To the editors:

With regards to a feature article that appeared about a local running group, the Chicago Hash House Harriers (CH3) [March 20], I would like to respond to what I feel was a distorted and misleading picture written about CH3 by the author Mr. Jeff Burdick.

As was reported correctly, “THE HASH” as it is simply known is an international running group with 1,200 HASH groups throughout the world totaling nearly 100,000 runners who are best described as a “cross between Animal House [and] the National Geographic Explorers Club.” And as is the case here in Chicago, CH3 tends to point itself to the wild side of the running spectrum as compared to more speed oriented traditional running groups. However, for CH3 as a whole, the writer limited himself to interview a “self-proclaimed” “true-HASHer” who does not necessarily reflect the common view of other CH3 runners who also call themselves “HASHers.” For the one interviewed, HASHing is 100 percent of life; whereas for most it’s simply a part-time running social commitment. HASHing has never been a full time profession, only a weekend diversion from the pressures of professional business life. Locally CH3 attracts lawyers, doctors, teachers, bankers, stock traders, accountants, real estate professionals, advertising executives, sales agents, creative designers, computer consultants, and many more health conscious fun oriented runners both married and single. In the Chicago area, the HASH has met at such diverse places as the Butterfield Country Club to local bars off Maxwell Street. Each year the HASH sponsors a black tie banquet for current and inactive runners. What HASHing is to one person is not necessarily what it is to someone else. The writer simply quoted one 51 year old unemployed computer repairman as saying “a real HASHer runs, drinks, sings, gets wild. That’s what HASHing is all about–doing it all.” When in fact it is not uncommon to see HASHers pushing their firstborn in a three wheel running carriage, visiting HASHers taking in the sights of Chicago during their first run, or observe a “boy meets girl” encounter on any given outing. HASHing is all of this and much more! To quote one HASHer that “basically the guys are waiting for some tits and ass” and “the women are waiting for some guy to wave his dick at them” is cruel and unusual punishment for CH3 and many others who have used the HASH to network themselves around the world and meet others with similar running and social interests.

The common denominator of HASHing is running; the cohesiveness that binds the group together is the social interaction that takes place at the “down/downs” following the run, and not the blatant sexual overtone prescribed in the story. During the American inter-HASH, conduct as described does take place, however, this is reserved for a few, while the majority simply attend to have a good time.

In my three and a half years of HASHing and some 50 runs later, CH3 has always encouraged new runners to join in whether they drink or not. To quote one person that “you don’t drink. You won’t like it, and we don’t want you” goes against what HASHing should be all about. All are welcomed!!

For this HASHer, it has been an opportunity to meet health conscious and fun oriented people locally and from throughout the world. The Reader’s readership would have been better served if a broader based interview had taken place.

HASHing is not simply limited to running and “down/downs,” but meeting new and different people, developing international friendships, traveling the world, and having a good time along the way. Hopefully this better describes what HASHing is all about.

Experience tells me that CH3 and this HASHer in particular encourage other runners to try it and make their own determination of HASHing both as a running and social phenomenon.

On on!!!

Steven (Dip Stick) Traylor

N. Wolcott