After meeting with a friend of Bill’s at Little Azio and having lunch I headed over towards Midtown for my second adventure in Hashing in Atlanta.
The start was supposed to be at CW Elementary School, next to Bedford Pine Park so of course I got thoroughly confused as I followed the directions I’d printed out and instead arrived at Central Park. Thankfully I held my nerve and kept on driving following my nose and stumbled across the school exactly where it was supposed to be. Hopefully no one noticed that in my mixed confusion, trepidation, and gleefulness to spot the gathering AH4 Hashers I turned British and drove into the car park the wrong way on a one way system. Oops?!
Upon arrival there were few Hashers in evidence and certainly none that I recognised from last week. I shuffled nervously, paid my dues, slathered myself in sun screen, sprayed copious amounts of bug repellant on my exposed flesh and settled down conspicously on the hot concrete to await my fate.
This was AH4 run number 1313 and at one point it really looked as though we would only have a spooky 13 runners taking part. A little extra waiting before the off brought in some latecomers though and superstition was averted. Bags were loaded into the bag car, the reading of the signs was given and with the sun bearing down on us the pack was let loose.
And so off we charged to sniff out the first track. Keenies charged off and the rest of us merrily jogged along for all of 400 metres before the keenies came racing back again, confused having hit a check back. Problem was no one had spotted a check. An auspicious start.
Heading back to the start the trail got hot again as the missing check was found and the pack thundered off once more. A succession of checks thereafter kept the pack together briefly but soon the runners began to spread out and I found myself huffing along at the back. This was disappointing as I don’t think I did as well fitness wise as last week and kept having to break into a fast walk. Determined, I kept on and managed to at least keep pace with another straggler in the form of Hung Jury, a strange bloke who in his day job is a lawyer. He was very quiet and kept rather to himself when he wasn’t giving me funny looks. Together we brought up the rear and followed the trail as it took us down Piedmont Avenue and the Civic Centre, past the Children’s Museum and into Centennial Olympic Park and then onwards through Five Points, the Georgia State University and through some government buildings where I spotted some war memorials.
At some point Hung Jury and I were running along a pedestrian overpass and were surprised to see Cumbyyou (I think) and a bunch of Hashers running back towards us. This dismayed me as I thought maybe we were an awfully long way behind on some loop, or that we’d hit a count back sign which would direct us to retrace our steps. Shouldn’t have worried though as the keenies had just charged off down a road and completely gone off track. They’d been barred from the Beer Near and were having to get back onto the trail and not short cut. Terrifyingly the trail had split off from this overpass and discharged us out at a 45 degree angle and instead of running back to the cut in the wall some of the blokes simply clambered up onto the overpass wall and leaped across the fall to join Hung Jury and I plodding on through across the hot concrete.
Onwards we trotted until Turner Field was in sight, I20 was crossed and we came to the most welcome view of the beer truck which meant a well earned rest. Here, Coffee Bean was the devil and tempted me with offers of a lift to the On Down. He said that the trail was longer than the hares had originally planned and that anyone who caved would only suffer and be made to down a drink at the Down Down with no hard feelings held against us. Proudly I held strong, and after a brief rest in the cool shade I determined to finish the trail under my own steam. A handful of Hashers started back on the search for dust and downing my drink I took the opportunity to tag along and tried not to get left wandering the flour on my own. Oh, and I also raised a few eyebrows at the Beer Near by using a half drunk lemonade to turn a horrible can of Bud into a tasty shandy. *if I was wearing a hat I would surely doff it in TVH3s direction*
The next mile and a half saw me trying to keep pace with Spread Eagle and not hold her up too much. We slogged our way through Grant Park and a touch of shiggy, finally making it to the On Down at Coffee Bean’s house. Narrowly did I miss out on having to do a Down Down penalty at arriving at the door a mere footstep before the last Hasher in. Though, that would hardly have been fair as we found that a bunch of the mad runners we’d left behind at the beer stop had indeed copped out and ridden at the devil’s side to make it to the end before us.
Food and drink was laid on at the house to celebrate Furry Balls’ birthday and many more Hashers than had run were out to help him drink to his old age, including Martha Screw-It, one of the two GMs and she who I had met last week. I stayed and chatted until the Down Down was done and then grabbed a lift back to the truck with Coffee Bean and an SUV packed with sweaty men, and women.
I just Google mapped the direct route from the start to the On Down and that comes out at 3.2 miles. We took a really round about route though and at a glance the internet seems to agree with Coffee Beans estimate of today’s run being about 6 miles in length. I don’t feel so bad about not running all the way now and it’s no wonder my legs are tired!