The Hash House Harriers is a decentralised organization with each chapter, sometimes called a kennel, individually managed with no uniting organizational hierarchy (although the locations of national and international gatherings are decided by a meeting involving representatives from a number of hashes). A chapter's management is typically known as the MisManagement and consists of individuals with various duties and titles. There are more than 1,700 chapters spanning all seven continents. Most major cities are home to at least one chapter. Chapters typically contain between 20-100 members, usually mixed-sex, with some metropolitan area Hashes drawing more than 1,000 hashers to an event.
Hashing originated in December 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, then in the Federated Malay States (now Malaysia), when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or "Hare and Hounds", to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. The original members included, Albert Stephen (A.S.) Ignatius "G" Gispert, Cecil Lee, Frederick "Horse" Thomson, Ronald "Torch" Bennett and John Woodrow. After meeting for some months, they were informed by the Registrar of Societies that as a "group," they would require a Constitution and an official name. A. S. Gispert suggested the name "Hash House Harriers" after the Selangor Club Annex, where the men were billeted, known as the "Hash House" for its notoriously monotonous food. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and finding the trail, harriers reaching the end of the trail would be rewarded with beer, ginger beer and cigarettes. The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is recorded on a club registration card dated 1950: