National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago

naaatt :: media_artricles :: 2019

 

Interhash 2020 expands sports ecotourism experience

Newsday :: 06.08.2019

IN APRIL 2020, thousands of international hashers (trail runners) will descend on the shores of TT for the Interhash 2020. Participants range in ages from 45 to healthy, adventurous 80-year-olds.

With hashers already registered from 75 countries, TT's spectacular landscapes, flora and fauna will be on show. This event is sure to leave a lasting effect on the local communities and international hashers alike.

For four days (April 23-26), thousands of participants will trek across mountains, valleys, marshes, rivers, down our sandy beaches, ending with copious beastly, cold beers at the local "down down" sites. Sounds like a good lime. What else can they ask for?

Hashing begun in 1938, with the 80th anniversary celebrated last November at the home of hashing – the Gentleman's Club, the Royal Selangor Club Chambers, Kuala Lumpur, for British civil servants and businessmen, nicknamed "the Hash House." Hashing, as it became known, took on a life of its own, spreading across the world to over 2,000 hash house kennels, creating a close network of global travellers.

The name hash house harriers (runners) was born, and it is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the largest non-competitive sport in the world.

While there are nash hashes (national hashes) and regional hashes, the Interhash, or the first international hash, took place in Hong Kong in 1978, and has been held every even-numbered year (bi-annually) since. The Interhash Trinidad 2020 will be the 22nd anniversary of this international event.

In 2016, a group of TT hashers travelled to the other side of the world, to Bali, to attend the Interhash there. Recognising the potential of that event for TT tourism, they returned to the Interhash two years later in Fiji to submit a bid to host the Interhash here in 2020. Competing against hashing big guns like India, Dubai, Malaysia and New Zealand, TT's five-minute presentation created great excitement and made the country a crowd favourite. Hashers from around the world danced to soca music and cast their votes for TT.

Many records were broken – it was the first time a first-time bidder had won and the first time it would be hosted in the Americas. In addition, it was the largest voter turnout, the largest winning margin and only the second time a female-led contingent had won the bid.

It's been dubbed the "Carnival of Hashes," and the promoters are determined to give the visitors a true TT experience, held over four days. it will be spread across both islands, . There are a few special runs – the Ball Breaker, the Old Farts run, the Red Dress and the newest Trini addition – the Jouvert Run, which will be held on the Friday morning in Chaguaramas: a nice mix of sports, ecotourism and culture.

Tobago offers the Pre Lube (the place to go before main event) ,with one run in the North Ridge and opportunities to explore Tobago's best spots – diving, golfing, fishing, stand-up paddling, mountain biking, goat racing or just taking in the Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool.

Eighteen trails of varying difficulty are already being tested by teams of local hares, who have chosen some of Trinidad's most beautiful sites across the island for their runs.

Large groups of volunteers have also come forward to be part of this historic event, ensuring the participants enjoy a seamless, safe and memorable experience on our shores.

If you see large groups of people running in your communities, following strange markings on white paper, saying, "On, on," as they pass by, it's not a secret code. That's what hashers do.

Surrounding communities have the opportunity to get involved as hashers enjoy TT hospitality. The Arena Forest, Talparo, Heights of Aripo, Matura, Rampanalgas, Gran Couva, Blanchisseuse, Santa Cruz, Arima and others all offer the hashers stunning vistas. International hashers will be challenged at the Gorge, strained during the ball-breaker run across El Tucuche to Maracas Bay, and tested across the Marianne River, to name a few. There will also be medium and easy runs mixed in for the more casual hasher.

Tour operators can get involved in the days leading up to the event, as hashers often choose to come in a few days before. Deep-sea fishing, the bird sanctuary, turtle-watching and other options are the favourite choices of international visitors.

It's not all running through trails. Hashers come for the liming too. This group of hardcore hashers uses this event every two years to reconnect with their friends, travel and experience new parts of the world, doing something they love. Hotels, guesthouses and AirBnBs in the St Ann's, Cascade, Woodbrook, St Clair and Maraval areas have all begun filling up as bookings are secured.

International events often have auxiliary events that accompany them and the Interhash is no exception. Many hash clubs put on their own special runs in the days leading up to the event, such as the Sad Cow Run and the Founders Run. Many of those clubs have already sent members of their teams to scope of the local scene and test their options, often choosing local bars as their clubs' "ground zero" for the duration of their stay here – a must for every travelling team. Restaurants and bars in those areas are well poised to reap the benefits of this event. Cold beers, a good lime and some ole talk are beacons to any hasher! Trinis must be natural born hashers!

Three all-inclusive fetes, a Jouvert run and a Red Dress run ending in a panyard, and 25 other runs across Trinidad will ensure that hashers leave here experts at the Trini lifestyle. One thing is for sure: having seen the natural beauty of the islands, having been covered in J'Ouvert paint, danced to pan and immersed themselves in the culture, there will be thousands of new Trini ambassadors. Words like liming, J'Ouvert, soca, fete and rumshops will now be part of their lingo.

If you want to join in the fun in this unique international event, you can register now at our website: Interhashtrinidad2020.com


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Interhash 2020 expands sports ecotourism experience
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A group of people taking a walk through a river. PHOTO COURTESY NIKI BORDE

Interhash 2020 expands sports ecotourism experience
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A person taking a look at the scenery during a nature trip. PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS ANDERSON

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