The Manual Of Haring
When taking the responsibility of being a hare (and a responsibility it is many people depend on you for a good day out), you should recce (i.e., check out or scout) your proposed trail at least once or twice before laying it. One of these times should be about the time of day on which your actual run will take place to avoid unpleasant surprises on the day (e.g. trial-bike races, hunting parties, etc.).
Scouting a Trail
An ideal trail keeps everyone together for most of the run and has the whole pack at the beer within 15 minutes of one another, with the slowest runners returning not much longer than 70 to 80 minutes from the starting time.
Setting the trail.
Try not to be predictable.
If every check has the true trail going left then after a bit even the dumbest hound will figure it out and stop checking right or straight on. So even if the trail is basically a clockwise loop plan the checks and back checks in such a way thatthe true trail goes a different way each time.
Blobbing the flour
The blobs of flour shouldn't be more than 25 meters apart. This must be adhered to as closely as possible in order that the hounds can be certain that they have run out of trail. It is quite legitimate to make a sudden left or right turn from the trail without indicating such. The hounds should realize that they have overrun the trail if the last mark was more than 25 m back. A Checkback (circle with an X in the middle) means that the real trail has deviated from the trail within the previous 10 m., or after the number of dots indicated on the check back ( e.g. O 25).
When its raining think about where you blob flour and chalkmark so that the marks don't get washed away. Its OK to always put chalk arrows on the sides of walls but be consistent, don't put a couple of arrows on walls and the rest not. Also if the run was planned for dry weather consider shortening it because it always takes longer in the rain.
Laying trail at night on streets is very simple as long as you remember to primarily put marks in street light. If you set the run at 5pm (when its light) look up at the lamp posts to discover whicj bits will be illuminated. Note that oloured chalk is not usually visible at night.
Make it shorter for the BRBs (Back Running Bastards) at the back.
Think about tempting false trails, back checks and circle jerks which add extra for the first few but allow everyone else to cut corners. There is nothing that cheers up the back of the pack more than to have the FRBs run past them regularly.
Variety is the spice of life.
Each trail should normally include a little of everything - a little shiggy, open country, a little bush, maybe a stream and level paths. It could also include a hill, but not every hill within a five km. radius... One good hill is quite sufficient. Any fool can knacker the hounds, taking them over every hill in sight. It takes good recceing to include one good hill only. We are not a mountaineering club any more than we are a serious running club.
Main roads should be avoided whenever possible. In particular, never place a check on or close to a road to avoid having the pack milling around in the traffic and people not being able to hear others call above the traffic noise.
Checks should be tricky
A good check will allow the back (or at least the middle) of the pack to catch up the FRBs. This means you should set checks in places where there are lots of places to look. Also a few false trails (the longer the better) are good, especially if they are set so as to be seen before the true trail.
If the terrain doesn't allow for many checks and/or check backs, another way to keep the pack together is by including a Halt (marked "H") somewhere along the trail. Runners are not supposed to leave this mark before everyone else has arrived. Alternatively, if there are quite a few runners and you expect some of them to stray or dawdle excessively, you can add a number to the Halt, indicating how many runners have to be there before the pack can continue. Yet another "trick" is to add a "booby check", a double checkpoint where only Harriettes are allowed to look for the trail.
The last check on the run should again be a particularly good one. It should bring the pack together again for a flat or downhill run in, over a distance of at least 800 meters, giving everyone a chance to stretch their legs.
You should, on this last sector of the run, indicate "On On Beer", which means that the hounds are now free to make their way over whichever route they feel is quickest to the beer. For the benefit of those not familiar with the area you must continue to mark the trail to the beer.
Special note about private property ... and the shooting season
If you can honestly claim that you have run past NO "Private Propery" signs where you could see them its much better (its OK to go past them on the way out.. "Oh was this private I'm soooo soorrrryyy!!!!".) Remember that you as the hare are a single, silent person and will probably not be noticed by the rentacops or owners but the pack will be blowing whistles and shouting and there will be lots of them so the chances are that the back of the pack will be unpopular. You might aslo like to note the the official hunting season in Spain runs from October thorugh to April. Do not assume that all hunters are professionals and therefore know what they are doing. If in doubt, make a lot of noise and wear bright clothing so they know you are about (on public land obviously). You might scare off their prey but frankly ... who gives a damn. Make a noise ... and save a rabbit. You might even save your own life
Responsibilities of the Hares
After the run, the hares are responsible for checking that all hounds have returned. If any are missing within a reasonable time after the end of the run, they must organize search parties. It is advisable to co-ordinate this properly with the help of cell-phones, previous agreements to return to base after a certain time whatever and using cars not loaded to the hilt with passengers.
To minimize the chances of people getting lost it is recommended to do some "sweeping": following the pack along the trail or being present at certain tricky check points where people trailing behind can either be told which way to go or have this direction indicated on the check point with a freshly laid arrow.
The hares are also responsible for the choice of restaurant, for passing the directions to the car-park (preferably two weeks in advance) to the appropriate hasher co-ordinating the run communications, explaining some of the basic rules to newcomers before the run and for marking the car park.
All this may sound terribly complicated and off-putting, but in practice you will hardly have to refer back to this paper, as most of it is plain common sense. Just think that setting a run is quite a different experience from running and can be very rewarding in other ways. So, get off your butt and submit your name to the Hairline co-ordinator.
Other points to note when setting the trail
You must start marking the correct trail no more than 100 m. from your check. If you are laying a false trail, this can be marked less than 100 m. from the check to lead the front runners astray and achieve the objective of the check: bringing the pack together. The real trail cannot start of a false trail, but it can start in any direction from the checkpoint.
Keeping the Pack together.
Remember that your checks are designed to hold the pack until everyone is together before starting off on the next leg. In order to achieve this you can lay several trails from each checkpoint, using the regular trail marks. At the end of each false trail place three dots of flour together across the direction of the false trail. A false trail should be roughly 200 to 250 meters long - but actually can be as long as you want depending on your level od masachistic tendancies. A good long run might have five or six checks.
The start and direction of the trail should be clearly marked and uncomplicated for at least the first km or so and somewhere about now you might consider your fist check. This check should be a good one, designed to hold the pack for as long as possible so that latecomers can catch up.
At the check, inscribe a large circle with a dot in the center, using flour.
There is no such thing as a too clearly marked trail.
It is not amusing to be continually wondering whether, as a hound, you are on trail. If you as the hare only lays the trail well when you are trying to screw the pack up then, at some point, the hounds will work it out and short-cut round your clever detour. On the other hand there are sometimes places where you might well want the pack to go off trail or mill around in confusion. In that case hide the marks behind things rather than not put any down.
Choosing a car park
Normally, the run should start from a location suitable for many purposes: parking the car, having sufficient space for a circle, having a reasonably attractive area for a picnic in summer, etc. Whenever possible, avoid car-parks where the cars cannot be watched properly, where the drays have to schlep the coolers up hills for several clicks or where young children and picnickers have to mill around the hard shoulder of a motorw.
Find a good spot for an optional beer-check.
Espcially important under the hot Spanish summer skies, a beer check is a great idea for a re-group so if you have one put it about 2/3rds of the way. If you have more than one spread them out. Good places for beer checks have scenery (mobile or stationary) that hashers can leer at, sorry admire.
A trail should be about a minimum of 7 km to a maximum of 12 km, depending on the terrain covered. As a rough guide, if it takes two hours to walk the final trail, then it should take the average "hound" an hour to run it. But don't forget ..... where you can only walk, for example going up a hill, a hound can't run either.
A good trail will have variety.
That means it should have some bits where you have to crawl, walk, clamber, wade etc. but it will also have parts where you can just run without worrying where you put your foot next. Hills are good in moderation, so are rivers and railways but too much is as bad as none.
Credits to Just In, the City of London HHH and Toulouse HHH and Tight Fit for piecing it all together.