Thou­sands at 60th Nos Galan

Sports stars lift an­nual cel­e­bra­tion to new heights:

Cynon Valley - - FRONT PAGE - JES­SICA WALFORD jes­[email protected]­line.co.uk

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.

PIC­TURE: WAYNE HANK­INS

From left: Olympian Dave Bed­ford, for­mer Wales and Li­ons cap­tain Sam War­bur­ton and Par­a­lympian Rhys Jones at the Nos Galan races on Mon­day

PIC­TURES: WAYNE HANK­INS

Nos Galan run 2018

Nos Galan 2018 mys­tery run­ners David Bed­ford, Rhys Jones and Sam War­bur­ton

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