Tips for Hares

Tips for Hares

Firstly, well done for volunteering to lay a trail – the hash would not work without your help!  These instructions are guidelines, so if you want to change something, be our guest; just remember we’re a mixed bunch, so try and consider everyone if possible.

So you want to hare a trail?

Speak to the Hare Raiser: they’ll be over the moon that someone has volunteered, and will sign you up for a slot.  Don’t know who the hare raiser is?  Check the MisManagement page.

What does being a hare involve?

As a hare, you’re meant to:

  • Find a pub
  • Tell the hare raiser when you’ve confirmed the pub, a few weeks in advance
  • Plan and set a trail
  • Be on hand to guide people round it on the night, and correct the pack if they get hopelessly lost

That might all seem obvious, but you’d be surprised!  You might want to add some extra sparkle to your trail, such as a drink stop or other surprise – speak to the Hare Raiser about these, as we try to spread them out through the year.  The primary job of a hare is to set a good trail with a good pub at the end of it – get those right and the rest will follow.  

Picking Your Location & Pub

London is a big place so try and pick somewhere we haven’t been recently; the only restriction is it should be in TfL Zone 1 or 2.  Make sure you get it arranged at least 3-4 weeks in advance, to give everyone notice where they’re going.

The pub should:

  • Be fine with 50 people turning up, singing a few songs (either inside or outside) at around 9pm, then buying plenty of beer
  • Have somewhere we can leave our bags
  • Not be somewhere we’ve run in the last month or so

If you want to run from a pub, visit it a few weeks before, explain what we do and ask them to okay it.  

Here’s a map of pubs we’ve used in the last two years

If you use one of our regular pubs who know and love us, they’re almost bound to say yes the minute they hear from you – the Hare Raiser can give you a list of these if you want.

If you want to use a pub we’ve seldom/never used before, visit them in person, talk to the manager and give them the salient points:

  • We’re a running club, we’d like to do our weekly run from your pub
  • We’re called the Hash House Harriers and we’ve got about 40-50 runners
  • We’ll turn up to drop off bags about 7pm
  • We’ll run until about 8pm
  • We’ll come back and drink/eat until closing time
  • Do they have a room we could book or any storage we could use (e.g. the beer cellar) for bags while we run?

If they seem amenable, try to wangle some free down down beer: sell them on the benefits of having 50 drinkers on a quiet Tuesday night – having the hash can increase their take by £300-700 per night, so 5 free pints of their oldest cheapest cask is nothing in comparison. If they aren’t game, don’t push it – they might be more amenable next time once they realise what a lovely bunch we are.

Finding Plasterboard

Locate some chalk or plasterboard from your neighbourhood skip or ask someone on the Hash for it (we have our sources!)  In some places you can lay the trail in flour, but in the Square Mile or the Royal Parks, you mustn’t do this – stick to plasterboard/chalk.

Doing a theme or a drink stop

If you want to do a DS or have a theme for your run, check with the Hare Raiser first: we try to keep these things spaced out so that we aren’t getting people to dress up every single week.  

If we do agree a drink stop in advance, the committee will reimburse you: submit your receipts to the Hash Banker using the Expense Reimbursement Form

Drink stops are best near the end of the run.  Try to find somewhere quiet, safe and slightly out of the way, where we can enjoy our drinks without being disturbed by cars all the time.

Laying the Trail

The main aim of the hash is for everyone to start and finish together, having run as far and as fast as they want. Most hares end up spreading the pack out too much, so make sure you put in lots of extra diversions, checks, fish hooks and false trails – the more the better.   

A general rule the more you piss off the fast runners, the better the run, and secretly they love it. 

It’s best to set the trail on the day of the run if you can.  If you set it the evening before, check the trail on the day of the run – especially if it has rained since you set it.

If in doubt, add extra checks, false trails and fish hooks!  To repeat: most hares end up spreading the pack out too much, so putting in too many diversions is not realistically going to be an issue.


Virgin hares nearly always put in too few checks, and the pack ends up strung out.  If in doubt, add more checks!  

As a good rule of thumb, aim to fit at least ten on your trail.

Checks should be hard, the trails between them should be easy.  Runners shouldn’t have to guess to get from arrow to arrow, but the checks should allow slower runners to get there before the FRBs have found the new trail.

If a check is too close to another part of the trail, you run the danger of the hashers finding this and running the wrong way!  To prevent this, you can put False Frails (FT and a cross across the pavement) to stop people discovering another part of the trail.

Regroups (a check with a big RG in it) can be used to bring the pack back together.  In general though, try to avoid them: there should be enough false trails, checks etc to keep the pack together.


Our trails tend to be about 8 km long.  Anything over 10 km, particularly in winter, and you’ll get some annoyed looks in the pub.  Anything less than maybe 6.5 km and the race-ists among us might feel we haven’t earned our beers.  

If you have  a drink stop, reduce the distance slightly so we still get back to the pub in time.

We ideally aim to set an SCB trail which is 2-3 km shorter than the FRB.  This isn’t always possible, but if you’re doing a 10 km midsummer epic you really should find a shorter way home for the velocity-challenged in the pack

Extra trail-laying tips

  • DO NOT set the trail on a bicycle – it never works out well.  If you’re short on time after work you can always set the trail on foot the night before, then check it by bike on the day.  
  • Parks often close early in the winter, so check times on the entrances before laying the trail.
  • Try to put marks in places where they won’t get trampled or washed away before 7pm Tuesday night. If it’s winter set the marks so they will be visible in the dark.
  • If possible, try to set the trail on the same side of the pavement, so people’s eyes are naturally drawn to your next arrow. 
  • If you are co-haring, try to set the trail together.  If you have to set half each, make sure you agree an exact meeting point so the pack don’t get lost halfway.  

During the run

  • Bring spare chalk on the night and give pieces to a couple of reliable hashers who can mark through the checks.  Preferably don’t give this to the FRBs – we need to allow everyone else to catch up!
  • Once the pack has left, mark the out-trail from the pub clearly so that late-comers can easily find the start of the trail.
  • During the hash, run/cycle around with the pack and make sure they’re on trail.  It’s amazing how people can misunderstand marks that were clear when you drew them, so you’ll probably need to set the pack back on the right track at some point.  
  • Mark all checks through for any latecomers trying to catch up and lay extra markings where deviations are possible.

Congratulations on getting to the end of this!  If you’ve got any questions, the Hare Raiser and the rest of the committee would love to answer them – the more hares, the easier their jobs are going to be.  Happy Haring!