Thousands at 60th Nos Galan
Sports stars lift annual celebration to new heights:
HUNDREDS of runners took to the streets of Mountain Ash for the 60th anniversary Nos Galan road races on New Year’s Eve.
More than 1,700 racers took part in the 5km race held each year at the end of December to remember legendary local runner Guto Nyth Bran.
The event, which was started by schoolteacher Bernard Baldwin in 1958, attracted around 10,000 spectators who flooded the streets of Mountain Ash to enjoy the races and fireworks display afterwards.
This year, competitors were joined by former rugby international Sam Warburton, athletics legend David Bedford and Paralympics star Rhys Jones.
It was the first time in more than 30 years that three mystery runners represented the Nos Galan past, present and future.
Chief Constable of South Wales Police Matt Jukes also took part in the fun-run in full uniform, carrying a full shield to raise awareness of the wellbeing of police officers and staff.
He said: “The wellbeing of emergency service workers has come to widespread attention through recent media coverage, as well as tragic events in the force itself.
“This is an issue which has always been hugely important to me and the police service as a whole, and I am also keen to raise awareness of two really important initiatives – Oscar Kilo and the Mind Blue Light Programme.
“Policing places a huge burden on its people, and we must never lose sight of that. As leaders, we must and will continue to say that ‘It’s OK not to be OK’, and to emphasise that support is available.”
It was the turn of Kristian Jones and Jenny Nesbitt who claimed victory in the 60th anniversary race. Kristian, a sports biomechanics PhD student and runner at Swansea Harriers, won the mens race in a time of 14.19.
Jenny, who competed in the Commonwealth Games for Wales and is a runner at Club Worcester AC, took victory in the women’s race with a time of 16.31.
Councillor Ann Crimmings, cabinet member for environment, lesiure and heritage services, said: “We were delighted to welcome these three sporting greats to the town of Mountain Ash on New Year’s Eve as we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Nos Galan Road Races.
“For this special anniversary we had three mystery runners from different sporting backgrounds and this just emphasises the popularity and appeal of the Nos Galan Road Races.
“The event itself has a proud tradition of attracting athletes from a number of disciplines, so the fact that we had this theme reflected in our mystery runners is a special touch.
“The Nos Galan Road Races are the biggest New Year’s Eve street party in Rhondda Cynon Taff – there is nothing else like it and to have David, Sam and Rhys with us on this special night was a fitting way to mark this special anniversary that I am sure will go down in history and will be remembered by many for a very long time to come.”
The growing popularity of the event which was founded in 1958, has let to increased security and police presence, as well as concrete barriers at the races this year.
From left: Olympian Dave Bedford, former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton and Paralympian Rhys Jones at the Nos Galan races on Monday
Nos Galan run 2018
Nos Galan 2018 mystery runners David Bedford, Rhys Jones and Sam Warburton