Nos Galan road race

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Guto Nyth Bran statue, Oxford Street, Mountain Ash

Nos Galan (Welsh: Rasys Enwog Nos Galan) is an annual five-kilometre (3.1 mi) road running event, held on New Year's Eve in Mountain Ash, in the Cynon Valley of South Wales.


Nos Galan celebrates the life and achievements of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân. Founded in 1958 by local runner Bernard Baldwin, it is run over the 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) route of Bran's first competitive race.

At its height covered by the BBC nationally as part of its New Year's Eve celebrations,[1] the races were halted in 1973 due to concerns expressed by the Glamorgan Police regarding the undue delay to traffic.[1] Nos Galan 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 Torch.[1]

Nos Galan still attracts runners from all over Great Britain. The 2009 race attracted over 800 runners, and 10,000 people into Mountain Ash for the associated entertainment.[2]

Route and traditions[edit]

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 and ending in Oxford Street, by the commemorative statue of Guto.

Traditionally, the race was timed to end at midnight.[1] But in recent times it was rescheduled for the convenience of family entertainment, now concluding at around 21:00.

Rescheduling has resulted in a regrowth in size and scale, and now starts with an afternoon of street entertainment, and fun run races for children, concluding with the church service, elite runners race and presentations.[3]

Mystery runner[edit]

The race is started and run by a mystery runner, normally a running or local sporting celebrity. The mystery runner lays the wreath:[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mountain Ash". Rhondda Cynon Taff. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ "Wales stars help warm up Nos Galan runners". South Wales Echo. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Nos Galan". Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Roberts and Hook are Nos Galan mystery runners". BBC Wales. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  5. ^ "John Hartson and Mark Taylor are Nos Galan runners". BBC Wales. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Rugby legend Shane Williams joins Nos Galan races new year celebrations". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Dai Greene helps start Nos Galan run in Mountain Ash". BBC News. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Nos Galan: Record turnout with Alun Wyn Jones 'mystery' runner". BBC News. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014.