If, like me, you like to discover new places on the Côte d’Azur and meeting friendly multi-national (mostly English-speaking) people of all ages, then you should check out the Riviera Hash House Harriers.
Founded in Kuala Lumpur in 1938, the worldwide Hash House Harriers is purported to be “a drinking club with a running problem” – not entirely the truth but not too far from it either.
Having recently joined the Riviera Hash, I have “hashed” now at Villeneuve-Loubet, Agay, Le Broc and Chateauneuf de Grasse (joined by my walking husband and two sons, 12 and 7).
Each Hash has been different in nature, but all have been fun. Through a clever system of false trails all “runners” keep close together, so it doesn’t matter if you are Mo Farrah or his grandmother in terms of speed, and there is always a shorter trail for dedicated walkers and talkers to discover.
Thirsty joggers and hikers have the chance to cool down at “The Beerstop”, strategically situated along the route, which always features crisps, beer, panache and water. This stop is often rather quickly followed by the finishing point, at which there is another opportunity to drink as prizes are “awarded” to those who excelled on the trails.
When I was researching the Riviera Hash’s history, I was regaled by a blast of emails resurrecting events and members from the past (the membership has included a couple of villains in its time!). The very first Riviera Hash was at Parc de Valmasque, Mougins, on Sunday March 13th, 1988, and a run has been organised every other Sunday since.
Once or twice a year, the Riviera Hash also arrange a Hash Away – a whole weekend of hashes, drinking and, I’m told, some culture thrown into the mix. I’ll be attending the next one, just over the border with Italy, from October 7th to 9th, 2016, and we will be hashing around Albenga (Friday evening pub crawl), Zuccarello (Saturday), and Toirano (Sunday).
Members are welcome to join other Hashes worldwide, and once every year there is an “Interhash”– this year it is taking place in Bali, and there will be a Eurohash in Vienna in 2017.
The Hash is open to everyone – families are very welcome – the first time is free and then annual membership of a steep €15 kicks in. The run is always followed by a meal in a local restaurant or perhaps a picnic in the summer months, so there is a social side to the club, too.
Sign up for our mailing list at www.rivierahhh.com to get details of future Hashes. All you need is a sense of humour and a pair of runners.