This COVID-19 action plan was prepared in September 2020 during the Rule of 6 and was used in December but is on hold during the January 2021 lockdown until new government regulations come into effect.
HASH HOUSE HARRIERS – HASHING
COVID-19 action plan
THE SPORT DESCRIPTION
The Hash House Harriers (HHH or H3) is an international group of non-competitive running social clubs. An event organized by a club is known as a Hash or Run. There are many clubs in the UK but there is not a National Governing Body so this action plan has been developed by the Salisbury based Haunch of Venison Hash House Harriers (HOVH3) for their own circumstances.
The HOVH3 Hash has been in existence for nearly 40 years and has conducted almost 2000 Runs so is very experienced. It also maintains a record of all Hashers contact details and Runs they undertake.
Hashing is an outdoor recreational sport with similarities to rambling and orienteering. It’s a team activity involving a small group of runners and another of walkers who set off to find a pre-marked trail that uses public footpaths and open access areas. A different trail is marked each week and the pre-marking avoids the use of a map. So Hashers have to follow the trail but the trail-layer (known as the Hare) accompanies the Hash to ensure it does not go off course. The trail is marked with the aim of keeping those in a group in loose contact with each other as they seek it out.
Pre COVID-19 HOVH3 group numbers were generally less than 15 runners and 15 walkers following two separate trails. HOVH3 Hashing is operating under current laws, outdoors in groups of 6 or less maintaining social distancing of at least 2 metres.
AIM OF THIS ACTION PLAN
The aim is for the HOVH3 to return to Hashes of 30 or less but in groups of more than 6 by following The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Guidance “Return to recreational team sport framework” Updated 18 September 2020. This is straightforward to achieve with a few adjustments to current operating procedures.
COVID-19 risk assessment
Company name: Haunch of Venison Hash House Harriers
Assessment carried out by: Ian Campbell and Charlotte Thornton
Date assessment was carried out: 10th October 2020
• Transmission of the virus during Hashing could happen if 2 metres social distancing was not maintained or by personal contact. The risk of this occurring is higher before and after the run than on the trail. Hashing does not involve equipment but gates on footpaths require opening. Injuries on the run are rare but assistance would break social distancing.
• The risk to individuals on the Hash is the same as the population at large. Government guidelines to vulnerable groups should be followed.
• Transmission of the virus outdoors is low so provided guidelines are followed it is very unlikely that hashers could be exposed.
• Drink bottles and personal clothing must not be shared.
Individual hashers should carry gloves and a facemask for use if attending to an injured hasher or if required in unforeseen circumstances.
Hashers will maintain 2 metre spacing in a circle during the pre-run briefing, where attendees will be recorded and requirements will be restated, and post run debrief, for monitoring of future runs.
Trails for runs should be planned in accordance with the HOVH3 “Guidance for Hares”.
This plan follows all of the paragraphs in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
Guidance “Return to recreational team sport framework”, Updated 1 October 2020
Test and trace
The HOVH3 Hash does not use indoor facilities or a clubhouse. Records are already kept of Hashers’ contact details and of those attending each run.
Pre-attendance official symptom check
All hashers must undergo a self-assessment for any COVID-19 symptoms. No-one should leave home to participate in sport if they, or someone they live with, have symptoms of COVID -19 currently recognised as any of the following:
A high temperature
A new, continuous cough
A loss of, or change to, their sense of smell or taste
Should an individual have demonstrated any such symptoms, they must follow NHS and PHE guidance on self-isolation
There is little increased risk associated with taking part in Hashing, based on the assessment undertaken by HOVH3 in the absence of a governing body. Hashers will be strongly advised to comply with public health restrictions and avoid high risk behaviour outside the sports setting to reduce the risk to their fellow participants when they do attend.
Travel to Hash runs
Hashers will be encouraged to follow best practice for travel, including minimising use of public transport and limiting car sharing, including walking or cycling where they can. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle.
Arrival at venues
HOVH3 will strictly limit the time spent congregating at a venue before activity begins by keeping meet-up times close to Run times. Hashers arrive already changed or change from their cars. Social interaction before and after the Hash run will be limited and only be in separate and distinct groups of up to 6 except for the briefing and debrief in a socially distanced circle.
Key principles – during activity
Social distancing on the Hash run
Hashers will adhere to social distancing throughout the run, which is already normal practice. The Hare, who is effectively the official, only stays in loose contact with the Hashers and there is no need for face-to-face confrontation.
Social distancing during breaks and post-run
All Hashers must remain socially distanced during breaks in the run, such as at gates and stiles on paths.
Water bottles or other refreshment containers should in no circumstances be shared. Hashers are advised to bring their own, in a labelled or highly distinguishable container.
Use of equipment
The Hash does not involve the use of equipment. The Hare marks a trail using bio-degradable material that is neither shared nor collected following a run.
Hashers take their kit home to wash it themselves, as normal. There is no need to share kit.
The Hash is not a ball game.
Hash officials, medics and coaches
The HOVH3 Hash is briefed at the start of the run by one or two Hares who can maintain social distancing. Injuries during the run are rare but the Hare should carry a face mask, gloves and hand sanitiser in case of need during the run.
Adherence to measures
Hashers are required to follow this Action Plan and will be reminded at the briefing before each run. Compliance will also be required with other COVID-19 rules that may be in force at the time.
Calling on the run to help Hashers to follow the trail is not required to be face-to-face and will be done at the social distance or more, as is normally the case.
Injuries during a run should still be treated as participant wellbeing is of utmost importance. The best way for fellow Hashers to protect themselves and others is through rigorous cleaning, personal hygiene and regular hand hygiene. Hares will carry face coverings, gloves and sanitiser in case “first responder” treatment is required on the run.
The HOVH3 Hash has qualified First Aiders who can deal with any injury at the end of the run. If there has been contact with an injured participant, a Hasher should clean their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser at the earliest opportunity. They should also avoid touching their mouth, eyes and nose.
Any Hasher helping another with injury should keep a record of each participant they have come into contact with, for test and trace purposes.
The Hash is not a spectator sport. The HOVH3 Runs take place in the evening and in the dark during the winter. Occasionally other members of the public are encountered on the footpaths but engagement times are brief without the need for conversation, which if required must be conducted at the social distance.
Key principles – facility usage
The Hash run does not use third-party owned or managed facilities.
Movement on site
Starting venues for runs use existing parking arrangements in publicly accessible places where social distancing can be maintained.
Venues will implement traffic flow systems where possible and appropriate.
The Hash is one small entity, including its own official Hare and with no spectators so only social distancing separation is required at the start and finish of the run.
Venues will ensure that all accessible provision within the site and the facility are available.
Changing rooms and showers
The Hash venues are outdoors without changing rooms. Hashers should, as normal, arrive changed or change by their car.
If required, nearby public toilets may be used by individuals with associated steps taken for queuing and hand washing.
Participants will be encouraged to refrain from spitting or rinsing out their mouths on the trail.
Clubhouses and hospitality
The HOVH3 Hash does not have a clubhouse and during COVID-19 restrictions there will be no organised Hash Socials following a run. Individual Hashers may use hospitality facilities in line with government guidance on hospitality settings. Groups from the Hash using hospitality facilities must be restricted to 6 person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance.