New York City Hash House Harriers History
In the best Hash tradition, accounts of the NYCH3’s founding are generally misleading, incomplete, or wrong. The 500th Run Commemorative Newsletter history names the wrong founders, misspells their names, and leaves out a number of early officers. So to get the story straight, I consulted directly with Lee Carlson, now of Washington, D.C.
From my own observation, Lee was the driving force behind the early NYCH3, tirelessly promoting it throughout the tri-state region. Lee’s hashing history was set out in the July 1984 issue of Winged Foot, the newsletter of the New York Athletic Club. According to Lee, he first encountered the Hash in Singapore during the mid-sixties when he was a student there. During the ’80’s Lee hashed as a visitor in numerous Asian hashes, while calling Summit H3 his home Hash. The article clearly had been written some time before the founding of the NYCH3, since it does not mention the NYCH3 and it was about the time of the article that the NYCH3 was founded.
While Lee was running with Summit, Terry Peek was posted to the Australian Consulate in New York. “The Pale Whale”, as he was known, he was an enthusiastic hasher, running slowly and drinking copiously. Several Hash social functions were held at the Consulate as a result of his association with the Hash. While Lee was running with Summit and considering organizing a Hash in New York City, Terry entertained similar notions. Terry organized a new Hash in Rye called the Big Apple Hash on May 5, 1984. The Big Apple Hash ran five times with packs of three to five runners.
Neither Lee nor Terry were aware of each other’s efforts. In August 1984 Lee set a Summit Hash in Central Park which he advertised heavily at the New York Athletic Club and elsewhere. This run was used to promote the idea of a New York City Hash running in New York City. Shortly thereafter Lee and Terry joined efforts, and a new Hash was fomed with the title, “New York City Hash House Harriers”.
The role of the New York Athletic Club parallels the Selangor Club’s role in Kuala Lumpur. The NYAC provided some of the original members, such as John Diesum, but the non-competitive nature of the runs proved too much and the NYAC’s participation waned.
Initially New York City varied its runs between Saturdays and Sundays, with the odd mid-week run thrown in, depending upon the Hashers’ schedules. After several years the current schedule of Wednesdays in the summer, Sundays in the winter, was established. Packs varied wildly in size from one week to the next in the early days. Twenty people was a crowd, seven or eight was not unusual. At least one run on the upper West Side drew only two runners, and was canceled for lack of interest. The hare (Peter Callaway), co-hare (Martha Barnes Callaway), and two-person pack (Lee Carlson and Keith Kanaga) retired immediately to the bar.
Packs now consistently number in the sixties during the summer, and the thirties during the winter.
Some other notable personalities involved in the early New York City Hash included Yvonne “Kiwi” Smith, now retired from active Hashing in New Zealand; Martha (Barnes) Callaway, currently best known for Willie C; Linda (Friberg) Bradish, now resident in Vermont with her husband, and ardent hasher, Steve; and Michael Wimbs, who has disappeared. A certain P.H. Dippides graced the mast head of the newsletter for several years, reflecting Lee Carlson’s bent sense of humor and alter ego.
From the beginning there has always been good comraderie and reciprocity between the New York (i.e., Westchester County) and New York City Hashes. In the 1970’s, New York Hash held occasional hashes in Manhattan during the summer. Both chapters have supported each other, and there are many joint members of the two organizations.
Major New York City H3 annual events currently include the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May; the Marathon Day Run, ending at the 23rd mile of the Marathon; the Post Marathon Recovery Run, held the day after the Marathon with taxis for who actually ran the 26+ miles; New Year’s Eve at Laird and Christine’s; and HOBARD (Hash Office Bearers Annual Reunion Dinner), a black tie affair.