SO, YOU WANNA HARE?!?
Having hashed with SWH3 long enough to have gotten into the double digits (you know, more than 10 runs), you have undoubtedly dashed home and frantically turned to this section for instruction on how you, too, can join that elite group of hashers known as SWH3 Hares. Now you should be able to hare a successful run.
Not to put any undue pressure on you up front, but you should understand that hashers judge each other by their ability to lay good trail (that’s with an “r”) probably more than any other characteristic. There is general, abiding respect for hashers who make the effort to hare regularly; about the only thing you can do worse than lay a shitty trail is to not even make the effort. Take it from this, haring is fun and it’s at the heart of what hashing is all about. However, don’t be misled—it’s not as easy as it looks and involves a good bit of work. But since most hashers only set about two trails a year, it’s worth putting some time and effort into it.
For starters, simply find someone you think it would be fun to hare with and discuss setting a trail together. Failing this, approach the RA who will help you find someone to co-hare with. For your first trail, you must work with an experienced hare.
Haring a good trail is simple. Just make sure you have covered your bases in each of these areas: Trail, Food & Beer, Safety, and, most importantly, Fun.
Find a co-hare. Before you even search for a trail, find another hasher or two to help you hare. If you are a first-time hare, it is imperative that you find an experienced hare to co-hare with. They can advise you on trail layout, food selection, and hash logistics. Don't be afraid to ask someone to hare with you who you don't know well. You can make friends quickly through haring together. A total of four hares is probably the most that you want—the potential for screw ups increases exponentially with the number of hares!
Select a trail. Often, it is easiest to find an ending site (the On In) first, then the parking for the start, and connect the two. The On In should be a relatively secluded place where the hash can eat and drink unmolested by property owners, police, and other non-hashers. If you don't know it already, it is unlawful to drink alcoholic beverages in Virginia parks and on public school property. Keep in mind that expected weather is rarely what you find on your hare day. Be prepared for the worst, and always have a backup plan. Especially during cold/rainy seasons, indoor On Ins are particularly prized. At any time of season, shelter is appreciated! Remember that non-refundable party room fees (such as are common at apartments and condos) eat into your budget (see below). If you have something REALLY special in mind that might force you over your budget, you must contact the GM.
It is preferred that the start be within walking distance of the On In, so that people can walk back to their vehicles (referred to as an A-to-A prime run). If this is not possible, plan on providing transportation back to the start (known as an A-to-B run). It is assumed that all trails are dog- and stroller-friendly, unless the hares announce otherwise in their directions.
The trail itself should be devious and challenging, but not life-threatening and absolutely not on private property unless permission has been obtained. Try to find interesting things to run on/through/in like sewers, forests, hills, swamps, creeks, ravines, business parks, protests on the Mall, etc. Avoid stretches of flat blacktop and railroad tracks.
The trail should take 40-50 minutes when you run it straight through (without running the BTs), or about 4-6 miles in length. The length of the trail is often dependent upon the weather. If it is sleeting or frost-bite bitter cold outside or the heat index is expected to go off the charts, the length should be shorter than on breezy spring or fall-like days. During the winter, if you must run the pack through water, don’t do it at the beginning of the trail; near the end is preferable as long as you have a heated On In.
Walkers. SWH3 is blessed with the presence of a substantial walking crowd most every week. The walkers’ trail should be about 2/3 of the distance of the runners’ trail. The best walkers’ trails are those which merely short cut various parts of the runners’ trail. For the walkers, there are several options: you can mark the walkers’ short cuts on the runners’ trail; or, if you are afraid that the pack will short cut the runners’ trail, you can give the walkers a map of the trail with their short cuts noted or specific instructions on what to do where; or you can set a separate walkers’ trail.
D-erections. Two weeks prior to the hash date, you need to provide the start location and simple, clear directions—so that even people with half-a-brain can follow them—to the Hare Raiser so that they can be included in the hash trash, on PUDJAM and on the web page. A tip: unless you are extremely sure about the accuracy of the directions you provide, go out and drive them to make sure that you have the exit numbers, names of streets, route numbers, right/left turns, etc. noted correctly, and that you aren’t providing directions the wrong way down one-way streets or through blocked streets due to construction zones. Your hash won’t be any fun if no one can finish it because they couldn’t find the start!
Marking the trail. It will be helpful to know the SWH trail markings before you try and set a trail—this is not a good time to learn on the job. On the day of the run, have enough flour & chalk to handle your trail markings—figure about 5 pounds per mile, more if much of the trail is through a lot of shiggy.
Mark the trail deviously, but don't make it Mission Impossible. Nothing angers a pack more than encountering an unsolvable check. So plan your checks well. True trail should pick up somewhere within about 150 feet of a check. After four marks, the pack should have a reasonable expectation that they are on true trail—this is the time to clue them in with either a hare’s arrow or a big fat BT. Vary the location of your marks: alternating sides of the street, on trees, on fence posts, etc. Do not put hare’s arrows or checks on BTs. Marks should be about every 100 feet—closer in tall grass or nasty shiggy. Don’t change direction unless you use a hare’s arrow or a check, or, at a minimum, three quick successive marks of flour. If it’s pouring rain when you set trail, make sure you put down tons of marks in areas where they are less likely to get washed away—like the trunks of trees. Also, FYI, flour endures rain OK, chalk evaporates in seconds. If snow is a possibility, mix some carpenter’s chalk (available at Home Depot) in with the flour; this will help it show up against the snow. Always carry chalk as a backup.
Upon completion of the trail, leave several copies of the directions to your On In back at the start (such as on the windshield of the hash check-in vehicle) when you go to move the bag vehicle. Late comers and the hopelessly lost will really appreciate it. The hares are then responsible for ensuring that the pack's bags are safely unloaded at the On In.
FOOD & BEER
Budget. Your basic budget is the number of hashers times 5 Euro (food, drink, flour, utensils, garbage bags combined). If you think that you will exceed your budget, or you have something “special” planned, talk to the GM for advance approval. Otherwise, the hash thanks you for your very generous contribution!
Ensure there is enough beer and soda to cover the On In. These items belong to the hash. Don't use the hash's beer for any private function (i.e., any time the entire SWH3 hash is not present). A general guide for the On In is 7 cases of beer, and 5-6 cases of soda (sodas should include a variety of diet and non-diet and maybe even some bottled water). [Note: Total Beverage, the Price Club/Costco, and BJ’s generally have the best prices on beer.] Ask the Joint Masters or the Hash Register if the hash is averaging more or less than these amounts and plan accordingly.
Receipts. Hares are expected to sign in and pay their 5 Euro for the run and then get reimbursed for their expenses—so keep your receipts. It is considered poor form to be a dumb shit, lose your receipts, and expect the Hash Cash to reimburse you. At the very least, it will take longer for you to get your reimbursement. It is best to have your receipts available and totaled the day of your run. Handing the Hash Cash a wad of cash register receipts that aren’t totaled or that contain your groceries for the week is not really smart since it is unlikely that the Hash Cash will be carrying a calculator to the hash, and if you think that the Hash Cash can add correctly, well, you deserve whatever you get. If you are to be paid by check, you might also want to write down your nerd name—having to explain to your banker that you really are the very same “Cum Sucking Road Whore” listed as payee on the check might be an interesting experience, but it probably won’t improve your bank balance.
Coolers & Stuff. You or your co-hare(s) must attend the hash one week prior to your event. This will allow you to pick up the coolers and inventory the previous week's leftovers (beer, soda, flour, utensils, garbage bags, and down down cups). Don't buy any of these items until you know what has been turned over to you! Since we have at least 5 coolers and a large plastic storage container, unless you have a pick-up or SUV, you may need more than one car to carry all of this.
Hares are also responsible for having a bag vehicle to carry all of the dry hash bags from the start to the On In. If you or one of your hares has a pick-up truck that will hold all of the bags, that’s great. But keep in mind that someone will have to stay with the vehicle after the pack leaves—we don’t want a bunch of hash bags sitting out in the open unguarded for anyone to just help themselves. If you have an SUV, you may still need a back-up since, on average, there will be about 60 hash bags in the winter, and perhaps 80 during the summer.
This paragraph contains absolutely no bullshit, so listen up. Hares are responsible for reasonable safety considerations on trail. The most dangerous hashing areas are major roadways and railroad tracks. If you have to cross a big road, do it at a light/crosswalk and mark it clearly—avoid blind curves, hills, etc. Keep off of live railroad tracks unless there is a large enough shoulder on the side to safely accommodate large groups of hashers in the event a train comes by. Do not have the pack blindingly running around highways and high speed tracks trying to solve some stupid check. You also need to carefully check the trail beforehand to make certain that creeks haven't risen over their banks, no areas are washed out, etc. and for barbed wire-type hazards in the woods, and for debris or jagged metal in creekbeds or storm sewers. Splitting some wanker’s head open on a piece of angle iron protruding from the roof of a dark tunnel would put a damper on your hash, to say the least. Just ask Byte Lightning.
SWH3 goes rain or shine every time. If you're haring in the winter, provide shelter for the pack at your On In. If you're haring in the summer, provide at least one water stop for the pack.
The hares are responsible for ensuring that all starters get in safely. The hares shall conduct a sweep up following the On In if any starters are unaccounted for (particularly if the pack has informed them of a grievous error in trail-laying protocol). It is not Mismanagement's job to defend hares against angry, cold, wet, late hashers.
Keep in mind that haring should be fun! Haring is to hashing what hashing is to real life. Use your imagination, ingenuity, and sense of humor to create a fun experience for everyone. By the time you start out laying the trail, you won't be able to stand the excitement!!! This excitement is commonly referred to as a Hare High. Roto, a Grand Master of the FH3, once stated: "A Hare High is way better than sex. But hey, don't tell my wife that."
Once everyone has been accounted for and you've fed and watered the pack, congratulations! You can relax and bask in your successfully completed hare.
QUICK CHECKLIST FOR HARES
· Pick your co-hares and start planning your trail. The fun begins.
Two weeks prior:
· Provide start info/directions to the Hare Raiser
One week prior:
· Pick up coolers and leftovers from that week’s hares
· Inventory what’s there and make a shopping list
During the week prior:
· Go shopping for what you need—don’t forget the flour and chalk and ice for the beer & sodas and keep in mind your budget
· Prepare whatever gourmet treats you have in mind
· Identify the bag vehicle(s) and who will be responsible for it
· Have the entire trail thought out with where the checks and any BTs or check backs will be located
· Make sure all the hares know the entire course
Day of Run:
· Safety check trail
· Set up water stops
· Take the food/drinks to the On In
· Drive bag vehicle to the start
· Make sure you're having fun; if you’re not, something is wrong!
· Sign in and give receipts for expenses to Hash Cash
· Give the walkers their map/directions
· Set the trail (laughing all the way at how clever you are)
· Leave directions to the On In on the check-in vehicle at the start
· Drive bag vehicle to On In and unload bags
· Transport hashers back to start
· Congratulate yourself and your co-hares on a great job!
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