We have many good hares on the Northern. One Eyed Jack is one of them. His trails are always interesting, varied and well thought out. However, when he runs other hares trails, he short-cuts. Here is his trail-setting guide. After reading it, you’ll understand why he is known as “Bolshie Bastard” on a lesser hash.
One Eyed Jack’s Guide to Trail Setting
- Introduction Firstly, the first rule on the Hash is that there are no rules. But when setting a run there are guidelines that, coupled with common sense, should combine to give the pack a good evening out.
- Location Location can be anywhere in the New Territories. Pick your location well in advance so that the rest of the pack will know early where the start point will be. Pick a location for the bucket that can be easily reached and which won’t conflict with the public and has shelter in the event of rain. RECCE your run – that is, walk the trail at least once, preferably twice, to check the route and the length. It should take about twice as long to walk as to run it but adjust that for your own speed.
- Announcement Ideally, announce details of your run at the previous Wednesday’s hash. If that’s not possible, try to get the information to the Webshite by the weekend prior to the run so he can post it on this site, n2th3.org. Failing that, give at least a couple of days notice as not everyone has internet/email access immediately before a run.
- Transport and Parking Check where the drivers will park, preferably for free. Also, don’t place the bucket location too far from the cars, as the beer has to be carried in. Please add to your location announcement email how to get to the run start by public transport.
- Types of Trail For a normal A to A run you can set either a single trail or a combined rambo (longer, harder) and wimps (shorter, easier) trail. If a combined trail is not possible, have a suggested trail/walk for the wimps to amuse themselves on. For an A to B run make sure that transport is available to take bags to the bucket.
- Length of Run Runs much over one hour are not hash runs. If you want 15km of athletic training join a running club. The idea of the Northern New Territories Hash is to encourage people to have a reasonable amount of exercise and a large amount of fun. Extreme rambo runs should be the exception and should not exceed one hour and a half; a wimps alternative must also be set to provide a route for the less fit. A 60-minute run should take about 2.5 hours to set. Any more than that and the run could be TOO LONG. Remember it is the hare’s duty (with help from the pack) to find any missing hashers in the dark, late at night! The sign of a well-laid trail is that all the runners are back within five minutes after the first “true” hasher to finish (i.e., not short-cutting bastards or SCBs). Trails for which there is an hour or so between first and last finishers are obviously not good in any way and the hare needs his head examining.
- Marking the Trail As the Northern New Territories Hash runs at night, don’t use coloured chalk that becomes invisible under street lights and remember that trail is harder to spot, so use your brain and find areas or terrain that show up the markings better. Generally be liberal with your marking. Arrows or blobs of flour should be every 25-30 metres or so; this also applies to marking trail through shiggy with toilet paper, especially in forest, where there should be a direct line of sight from one piece of bog roll to the next. It’s not clever to lose your hashers in the jungle at night. In busy streets where markings are difficult to see or can get rubbed out and where traffic noise drowns the calls, your markings should be EVEN CLOSER. After a dry spell there will be hash arrows all over some areas. Use a special arrow or write the date and N2TH3 against the marks to assist the pack. Also, avoid too many marks under flyovers that do not get washed by the rain – they can remain there for years. And remember that in public parks, the plant beds get watered regularly and markings are easily washed away. Hash marks are graffiti as much as anything else. Let’s appear to be responsible people.
- Wet Weather In rain, use large blobs of flour that last a while, or even rice. You can put arrows and flour under overhangs where the rain will not wash them out immediately. Toilet tissue can be used – get the three-ply or four-ply stuff that is more rain resistant. In the past, telephone pages have been used and even slices of bread or rolls. Use your imagination. It is not smart to hide trail marks – it is stupid. DO NOT use plastic bags and tape to mark the trail. Only biodegradable please.
- When to Set the Trail The best time is on the day of the run. If set some time in advance the trail will need to be checked and freshened up.
- Keeping the Pack Together The main way of keeping the pack together is with checks. Let the pack have a bit of a run to the first check. In an hour you should have about 10 good checks, but the terrain may dictate this. Some hares like to have the first check at the start, but if it is too difficult to solve then the pack is split up immediately (bad and stupid idea).
- Open checks: checks with no arrows off them. FRBs (front-running bastards) are duty bound to mark checks indicating the correct trail. This is quickly achieved by foot scraping or placing a stick, stone, leaves (whatever is at hand) on the circle rim in the direction of trail. Some people think that if the backmarkers lose the pack that is “tough” and they should have to check the trail themselves, but they are forgetting that the aim is to get everyone back to the bucket within five minutes of each other, so they deserve all the shit they get!
- Checks with arrows or closed checks: The advantage of checks with arrows is that backmarkers can identify the possible trails immediately and front runners are slowed down by the options.. However, some hashers when marking an arrowed check for the correct trail get it completely arse about face. The basic principle is to cover up or destroy the incorrect arrows leaving the correct one clear and clean. Make sure you explain this clearly in the briefing.
- Tees and marked trails: a false trail from a split or closed check must have some markings and a T at the end of it. Any hasher who goes more than a hundred metres without seeing trail is as dumb as any hare who leaves such a gap in the trail.
- ON ON marks: one of the biggest failings of hares is leaving too big a gap before marking a positive on-on. They seem to think it is clever. The usual result is that one of the FRB’s dashes off and, when he eventually sees it some 300 metres on, his voice cannot be heard. This is the best way to split the pack. On-ons should be within 100 metres of a check and, in town, where traffic noise drowns the voices, they should be a lot less. Hares should keep the amount of trail in busy streets to an absolute minimum.
- Check backs: a check back means that you have missed a turning off the trail somewhere between the check back and the last on-on or check. This is a good way to turn the fast runners around to the back of the pack. Two words of warning: don’t do it too often (people get pissed off) and don’t write “ON ON” between the hidden turning and the check back as it is simply not true. On the Northern New Territories Hash, a check back is marked by a circle with “CB” written inside.
- Fishhooks: another good way to turn the front runners around is by use of the fishhook, where a designated number of front runners must run back and around the very last runner before proceeding on. This should only be attempted on well set trails where the pack is close together, and there should be no more than one fishhook on a run.
- Other hashes: different hashes use different symbols for these stratagems. Some hares seem to think it is clever to use other hashes’ markings on the Northern New Territories. It is not. Stick to the protocol.
- Beer Stops For special or noteworthy runs, a beer stop can be arranged part way through the trail in order to refresh the pack and hold/delay the FRBs.
- Terrain Try and be reasonable. It has been said before and I say it again – monster mountain climbs or millions of steps do NOT make a good hash run. A good run has variety and should finish with a nice flat (or slightly downhill) run-in to let the FRBs have a little stretch at the end. Just remember the best and the worst runs that YOU have been on and try to avoid the obvious pitfalls. Shiggy is fun but too much of it is not. Also, remember that when the pack has to go single file through jungle, the first man out is away and running whilst others are still plodding through. Thus, you must consider how to bring the pack back together again after this.
- Briefing If there are any special instructions or unusual aspects to the run then the hare must make an announcement of these before the start.
- Final Note Trails should be fun and safe, inventive and imaginative.. Remember, you are laying a trail in daylight which will be run in the dark. And, to keep the pack together, there can never be too many checks or check backs; keep the FRBs busy!