Let’s Move Quad Cities celebrates the spirit and determination Quad City area residents take to promote movement and fitness. We welcome guest blogger, Nathan Tackett (above), former Marine, software engineer, Ironman and avid athlete who helped found the Quad City Hash House Harriers running group in 2010 and then organized the QC’s first charitable, Red Dress Run. This year’s event is scheduled for Feb. 18.
High Fives and Hashing are Why I Move
By Nathan Tackett, 42, Founder, QC Hash Harriers & QC Red Dress Run
My personal journey to fitness began when I decided to drop out of college and join the Marines in 1993. The Marine Corps is exceptionally good at removing the phrase, “I can’t” from a person’s vocabulary. And they made me run. A lot. With the “can’t” barrier gone and workout discipline established, I discovered a love for things that would test the limits of my physical ability. That love has taken me to amazing places and, more importantly, introduced me to many wonderful people who share my belief that limits are meant to be pushed.
Where did your idea to create a “Hash” running group originate?
While stationed in Japan in 1994, my boss said, “You should workout with me on Saturday.” In Marine speak, that roughly translates to “you will be running on Saturday.” When I showed up for the workout, I found a group of oddballs in red headbands standing in a circle, telling jokes and referring to one another by ridiculous names. A couple of the runners went to the center of the circle, drank a can of beer and took off running. After ten minutes, the rest of us took off in pursuit. That was my first hash with the Iwakuni Hash House Harriers, and I was hooked.
Since moving to the Quad Cities in the late 90’s I wanted to start a hash. With a resolution to “stop talking and start doing,” we set the inaugural Quad Cities Hash House Harriers (QCH3) hash for New Year’s Day, 2010. Eight courageous souls attended and it only got better from there. Currently, we have over 180 named members. QCH3 has grown into the most wonderful collection of oddballs of all ages I have ever known.
Tell us about the Red Dress Run.
First of all, the Red Dress Run (RDR) is a hash. A hash works something like this: Two people, called hares, are the only ones who know the route and are the first to leave. The rest of us, called hounds, wait ten minutes then take off to find them. The hounds look for marks that show where we are going. The hares, meanwhile, try to keep us from catching them by leaving false marks and making us stop and perform activities. When we all reach the end, we sing songs and “celebrate” various hash achievements.
The Red Dress Run is a tradition for most hash kennels. According to hash legend, a hasher out on the west coast returned home from a business trip just in time to run a hash. She ran it without changing out of her red dress. The red dress hash became a tradition in that kennel and quickly spread to other hash kennels around the world.
How RDR has grown and changed?
The QCH3 Red Dress Run has changed quite a bit over the years. The first one we held was attended by about 15 people – all who were active hashers. Last year we had over 200 people, including many non-hashers.
The best part of the QCH3 Red Dress Run is that all profits go to charity. Last year we raised over $5000. The money was donated to the Wounded Warrior Project in honor of Flynn Schulz (aka Scatastrophe) – a hasher and veteran who passed away in 2013. This year we will be donating proceeds to Girls on the Run, Quad-Cities.
Do you have to be an expert runner to participate? What do participants need to wear?
No, you do not need to be an expert runner to participate. As long as you can shuffle for a few blocks at a time, you will have a great time. As the name of the event indicates, you should wear a red dress – both men and women. Your dress can be simple or stunning. Obviously, we prefer “stunning.” We’ve had people try to run in heels. I’d recommend you stick with the running shoes.
Why do you enjoy fitness activities in a large group?
I believe that you make your most important gains only after you feel like quitting. A group helps tremendously with this. Sometimes you are a producer of motivation, sometimes a consumer. It is difficult to overstate the power of a high-five when you are struggling. Another benefit is always having someone to push me. When the only voice is the one in my head, it is much easier to “let off the gas” late in a workout. In a group, letting off the gas is responded with a chorus of “you’ve got it.”
Along with Mike Kinney, I own a business called Plan for Adventure. One of our primary goals is to create a supportive and motivating environment for people who want to get in shape. To this end, we hold free, self-paced workouts a couple times a week. We have upwards of one hundred people attended our stair climbs on Sunday mornings. It has a wonderful, supportive vibe. I’m very proud to be a part of it.