The Lady in Red: Donna Rhinehart and the Red Dress Run
Donna Rhinehart, endearingly known to “hashers” as “The Lady in Red,” is famous for being the inspiration for the Red Dress Run. Hashers are people who belong to a social running club that has organized chapters throughout the world.
In 1987, Donna Rhinehart was invited to a hash in Long Beach California. She didn’t know much about the club, so she arrived wearing a red dress and high heels. One of the members, finding her attire inappropriate, suggested that she “wait in the truck” until her friend was finished. Ms. Rhinehart responded by participating in the event, red dress and all, and this action led to the establishment of the Red Dress Run.
Early Life of Donna Rhinehart
Donna Rhinehart was born on April 19, 1956. She gained her spirit of helping others through the examples set by her own parents. During World War II, her father served as a paratrooper, and he won a house on the French Riviera in a poker game. When he went to visit the house, he met a homeless family and gave them the house. Rhinehart grew up with examples such as this all around her, and she certainly continued the family tradition.
Before gaining fame as the inspiration for the Red Dress Run, she was a model and worked in the recording industry. At 15 years old, she noticed that the number of volunteers for the Salvation Army was shrinking, and in spite of this being a position reserved for men, she pushed her way in and became a volunteer. Donna Rhinehart was known for her determination to make things happen and help others from early on in her life.
Donna Rhinehart was a mother to three children, and she raised them by example, as her own parents had raised her. When her son was in Boy Scouts, she joined as a Boy Scout leader. She had no trouble insisting that her daughter could be a Boy Scout as well.
The Arts were very important to Donna Rhinehart, and she worked tirelessly to implement an Art Appreciation Program in her children’s school. When she was moved by the significance of the film, Schindler’s List, she and her son worked together to convince Steven Spielberg to personally show the film at her son’s school.
Donna Rhinehart is probably most well known for inadvertently founding the Red Dress Run, an event that continues today. At the first Red Dress Run in 1988, she spoke to the club members, and it was her idea that all future Red Dress Runs be used by the Hash Clubs to raise money for local charities. Her confidence and determination to live by her values and help other people is unparalleled, and she is legendary for her efforts to leave the world a better place.
History of Hash Clubs
The Hash House Harriers, also known as H3, started in 1938 in Malaysia when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates met to go for a run by way of the British game, “Hare and Hounds.” The idea caught on, and soon chapters arose all over the world. The original hash clubs died out during World War II, but the group was reorganized and chartered in 1950. The objectives of the club were to promote physical fitness, eliminate weekend hangovers, become thirsty and quench thirst with good beer, and persuade older members to believe that they weren’t so old.
A second chapter was formed in 1962 in Singapore, and the club began to spread throughout the far East, Europe, and North America. The club experienced significant expansion in the 1970s. Today, there are over 2000 chapters all over the world, including two in Antarctica.
What Do Hash Clubs Do?
Hash clubs can meet monthly or weekly. During a Hash, two club members are the “Hares,” and the rest of the group are the “Hounds.” The Hares begin the hash by laying a trail with sawdust, chalk, or other clues that the Hounds must follow. There are stopping points along the way to have a beer, and the group follows the clues with members traveling at varying paces until the end. Most hashers say that the socializing is equally as important as the running.
Many chapters also hold special events. These events may recognize the anniversary of the club’s charter, milestones for the club or they may be themed. One special event is the Red Dress Run, which is the most well-known event. The Red Dress Run occurs annually in many chapters all over the world, and it has become somewhat iconic.
The Inaugural Red Dress Run
In 1988, the San Diego Hash Club decided to hold the first Red Dress Run. As this event was inspired by the red dress worn by Donna Rhinehart the previous year, they sent her a plane ticket and invited her to come. Hundreds of members wore red dresses, and Rhinehart spoke at the event. She urged the Hashers to use this special event to raise money for local charities. It didn’t take long for the Red Dress Run to spread across the United States and as far away as Beijing and Tokyo.
Editions of the Red Dress Run
Since the advent of the Red Dress Run, several variations have arisen throughout the world. These hashes take different forms, including:
- Bike Hashes
- River Hashes
- Snorkel Hashes
- Family Hashes
- Pick-up Hashes
- Disaster Hashes
Although there are many variations of hashing, the general idea is almost always true to the original game of Hares and Hounds. The Hares still mark the trail with chalk, sawdust, paper, or colored flour, and the Hounds must follow the trail to the endpoint. The events can take place anywhere, and hashers may need to navigate streams or climb fences to find the Hare.
The Hare may leave false trails with special marks, and this allows those lagging behind to catch up as the leaders locate the correct trail. Those who are behind also have the opportunity to catch up at “beer checks,” where hashers gather to refuel with snacks, water, and beer.
” A drinking club with a running problem “
Location of the Red Dress Run
Although one of the best known Red Dress Runs is held in New Orleans every year, events are held in numerous locations throughout the world. Hashing is very popular in college towns throughout the United States.
Charities and the Red Dress Run
At the first Red Dress Run, Donna Rhinehart challenged the Hash Club to use this event as an opportunity to raise money for local charities, and this tradition continues today. Since the first event in 1988, the Red Dress Run has raised over two million dollars for over 200 local charities.
Clothing at the Red Dress Run
The primary style at the Red Dress Run is the red dress. It can take many different forms, from wild and zany to traditional and conservative. Men and women show their favorite red dress style at this event, including athletic red dresses, red sequins, red tutus with a red knit top, and even red lingerie to match. Choosing what to wear for the Red Dress Run is one of the most exciting parts for many participants. Anything goes, as long as it’s a red dress.
This tradition has spread across the world during the years and has become a major event that has raised millions of dollars for local charities in many cities, including New Orleans among others. In its 10-year history, the Red Dress Run in New Orleans alone has raised about $2 million for charities in the area. such as Bridge House/Grace House, Hospice Foundation of the South, and UNITY of Greater New Orleans.
When is the Run in 2020?
For updates, check here
What does it Raise Money for?
Well, as mentioned before, it has raised around $2 million for charities in the Area of New Orleans, this charities include the following:
Not too bad, right? Events like contribute to a better world.
And finally, some Red Old times song: Chris de Burg, the lady in red.
My own way of giving thanks to Donna Rhinehart.
Which outfit are you gonna choose for the Next Red Dress Run?