Good idea, but bad timing

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2002

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A quirky running club that uses pink flour to help guide its joggers has run into a sign of the times.

Anxious calls to police were made last Monday when residents discovered the flour at locations across the city and feared it might be anthrax.

''It was an error in judgment,'' said Jerry Agin, 60, an official with the Hash House Harriers running club. He called police and quickly explained.

The Harriers began its noncompetitive social runs in 1938. Over decades, the club has developed a worldwide underground following.

A leader, known as a hare, gets a head-start and marks a course which other runners, known as hounds, follow. The course is marked with checkpoints and false-trails to create general confusion. On New Year's Day, a mall in Fayetteville, N.C., was evacuated for two hours when another Harriers running club marked its trail with flour.

''I guess we're just going to have to stay away from flour for a while -- at least in the urban settings,'' Agin said.

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