Here, there, everywhere – hash running in Korea

Annyong! Lindsay here.

Yesterday we said goodbye to another friend who is finished with her contract. She’s heading back to the states after a year of teaching here. But unlike most people who, when leaving, amass a giant crowd of foreigners to go to dinner and drinks downtown, she planned an interesting event for us all.

It’s called a hash run, a run around town to different pit stops to drink beer and socialize. Hash runs are pretty popular in Europe and big cities in the states (they even had a few back in Asheville). But Whit and I–and the rest of the group for that matter–had never partaken.

We met at 4 p.m. in our neighborhood–a group of about 20 of us. Koreans and foreigners. People in blue jeans. People in running tights. People in bright-red shorts, tights and red leg-warmers. People on bikes. And of course, people with cameras slung around their neck (me.)And we hit the streets, following chalk arrows to the next stop where we would stop and socialize and drink a little beer. (OK. for some it was a lot of beer.)

We had to run together as a group. And for every potential turn as there was always a right way and wrong way to go, a few faster runners would run ahead and check it out to make sure it was the right way. If it was, they had to yell: BALI BALI! (Fast Fast). If was it was the wrong way, they had to yell ANNEYO!! (No!!) If someone was lost or left behind, they had to yell CHOGI?!? (there?) and the others would yell YOGI! (Here!)

As you can imagine, we garnered some looks as the largest mass of foreigners ever seen together in the history of Gwangju ran across the city shouting random Korean phrases. But the Koreans smiled, laughed, gave a thumbs-up and kids joined us at every pit stop.

We had a wonderful time, and we think our friend Sarah has left more than a few good memories with us. She’s left us a monthly activity.

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