Story and Photos by Paul Davis
If you live in rural T&T and have experienced a group
of 150 or so sweaty people jogging past your gate shouting
On, on, chances are you have just encountered
This merry band of less than elite athletes calls itself
the Port of Spain Hash House Harriers.
Arriving on these shores in the mid 80s, Hashing is
extremely popular with the expat crowd and anyone else who
is insane enough to join in.
It is a mixture of orienteering, running, climbing, falling
over, socialising and beer drinking. Did I mention the beer
drinking? Hashers like to call themselves drinkers with
a running problem, but thats another story.
The idea is a hare and hounds cross-country run, following
a paper trail along a course set by a different band of
Hares each week. False trails and check points abound; the
front runners cry On, on when they have found
the right way, and On back when it is a false
Hashing is almost cult-like in the fanaticism and dedication
of its followers. People from all walks of life join. Nobody
cares if you are a doctor, company director or the local
circus clown; everybody bounds along together through rivers,
scrapes past thorny trees and dodges unknown creepy crawlies
in the best of spirits and with an energy that is infectious.
Each run usually lasts for two hot sweaty hours, covering
four to five miles or more.
The 652nd Port-of-Spain Hash took place on January 27, and
I joined the hashers in Moruga for the run.
Around 4 pm, a crowd that has travelled all over the country
assembled and the hares, who set the weeks run, introduced
themselves and warned of any hazards that we were likely
to encounter on the way.
Then we were off. Trees whipped past in a blur as we ran
On, on into the depths. Little piles of shredded
paper signalled when we were on the right track.
Overgrown cocoa plantations dropped cocoa pods onto the
paths, the sweet smell of ripe oranges overhead wafted past
as we crunched through the undergrowth.
Countless bamboo bushes threatened to trip us as we made
our way deeper into what seemed like a jungle.
After a couple of hours, the trail circled round to the
start and my thoughts were of one thing only beer.
The beer van was parked by the beach under a palm tree and
I almost fainted with anticipation.
A sweaty group was wading out across the sand to the warm
sea, beer in hand. The days hash in Moruga started
and finished on the beach a few hundred yards from where
Columbus discovered Trinidad. How proud he would have been
of we intrepid explorers !!
When everyone had made it back in, the group gathered around
the hash master and copious amounts of beer were downed.
And for the younger hashers in the group nothing stronger
than orange juice.
The beer celebrates various incidents during the day and
a poofter shirt is usually presented to anybody
foolish enough to ignore the true spirit of the hash by
getting a lift back or taking a short cut for instance.
Think of the poofter shirt as a Tour de France yellow Jersey
Hash virgins were baptised in beer and the hash
master made various final announcements, followed by a stampede
for the food van and an opportunity to lime the night away.
do people do it?
Surprisingly for something as downright dangerous (and silly)
as this, there are almost as many women that run the hash.
is a great way to meet people, and you see parts of Trinidad
that you would otherwise never be able to, explained
Naomi, 27, before last weeks run in Moruga.
Asked why he went to the Hash, Steve Chineeman
Ewing Chows answer was more straightforward; Chicks,
he replied, with a devilish grin. Fair enough.
Dont even think about trying to look your best for
the hash though. T-shirts, trainers, long socks and bottles
of water are all you need. Now there is nothing wrong with
the gym for exercise but it lacks a certain je ne
There is something deeply satisfying, almost primal, about
tramping through the wildest corners of T&T; all work
and personal problems are simply erased and replaced by
a surge of adrenaline that keeps people coming back for
more punishment week after week.
Find everything you need to know about the hash on their