Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013, 6:40 pm

Hash House Harriers bringing a 'buzz' to running

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By Todd Welvaert,

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Photo: Todd Welvaert
Nathan Tackett, 39, East Moline, finishes a pint, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, while talking about the Quad City Hash House Harriers, a group of "drinkers with a running problem" and their upcoming Red Dress Run, Saturday Feb. 23.
It seems odd, talking about running while drinking beer, but no more so when the Marine starts covering the ups and downs of running while wearing a red dress.

It's pretty common for Nathan Tackett, founder of the Quad City Hash House Harriers, or QCH3, a collection of folks who describe themselves as a "drinking group with a running problem" which partners with the American Heart Association to put on the annual Red Dress Run, this year on Feb. 23.

"It's all about having a good time and doing something for the community,"the 39-year-old software engineer said.

Mr. Tackett started the QCH3 with a group of like-minded friends in 2009. He was introduced to hashes while still in the Marines inIwakuni, Japan.

"My staff NCO came up to me and said we were running on Saturday morning, that's never a good thing," he recalled. "When I showed up, there were a group of guys drinking beer and refusing to stretch and singing these horrible offensive songs. We set off chasing another group of people who were leaving beer bottles for us here and there to district us and throw us off the trail. When it was all over, there was this huge throne of beer cases and a fire and we gathered around a bon fire and sang more horrible offensive songs, and told tales about the chase and were punished, by drinking more beer, for the rules, some were imaginary, we broke on the run. I was hooked on the spot. That's all it took. It seems to attract people in the military, the drinking and the running."

Hash house groups have a rich history, one Mr. Tackett loves to share.Hashing was started in 1937 by a British expat living in Malaysia, and is based on an old English game called Hares and Hounds. The group called the place they ate the "hash house." These runs were started to "promote physical fitness,get rid of hangover, inspirea good thirst and to satisfy it in beer and persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel."

The practice spread worldwide through soldiers in World War II.There currently are about 2,000 active chapters (or kennels) worldwide, including about 400 in the U.S.

Mr. Tackett said he's actually not much of a runner, and only grudgingly took to it because of the Marines.

"They made me run, but what I found out that I was pretty good at is persistence, sticking with something, that it was a skill." he said. "Chipping away at something and not quitting. I tell my son 'Tackett's never quit,' and you have to be careful with what you tell your kids because they expect you to live up to it."

Which became evident when Mr. Tackett undertook a 100-mile race in South Dakota recently. He told his son if you finish in less than 24 hours you get a belt buckle.

"That was it, he was determined I was going to finish in under 24 hours." Mr. Tackett said. "I tried to explain that just finishing a race like this is a pretty big deal, and that finishing in under 24 hours was going to be really hard. He didn't buy any of it."

Mr. Tackett did finishin just less than 24 hours. When his son, Noah, woke up, his first question was if he finished in time.

Mr. Tackett is also a part of "Team Not Forgotten'' with Mike Kinney and Flynn Schulz, who are doing ultra-marathons and endurance races as a way to raise funds for local veterans and veteran causes.

But the QCH3 group continues to be a point of "strange, unexpected pride," for Mr. Tackett. Aside from the fundraising and the fellowship, it's brought running to people who might not have found it otherwise.

"We have all kinds of different fitness levels," Mr. Tackett said. "From athletes who are crazy fit to people who just shuffle along. The runs are rarely over four miles, I keep it that way on purpose. We've got one guy we call him Hugene Simmons, because he's a huge, huge man, and he has a long, long tongue. When he runs the ground shakes, but when he started he didn't run and my wife just told me he recently ran the whole route with us. Bringing good runners together with neophytes, whatever you might call our program, creating this weird thing that's making people into runners or just people who want to be out there doing something, that's been a good outcome."

The 3rd annual Quad City Red Dress Run will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at theThe Daiquiri Factory,1809 2nd Ave, Rock Island. To register or for more information, go to

For more information on the Quad City Hash House Harriers, go to