West Mersey Hash Harriers’ Run, Ardleigh – Saturday 10th February

Story and pics contributed by Rachael

Three of us – me, Miriam and Pete – headed to the Wooden Fenders pub in Ardleigh on Saturday to take part in the weekly hash run with the West Mersea Hash Harriers. About 15 runners turned out to take part. It was a cold morning but we soon warmed up as we headed off, running across the fields.

The hash run followed a sawdust trail set out by “the Hare” with various symbols along the way to guide the runners as to which way to go. The leading runners would spot the markers first and shout out, “On-On”, to indicate everyone should follow. Occasionally there would be a choice of direction so different runners would head off along the different alternatives as one or more routes might turn into a dead end, marked with lines of sawdust. Here we would have to return to the choice marker and continue on the correct route.

At various points along the way there was a two-spot marker. At this point the front runners would have to run back to the back person. This keeps the group together, the faster front runners have to do extra and the back runners are able to catch up, which means runners of all abilities can take part.

The sawdust markers we had to follow

There were also occasional re-grouping points where all the runners had a quick break to allow for the slower ones to catch up. The terrain covered was quite mixed, though on the whole it was generally easy running on tracks and good footpaths across fields and through woodland. But there were a couple of really muddy fields where our shoes became twice as big and heavy, and the running was really tough.

The run took us just over an hour to cover about 5.5 miles. This was my first hash run and I really enjoyed it. It makes the running a bit more fun as there are lots of things to look out for on the way and it is great that people of various running speed can take part.

Look out for another opportunity to join in with one soon!