Run away from the city!

By Royal Mountain Travel January 30, 2013

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Whether you’re on holiday or you live in Kathmandu it’s important to venture into the wider valley to stock up on fresh air and escape the city’s overflowing sites and sounds. A long-standing tradition (predominantly amongst expats) that I knew nothing about until a few weeks ago is the Hash House Harriers. This motley crew of semi-serious runners and professional drinkers operates at 1700 locations around the world. Kathmandu is no exception. Every Saturday the group will converge at a relatively remote and picturesque part of the valley.

We followed directions and arrived at the tap and tree that were highlighted as landmarks for the race’s starting point. A couple of us hadn’t been before and tentatively registered our names and paid 500 rupees for the post-exercise drinks. We had heard rumours about this drinking session that sounded like initiation rituals at American Frat houses. The location for the run was just past Gokarna Resort, surrounded by craggy hills and farmland. After waiting for the more hungover competitors to arrive we set off on what was roughly a 10 km run. There is also the option to walk a shorter route, which makes it accessible for a range of people.

The aim is to follow a trail of torn up pieces of paper and to collectively find your way. Kind of like grown ups living out their Hansel and Gretel fantasies. You have to stop at checkpoints and wait for the other runners. These are welcome breaks. It’s conducted at such a manageable pace that you are able to chat with your comrades and take in the view whilst getting some serious exercise. There are all sorts of quirky rules and lingo that comes along with the event and you should go without knowing them (it makes it more fun).

Once you’ve taken the final steps towards the finishing line you are greeted with a table of snacks and a cooler of beers. What then followed was the initiation.  This involves drinking (sometimes from a shoe), singing cultish songs about drinking and standing in the middle of a circle of regulars like a sacrificial lamb. It’s a good laugh and a fun way to rid yourself of Friday night’s hangover and a unique way to get away from the city. For more information visit Royal Mountain travel  or the Hash House Harriers’  page.

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