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Nos Galan 2009

Saturday 26 December 2009

The legend of Guto Nyth Bran will be commemorated once again on New Years Eve when the streets of Mountain Ash will host the annual Nos Galan races. It is not too late to enter; but you have to do so on line. The 2008 race (the 50th) was a special occasion for a Cardiff AAC family.

Third in the 10/11 age category in 2008 was Cardiff member Ciaran Lewis, pictured below on the right receiving his award. 50 years earlier, Ciaran's grandfather Peter Burnell, a Cardiff stalwart, ran in the first ever Nos Galan midnight race. And, to keep up the family's athletic credentials, Ciaran's aunt Ceri was a very good athlete and his mother, Kay Chapman, is now doing great work as one of the club's important team managers.

Can anyone beat that?






Last year's elite races were won by Cardiff athletes Jorge Thomas and Leah Dixon, to continue a long tradition of successful Cardiff runners in these races.

The truth about the legend of Guto Nyth Bran is lost in the mists of time but the story is that he was an amazing runner. Born in 1700, over 300 years ago, on a farm near Mountain Ash it was said he could run the seven miles to Pontypridd and back before the kettle boiled (no electricity in those days) and could catch a bird in flight. He came to a sad end, however, when, aged 37 and after easily winning a 12 mile race from Newport to Bedwas, the celebratory slaps on the back proved too much and he died of a heart attack in the arms of his sweetheart.

Guto is buried in the graveyard of Llanwynno Church near Mountain Ash and, every year, a mystery runner carries a torch from his grave to Mountain Ash to mark the start of the races.

Last year's mystery runner was former Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie. Who will it be this year?

The Nos Galan races were established by local school teacher and leading athletics official Bernard Baldwin and are a lot of fun, apart from the "serious" racing.

Timetable of events:

4.30pm-8.30pm    Street Entertainment
5pm                        Fire Act
5.15pm                  8-9 year olds fun run
5.30pm                 10-11 year olds fun run
5.45pm                 12-13 year olds fun run
6pm                       15-15 year olds fun run
6.15pm                  Childrens Presentations
6.30pm                  Mystery runner lights beacon
6.45pm                  Firework display 
7pm                       Start of Elite Race
7.30pm                 Start of Adult Race
8pm-8.15pm         Presentation of prizes