REVIEW: 25th Oil Industry Hash
By Sarah-Jane Kelland, PESGB Surrey Branch co-organiser
I’ve heard people say that a volunteer is a person who does not understand the question. That was certainly true in February when I offered to organise the 25th Oil Industry Hash. Not only did I not know what a Hash involved, but I had never run in my life. Five months of running training later, with plenty of advice from my friends, I have completed my first ever Hash. So what did I think? With the combination of my love of the outdoors, companionship and exercise, it was one of the best things I have ever done. Yes really!
The day started wet and cool but as the hour of the event approached, we were rewarded with a change in conditions. In full sun and under a blanket of blue sky we set off as a pack in our Hash t shirts from the White House pub Guildford watched by many Surrey Branch members who had turned up in support. The quest for us ninety-one runners, including many current and former PESGB committee members was to locate patches of flour and flour tracks dusted at intervals along a route through the Surrey hills. Every time a flour mark was seen, the signal ‘On! On!’ was called out so runners behind knew this was the correct route on which to keep running.
The first flour circle was spotted on the tow path next to the River Wey. This meant a ‘checking point’ with three possible onward routes to check. The fastest runners took the lead and did the checking, before a cry of ‘On! On!’ rang through the air. The circle was kicked through quickly to show the right route, and we were off again. Footprints gently caressing stone steps as we funnelled through the narrows of Rosemary Alley, changing in tempo as we raced under the stone arch to Castle Hill and slowing to dull thuds on the steeply inclined earthworks around Guildford Castle.
Soon we left the city behind for the damp and musky air of Chantry Wood. Up, up through shady beech groves, ‘On! On!’ to the brow of the hill, where our thoughtful Hare had positioned a marshal who pointed out the choice of a 10-11km loop or a 5-6km loop. I chose the shorter route winding through the woods before emerging above a view of the Tilling Bourne glinting in the distance whilst weaving through wheat fields below. The harvest-ready field negotiated and a few false trails investigated, we dashed past the Eighteenth Century Shalford Mill as we headed west, the cool breeze on our skin a welcome touch as we jogged to the sound of church bells through cow pastures along the River Wey. ‘On! On!’ to the tow path and back to food, drink and conversation at the pub. This was the English countryside at its best. This was outdoor adventure at its best. What more could you want on a warm summer’s evening?
Our grateful thanks go to our Hare (Graham Dean) and his marshal (Alistair Day) for laying not one, but two exciting courses to suit all running abilities. Our sincere thanks also go to the PESGB, HXB Oil and Gas Consultants, Shearwater and Zinc Consultants for sponsoring the Hash. The aims of this event were outreach and to have fun with our industry colleagues. Judging by the feedback we have had and the number of people still in the pub at 10.30pm, we did achieve both. It would be great to continue the annual tradition of the oil industry Hash. If you would like to help sponsor the event next year, please let us know.