Please remember that to be asked to set a H4 trail is an honour & privilege. It is appreciated by all your fellow hashers & marks you out as a positive group contributor.

The Hash MisManagement Committee expects that regular hashers take their turn every 6 months. That is all. We also ask that experienced Hashers pair up with a Harriette, creating a team of two to lay the Run & Walk. If you can take a Virgin hare along to show them the ropes that would also be appreciated to help them get started.

Advantages of Being a Hare:

  • You earn the undying gratitude of your fellow hashers & your name will live on in the H4 statistics! Maybe even on a tee shirt, if you organise some sponsorship.
    Check it out with your company or boss & then discuss it with the MMC;
  • You don’t pay any fees on the day;
  • You get to observe & enjoy the countryside at a more leisurely pace than when you are running;
  • As a dedicated contributor to the H4, your chances of receiving a Hash Name increase & you may well be considered to serve on the MMC. Good Luck!

Duties of the Hare:

  • To find a replacement in the event you cannot do it that week. You can always ask someone to swap a week with you;
  • To inform the Hare-Raiser of any changes that need to be made to the website. NO LATER THAN the previous weekend, NO there is no misunderstanding & NO “No Shows”;
  • To reconnoitre/ explore & set the trail;
  • To write up the directions to the circle and have them posted on the website at least 2 days before the hash;
  • To explain the markings to the pack, clarifying things to virgin runners;
  • To notify the pack about any particular hazards, or attractions, depending on personal tastes (e.g. barbed wire, crazed cattle, military target ranges, village idiots, toothless virgins ..);
  • To explain to the driver of the Hash Beer Truck how to get to the beer-stop (halfway point)
  • To start the runners and walkers on their respective trails;
  • To follow the pack & check for problems & injuries;
  • To put the pack back on the trail if they get totally lost, but not to lead the FRBs;
  • To make sure that everyone returns at the end;
  • To select the site for the On-On-On, include it in the information for the website, & explain this to the pack during the circle at the end.

Suggested Locations for the Run:

  • Runs in urban parts of Hanoi are not generally well received by the pack, but are allowed if necessary;
  • In the hot season a little shade is appreciated;
  • Try to pick a run site that is accessible after a rainstorm. Look out for steep clay slopes & soft ground conditions;
  • Try to pick a starting point that can fit the Hash Circle, Bus, Beer Truck & a few cars. It should not have any height clearance restrictions at the circle or en-route;
  • Most runs are set between 25 & 50km from the American Club;
  • The run should be approx. 8-12km, approx.75-90mins, including beer stop;
  • The walk should be approx. 5-6km, not too steep, especially during rainy season;
  • The trails ideally should be A to A (Circular);
  • Select the beer stop conveniently for the driver. The parking place should be both easy to find & spacious, both to park the truck & serve the drinks;
  • Try to time it so the pack get to the beer truck about the same time & finish at the circle well before dark;
  • Check the hash website for previous run history, or talk to other senior hashers.

Trail Craft

Marks used include:

  • ● – (dot or blob) this is an ordinary On-On trail marker;
  • O – (circle) this is a Check. From here there are 2 or more possible trails, only 1 of which will continue On-On.
  • X – (cross) this marks the end of a false trail and should be used if you have used 3 or more blobs. There can be 1 or 2 blobs on the false trail without an X.
    Depends how helpful you want to be. False trails can be up to several hundred metres or longer, depending on circumstances.
  • Often the On-On trail can be confirmed after 3 blobs/marks have been called. This is optional, but should be made clear at the starting Circle.
  • Remember the whole point of a Check is to mess with the heads of the FRBs, to slow them down to keep the pack together & make them hunt for the right trail, at least until the SRBs arrive.
  • HH (in a circle) – is a Hash Halt, a holding check. The pack halts while the slower runners catch up. FRB’s don’t like this and it is only recommended for the walkers trail. It can also be used to enjoy any nice scenery or to have a Hash photo taken;
  • BN – Beer Near, this is when you get close to the Beer truck;
  • ON IN – when you hit the final run in to the circle;
  • –-> use an arrow when you want to be clear about the direction to take e.g. at busy roads where you don’t want people checking around, or when there is a sharp turn, or when you are going near Holy sites/private land etc.

Live Runs: If you are a very fast runner, or fail to set the run on time, you have the option of setting a “live run”. In this case you are given 15min. head start & you set the trail as you try to outrun the pack to the finish. If the pack catches you, you can expect one or several down-downs. Needless to say, you will have little or no time to set false trails & if the pack spots you in the distance they can ignore the trail you just set & head straight for you – In our experience, pre-set runs are usually much better.

Trail Layout & Markings for the Runners: Setting a decent trail takes time. It takes an experienced trail-layer 3-5 hours to lay a good trail. If you don’t get started until 11:00 Saturday you won’t finish in time. The length of the trail will depend on length of day & weather, and the terrain; with a beer stop half-way especially if the run is very long or the weather is very hot. The trail should not cross itself. Usually the trail is A-to-A (circular). If you plan to set A-to-B, this must be well coordinated and organised in advance with the bus & the beer truck.

The objective is to set a trail that can be followed by the fastest runners, (the Front-Running B**tards, or FRBs), by laying a clearly marked trail of shredded paper, flour, chalk or paint, toilet paper, or a combination of all.

  • To allow slower hashers (Slow Running B**tards, or SRBs) to catch up, you can lay a Check, or an X (on back), or take the FRBs on a loop up behind the SRBs.
  • The FRBs will arrive at the Check first & will investigate any false trails & determine the correct path. Here it is crucial to delay the FRBs, by taking them along dead trails, by making the On-On marks difficult to find etc. You must gauge how long it will take the SRBs to catch up. You do not want the pack strung out too far.

It is crucial NOT to help the FRBs by indicating in any way, which is the On-On. Even if they cannot find the On-On, at least not until all the SRBs have arrived at the Check.

Remember there is no point laying a trail for them to follow & then showing the FRBs the way! They will get very frustrated if you do this. But you may make extra marks & help the SRBs. The point here is to keep them moving along. In this way the pack stays together & nobody should get totally lost. N.B. Hanoi hashers are not particularly observant, so lay the marks clearly & not too distant from each other. Make them big & easy to see, mark on the same side of the trail & at the same height whenever possible. Mark direction change clearly.

Trail Layout and Markings for the Walkers: The Walkers start off separately & are accompanied by a Walking Hare. The walk should be no more than 6km, depending on weather & topography, in order that the Runners & Walkers come in at about the same time.

  • The trail can follow the same route as the run & turn round earlier, but be careful not to get the two sets of markings confused.
  • The main difference is the distance between the markings. Remember Walkers cannot cover the distance as quickly as Runners.
  • There is no need to put a check mark at a junction, but the trail should be clear to follow.
  • Try to arrange for the Walkers to stay behind the Runners.

Similarly the Hash Vehicle can give away the location of the beer stop, as it drives from the start to the beer stop, so try to avoid this if possible. During the rainy season avoid setting trails over muddy rice bunds – the dykes between fields that hold the water in. If some lard-butt hasher collapses one, the water will flow out & the farmer will not be pleased.

The Circle: The start/end-point should be located in a place with parking, preferably away from traffic noise, so that the GM doesn’t have to shout his head off to be heard;

Avoid “culturally sensitive” locations, such as next to stupas or cemeteries, although some Temples can be very accommodating & make good circle sites;

Your Final Reward: At the end of the run, during the Circle, the GM will call on someone to do a run report. Following the run report the pack will give a verbal vote as to what they thought of the run.

A perfect run will receive zero down-downs. But, hey, nobody’s perfect!

A really bad run, with not much effort put in will probably earn the hares several a block of ice to sit on.

The ON-ON-ON: It is up to the hares to decide on which restaurant or house to hold the On-On-On. Usually this is back in Hanoi, and on the route between the Circle and the American Club, but could also be a BBQ at the Circle site or a nearby restaurant. The hares need to announce the location on the website & in the circle. If you have any questions talk to MMC members.

Try to pick a place that can handle a large group of people arriving at once & avoid posh/tourist places. You might be able to negotiate a group discount & pre-book tables. House parties are always a good idea.

T-Shirts and Theme Runs: Some hares like to set a theme run, such as Red Dress Run, Valentine’s Day, The National Day of a country, a good-bye run (e.g.Mermaid swims away) or a made-up theme, (e.g. The Santa Hash).

If you wish to design & produce a T-Shirt for your run, please consult with the Hash Haberdasher first, as they will know how many T-Shirts are in stock already, where to get best price/quality. Also you will receive instructions concerning our standing agreements to show sponsor’s logos.

Any questions or queries should be referred to Mermaid first, but the members of the

MMC are always available for info & advice.

Thank you for your contribution to the Hanoi Hash!