The Art of Manliness
And so it was that One-Eyed-Jack single-handedly engineered a return to the traditional, solid standards of the N2TH3 night run: mozzies, steep hills, shiggy replete with spider webs, dastardly checkbacks just when flaking out, and a swamp dip.
The GM was unusually on time, having sped on his new triple cylinder 850cc Yamaha to the start up Mui Tsz Lam Road (Shatin’s favourite road for uphill cyclists and foxy female night joggers). He was met only by Liberace, performing a 15-point turn in his rape-van, and the moping hare, OEJ. The GM, being on a motorbike, then proceeded to ride up the road looking for trail, overtaking the unmistakeable loping form of Gunplowder Plod and his K9 only friend Dougal, who was not only sneakily checking trail – he had started so he could get ahead, the FRB! We never saw him on the rest of the run.
Back at the sitting-out area start, the strains of a domestic ding-dong heralded the arrival of the lesser-spotted Yin Yin and her Chelsea-supporting husband. But where was everyone else? Where were the lover-batty-boys Mango Groove and Eunuch? Where was Catch of the Day? “Don’t worry”, said OEJ, “they’ve got the beer, ice and Catch of the Day in the car. They’ll be along soon”. Mmm.
The travelling ogre Golden Balls was next to arrive and, despite the protestations of the spawny hare, conspired with Salesman to set off before the runners arrived. “You’d better go first, Yin Yin” they politely waved, to which she took great exception, “Why me? Who’s to say I’m not better than any of you lot!”, at which point she was gently reminded of last Sunday’s search party and two hour circle delay in her honour. So off they went, up the road, walking straight through all the checks until they had a nice little rest at another sitting-out area as Golden Balls and Salesman strolled leisurely past, chatting about all sorts of hash nonsense and gossip, oblivious to what was to come.
Left over the dam they strolled, and up back along the dark upper Mui Tsz Lam Road. Then they heard the runners below, approaching fast, shouting poofy hash things like “On to a check!” (unmarked, of course), “Trail!”, “On!On!”. At the check GB wisely proceeded straight on through the hole in the DSD fence. Salesman, seeking challenge, elected to check the precarious shiggy climb option, leading to a philosophical diversion.
Across cultures and time, honour and manliness have been inextricably tied together. In many cases, they were synonymous. Honour lost was manhood lost. Because honour was such a central aspect of a man’s masculine identity, men would go to great lengths to win honour and prevent its loss. Salesman’s foray was bad timing, however, as he let out a rapid series of shrill screams about a spider or…something, and did a little rain dance, just as Catch of the Day ran past, suitably unimpressed.
Through the hole, and it was a world of in-your-face, uphill shiggy on the lower west slopes of Ma On Shan. Most knackering. Eunuch and Mango caught up at this stage, though the delightful squeaks of COTD could be heard still some way ahead. Up to the ridgeline with great night views of Shatin, and nice open downhill paths, but still tricky to the majority of us having broken/pinned ankles. Then a tricky check back, the trail naughtily breaking left immediately at the on-on, and down into steep shiggy and bamboo on slippery gravel, rocks and roots.
This lower part, completely dark, hot, humid and mozzie-infested, contained OEJ’s pièce de résistance – a dunk in a muddy swamphole – followed by pushing on into ever encroaching face shiggy, and finally, whilst only 50m from the bucket, a check back.
There was no way forward, but to go back uphill through this shit, feeling hot and knackered, and check imagined trails to left and right. It just wasn’t champagne hashing. The way out was higher up but pretty obvious once found. How come we all fell for it? How come no one called? Because it’s the N2TH3, dear reader, and everyone finds their own personal hell on our runs.
At last, back on to the road and a 50m jog to bucket, and a jolly good circle, but no sex, as we were all too hot, dirty and sweaty for COTD, and Antiseptic’s waters on the verge of breaking, and too tired even if Golden Jelly, being a fresh non-runner, was up for it. But there were plenty of “down-downs” (another poofy hash expression). There seemed to be lot more hashers now. Maybe 14 or so. It was all a bit of blur to be frank. And then Yin Yin came.