Running with the Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers

If you're looking for a unique way to spend your Sunday afternoons in Phnom Penh, the Hash House Harriers (PPH3) might be just what you need. This lively group proudly calls itself "a drinking club with a running problem," and they mean it in the best way possible.

What is the Hash House Harriers?

The Hash House Harriers is an international group that combines running with socializing. Originating in Kuala Lumpur in 1938, the Hash has spread to cities worldwide, creating a global community of like-minded enthusiasts. The premise is simple: a group of runners, known as "hashers," follow a trail set by a "hare," with the ultimate goal of enjoying some post-run camaraderie, often centered around beer.

Sundays with PPH3

Every Sunday, the Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers gather at the city's train station at 14:00 (2:00 PM). It doesn’t matter if you're a seasoned runner or just looking for a pleasant walk; all ages and fitness levels are welcome. For just $5, you'll get transportation, an organized trail, and beverages—quite the deal for a fun-filled afternoon.

The beauty of the Hash lies in its flexibility. You can choose to run the 8km trail or opt for the more relaxed 5km walk. The destination changes weekly, with the trail meticulously set the day before by dedicated hashers. The variety keeps things exciting, ensuring that each Sunday brings a new adventure.

Scenic Landscapes and Local Villages

One of the highlights of joining the PPH3 is the chance to explore the scenic landscapes and local villages around Phnom Penh. Each trail offers a unique glimpse into Cambodia's natural beauty and cultural heritage. You might find yourself running through lush rice paddies, crossing serene rivers, or meandering through charming rural villages where the locals often greet you with warm smiles and waves.

The routes often take you past beautiful temples, where you can pause to admire the intricate architecture and peaceful surroundings. These moments provide a perfect balance to the physical exertion, allowing you to soak in the tranquility and history of the area. The trails are not just about the run or walk; they are an opportunity to connect with the local culture and environment in a way that few other activities offer.

The Traditions

The PPH3 is steeped in traditions that add a layer of fun to the physical challenge. Here are a few you might encounter:

  1. The Circle: After completing the trail, hashers gather in a circle. This is a time for singing, joking, and a few good-natured punishments, known as "down-downs," where participants might have to drink a beer for various infractions (like being a first-timer, or "virgin" hash).
  2. Hash Names: Regular attendees might earn a unique Hash name, often based on a funny incident or characteristic. These names stick and are used within the Hash community.
  3. Hash Hymns: There are a variety of songs unique to the Hash House Harriers. These are typically sung during the circle, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Why Join?

Participating in the PPH3 offers more than just exercise. It’s a social event that provides an excellent opportunity to meet new people, explore different parts of Phnom Penh, and experience a blend of fitness and fun. Whether you're running or walking, the sense of community is palpable, and the shared experience of completing the trail and enjoying a cold drink together creates lasting bonds.

So, if you're in Phnom Penh and looking for a memorable way to spend your Sunday afternoon, come down to the train station and join the Hash House Harriers. You'll leave with a smile, a few new friends, and maybe even a quirky story to tell. On-On!

Emil Moe

Software- and Data Engineer

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