For the uninitiated, The Hash House Harriers (A/K/A “Hash”) is an international running group dating back to the late 1930’s when some rowdy British expats in Malaysia decided they needed a way to sweat off their hangovers.
Despite these beginnings (or perhaps, because of them), hashes are now going strong around the world, with over 2000 chapters spanning every continent (although it doesn’t appear that Antarctica’s is currently active). Today, there are hashes for every walk of life: family hashes, women’s hashes, men’s hashes, group hashes … you get the idea. And Balikpapan is a hasher’s paradise, with a hash going on somewhere in town at least three times a week!
What it is: The hash (commonly referred to as “On-on” in Indonesia), is typically a 5 or 10 kilometer route (depending on the hash group) marked by shredded bits of white paper sprinkled sporadically along the way through villages (“kampungs”), fields, jungle and bustling roads. You just show up at the starting place — which changes every week –, and then follow the paper! Running in most of the groups is optional; in fact, walking affords more opportunity to snap photos, laugh with the throngs of children who swarm around you for high-fives and “Hey-mister-what-is-your-name?” exchanges, and just stopping to enjoy the amazing views that you probably would never otherwise encounter if it were not for the awesome people who plan out these routes. At the end, you’ll find yourself back at the starting point where a truck full of cold drinks (including water and soft drinks), some tasty snacks and your fellow hashers await. In short, this is tons of fun!
So, in honor of the great hashes in Balikpapan, below is a mashup of hash scenes in Balikpapan, mostly courtesy of my (somewhat blurry) phone camera.
Current Hash Schedule:
Men’s Hash: Mondays at 5 pm
Family Hash:Tuesdays at 5 pm
Women’s Hash: Thursdays at 5 pm (I think!)
Mixed Hash: Saturdays at 5 pm
As noted above, the hash location changes every week, so make sure you contact the hash leader or someone who is going to find the right locale!
What it Costs: 20,000 Rupiah per person (a little under 2 USD), which includes the hash run entry fee and two soft drinks or one beer at the end of the run.
Hash contact Info: The community in Balikpapan can be a transient one, so hash leaders that are here today may not be here next month or next year. If you are new to town, Indohash.com lists contacts, emails, facebook pages, etc., for various hashes in Indonesia, including Balikpapan’s. I’m not sure how updated this site is, however. Two other great resources for up-to-date information include the Balikpapan International Women’s Association (“BIWA”) at b-iwa.com and Balikpapan Expats at www.balikpapanexpats.com.
Or, drop a comment here and I’ll do my best to help you out!