Sunday, 18 May 2014


I love to play with my post titles. They are often silly private jokes. I chose this one mainly because how often will I get to talk about a 'manhunt'? No, it doesn't refer to a police chase. Nor is it about that song from the movie Flashdance. Is that telling my age? Well, no matter.

Somewhere I have a photo of people running up and down Cheviot, but for now,
Wallington Hall will have to suffice as illustraion.

I believe this is related to a 'hash'. (No, it's not food either, but does involve drink). The first time Bill and I encountered a 'hash' was on our first visit to Sydney. Jane knew we were into running and so she looked for an event we could join in. The Sydney Hash House Harriers was celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a hash involving Baileys and Guinness, if I remember right.  It sounded really daft but we went along for the fun.

As they did it, a course was planned in advance and marked with symbols indicating which way to turn. The hash course has loads of false trails which you don't know are false until you find the symbol telling you to turn around. The faster runners of course found and deduced the false trails first, often catching the slower runners about to enter and able to warn them off taking that turn. The result is that slower runners should follow more or less the true course, letting faster runners do the work of travelling the extra distance of the false trail. It is a way of letting runners of all abilities run together, after a fashion. People shouted 'on-on' a lot and I think there was some guy running around tooting a bugle (an allusion to a Fox Hunt - the kind done on horseback - no doubt). Halfway through the run there was a bandstand with tots of alcohol on offer. Can't say I've ever run under the influence before then or since. It doesn't help much.

When we finished running there was a 'barbie' (cook out) and a meeting in a pub where new people were required to 'down-down' as in chug a half pint of beer. Other people seemed to get beer poured on their (new) trainers. It was all a bit mad. Bill says it's all very 'public school' (upper class), ex-pat stuff. Which according to the HHH history, is true.  Jane & Chris joined for a while, though they were more of the walking persuasion and Jane was 'Hon Sec' (honourable secretary) for a while. She sent us HHH t-shirts for Christmas that year. 

Wikipedia dates Hash runs back to 1938 in Malaysia, but they apparently based their runs on what Brits called a 'paper chase' that dates back to 1880s, which is in turn based on the Elizabethan game of 'Hunt the Hare' or 'Hunt the Fox'. The Paper Chase involves a lead runner dropping bits of paper for his chasers to find.  The 'hare' or the 'fox' are usually the faster runners in a group. 

What has all this to do with Wallington Hall? Well, it seems that George M. Trevelyan, whilst in his undergraduate days at Trinity College, Cambridge, was a co-founder of a race in the Lake District, sometimes called the Lake Hunt and sometimes referred to as the 'Trevelyan Manhunt', beginning in 1898. G.M.'s (disinherited) nephew was involved in this race for forty-two years and so far as I can tell, it is still run, but by two separate groups.  There is the Trevelyan Manhunt and there is possibly a manhunt run by Trinity College, Cambridge.

Though, given the 'health and safety' considerations raised by this author, it may have fallen by the wayside for Cambridge students. In any case it is clearly considered an historical and hallowed tradition by some, even important enough to mention in their obituary.

1 comment:

Gam Kau said...

The HHH run sounds like the most fun version of exercise I could possibly dream up! I learn the most interesting things reading your blog. :)