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History of Nos Galan

 

Nos Galan Road Races celebrates the life and achievements of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân. Founded in 1958 by local runner Bernard Baldwin, it is run over the 5km around Mountain Ash Town Centre.

At its height covered by the BBC nationally as part of its New Year's Eve celebrations, the races were halted in 1973 due to concerns expressed by the Glamorgan Police regarding the undue delay to traffic. Nos Galan Road Races was resurrected in 1984, when a reduced field of 14 runners ran a 1 mile (1.6 km) race. The race also broke with tradition, with three mystery runners, representing the present, past and future of athletics, carried the Nos Galan Road Races Torch.

Nos Galan Road Races still attracts runners from all over Great Britain. The 2017 race attracted over 1,700 runners, and 10,000 spectators.

The main race starts with a church service at Llanwynno, and then a wreath is laid on the grave of Guto Nyth Brân in Llanwynno graveyard. After lighting a torch, it is carried to the nearby town of Mountain Ash, where the main race takes place. The format of the race has changed several times over its history. The current race consists of three circuits of the town centre, starting in Henry Street Relief Road and ending in Oxford Street, by the commemorative statue of Guto.

Traditionally, the race was timed to end at midnight. But in recent times it was rescheduled for the convenience of family entertainment, now concluding at around 21:30.

Rescheduling has resulted in a regrowth in size and scale, and now starts with children’s races for children aged 8 and over, elite runners race, the main adult Fun Run and presentations.