Each year, Red Dress Runs are held across the globe to celebrate the world’s largest running club. The Hash House Harriers (also known as HHH or H3) is an international group of non-competitive social running clubs.
Fun fact: the participants technically refer to themselves as “hashers.”
Hashers can be traced back to 1938 in the country that we now call Malaysia. British colonial officers and ex-patriates would meet on Monday evenings to run and release all the stress and negativity of the week. Hashing slowly died out after Malaysia was invaded during World War II, but was eventually restarted in Singapore, and continued to spread throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. Traditionally, the runners, or “hounds,” stay together when the appointed leader, or “hare,” begins chanting “on-on” when he/she spots a marker indicating their path.
In 1987, a young woman wearing a red dress and heels arrived in Southern California and stumbled upon a group of hashers. She insisted on joining them on their run despite their obvious concerns. The next year, the girl received an invitation and an airplane ticket to join the first official Red Dress Run in San Diego, California. “The Lady In Red,” as she is now remembered, suggested to the HHH that each subsequent Red Dress Run be utilized as a way to raise money for local charities.
Today, The Red Dress run has raised millions of dollars for a wide variety of charities. 100% of their proceeds go to local charities. According to their official website, “The New Orleans Hash House Harriers attracted 7,000 participants to their Red Dress Run in 2010, raising more than $200,000 for 50 local charities.” The New Orleans club has now raised over two million dollars dating to 2018.
“A New Orleans Drinking Club With a Running Problem”
The fun(draising) run in New Orleans is held every year on the second Saturday of August. It usually starts at Crescent Park in the Marigny and continues through the French Quarter. Following the New Orleans Hash House Harriers’ motto and because the run is limited to individuals over the age of 21, participants are encouraged to enjoy New Orleans’ one-of-a-kind Frozen Daiquiris, Hurricanes, and Hand Grenades. This year, the 24th anniversary of the Red Dress Run, was held on August 11. The registration includes donations to local charities, along with special live music and beers for the run.
Have you ever heard of encouraging alcohol consumption as fuel to finish a marathon? Sign up for the next annual Red Dress Run to try it out for yourself.
COVER PHOTO: The Times Picayune