Once the biggest steel producer in China, when west Beijing’s Shougang works relocated to the coast of Hebei during the first decade of this century, the question most people asked was; “Why the hell did China build such a gigantic steel plant in a city in the first place?”

Nobody should have heavily polluting steelmaking in their back yard. In drought-stricken Beijing, the plant was sucking up enough water to supply the daily needs of four million people. Vast quantities of coal and iron ore, which steelmaking consumes, are best transported by ocean going vessels, not on railway wagons clogging up the tracks of a fast growing capital city.

According to those who were there, Shougang’s origins lay in comments made by Mao Zedong during the first Workers’ Day parade held in Beijing after the CPC took over in 1949. Looking down at the marching participants from Tian’anmen, Mao could see delegations of chefs, masseurs and artisans, like carpenters and potters, but nary a factory worker. That was because China didn’t have a lot of modern manufacturing to speak of in those days. Dismayed by the sight, the Great Helmsman shouted out; “Beijing must have heavy industry!”

Soon after, Soviet engineers arrived to build the Shougang plant, which grew to employ a workforce of over 100,000. And from then on, a delegation of workers from Shougang was at the very front of every Beijing May Day parade.

That’s the story, anyway. As hashers we know a far more plausible explanation was that the CPC Chairman and his comrades were prescient enough to anticipate the coming of a friendly running club to Beijing. So they set up the vast Shougang steelworks to give BH3 a really cool trail.

And cool it certainly is. In addition to running amid four behemoth blast furnaces, we will pass soaring smokestacks, colossal cooling towers and a variety of other lovingly preserved, hulking steampunk-type industrial structures.  There are two lakes, a railway and, of course, beer.

As a bonus, the Shougang Industrial Park, as the site has been renamed, is also the location of Big Air Shougang, the venue for ski jumping events at this year’s Winter Olympics. Eileen Gu won one of her golds for China here when she landed a double cork 1620 after drinking a crate of Yanjing. (The bit about Yanjing is actually a lie.)

BTW, the difference between 798 and Shougang is that while 798 was built by East Germans, Shougang was built by the Soviets. Also: 798 was light and medium industry, while Shougang was definitely of the heavy type.

Hares: John the Baptist, Pickle Boy, Little Red Shittinghood

Type: A to A, with bag drop at the restaurant. This run should be dog-friendly because we are not entering any public parks.

When: Saturday, September 10th, 2022. Meet at 2:30pm, run/walk starts at 3:00pm

Hashcash: 30 rmb for run and circle only, 105 rmb for run, circle and dinner afterwards

Where: Shuxiang Restaurant, 蜀湘特色小馆 Block 4, Shougang 6th Dormitory, Shijingshan石景山区首钢留宿舍4号楼底商

D’erections: Jin’anqiao subway station, Exit C, 金安桥地铁站C出口, last stop on the west end of Line 6. From Exit C, cross over Fushi Road 阜石路 and walk north up Jinding West Street 金顶西街. The restaurant is 70m on the right.

We will drop a pin in hash chat groups on the morning of the run.

As usual, this is an adult activity in which we behave like children so expect to see nonsense, licentiousness, a modest level of drunkenness and considerable rude behaviour going on. And partial nudity. Don’t be offended; it’s jocular, we’re always like that and if you’re here you’re doing it too. For all of those reasons this isn’t a kid-friendly activity so – unless you’re table 1 – best stay home. More regular members of society are of course very welcome and can of course take part, but be polite, be tolerant, don’t be purposefully rude and remember that if you’re running there’s no winner. Oh, and you’ll need to bring a green jiankangbao with a sufficiently-recent hesuan or we’ll be all huffy. And a mask. On on!