Hash House Harriers mark 2000th run

The Apia Hash House Harriers have marked their 2000th run in Samoa with a 10 kilometre trail in Manase, Savaii. 

Around 70 people have come to Savaii for the event on Saturday, adding a boost to an otherwise sleepy tourist season.

A.H.H.H or Hash for short, is a weekly social running club, started in Apia nearly 40 years ago.

It is one of nearly 2000 similar harrier clubs around the world. The first was started in Malaysia in 1938 by colonial officers and expatriates. 

There are even two clubs in Antarctica, as of 2003. 

Members of Hash take turns to host members for their weekly run and subsequent shared meal and socialising. Courtney and Ariane Stevenson of Stevensons at Manase hosted the 2000th run.

To celebrate, the pair and a team from Stevensons at Manase carved out a new walking trail through the hillside, which will be developed further for tourists and locals to continue using.

Co-founder Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale said he was proud to have seen more than 2000 runs, every Monday without fail.

"2000 for me is a major milestone," he said. 

"The Hash has developed a very strong tradition, and it's family."

Tuatagaloa said other Hash clubs are gender or age segregated but Samoa's is mixed, with even children coming along. 

In its early days, A.H.H.H was a male only club but after wives and partners were invited it eventually grew to include all, he said. 

It was also predominantly made up of expatriates but Tuatagaloa pushed to invite local Samoans to join.

"There is comradery, there is fellowship, there is this family thing that has developed.

"As the founder I am particularly proud to have been involved in starting something that has been very nice part of Samoa."

People who have long lived outside Samoa have returned for the occasion, from as far as Italy or nearby Australia.

"They are mostly expats who had served time here and we're very passionate about the Hash," Tuatagaloa said.

"It meant so much to them they came all the way back for it."

Nearly 150 people are expected to gather at Apia Concrete Products for the Upolu celebration of the 2000th run, an even bigger celebration than on Savaii.

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