The Nos Galan Road Race is held every year on December 31 in Mountain Ash, in the Cynon Valley of South Wales. This race is held to pay homage to and celebrate the life and achievements of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân. Griffith Morgan, better known as Guto Nyth Brân, was an athlete whose running feats have since become legend. These triumphs were documented by poets and authors like I. D. Hooson, who wrote the ballad ‘Guto Nyth Brân.’ The annual Race is 3.1 miles long and attracts runners from all over Great Britain who show up to have a good time and honor the Welsh runner.
History of The Nos Galan Road Races
The Nos Galan road running event was founded in 1958 by local Mountain Ash resident Bernard Baldwin, a P.E. teacher at Mill Street Secondary school in Pontypridd and a President of the Amateur Athletic Association. The race is run over the 3.1-mile route of Bran’s first competitive race.
The race was halted in 1973 because the Glamorgan Police were concerned about the undue delay in traffic. But Nos Galan returned in 1984 when a reduced number of 14 runners ran a one-mile-long race. The race also broke with tradition when three mystery runners, who represented the present, past, and future of athletics, carried the Nos Galan Torch.
The main race starts with a church service at Llanwynno. After that, a wreath is laid on the grave of Guto Nyth Brân in the church graveyard. After lighting the torch, it is carried to the nearby town of Mountain Ash, where the main event takes place.
The format of the race has changed several times over the years. Currently, the race includes three circuits in the town center, starting at Henry Street and ending at Oxford Street, by the commemorative statue of Guto.
The event begins with an afternoon of street entertainment, and fun run races for children, ending with the church service, elite runners race, and presentations.
Originally, the race was timed to end at midnight, recently, however, it has been rescheduled to finish earlier so that families can enjoy the event. It now concludes at around 21:00.
The Nos Galan Road Races timeline
Griffith Morgan is born in Llwyncelyn, a small village in the Welsh community of Porth.
Brân comes out of retirement for one race but passes away during the celebrations according to stories.
Bernard Baldwin establishes the race.
The race is halted because of concerns by the Glamorgan Police about the undue delay to traffic.
The Nos Galan Road Races FAQs
What does ‘Nos Galan’ mean?
It means “happy new year’s eve” in English. This is the day the race takes place.
Why is Brân considered a legend?
There were several rumors of him catching hares, foxes, and birds. One legend has it that, as his mom turned on the kettle, he ran 6.84 miles from his home to the local town of Pontypridd and back, before the water had boiled. Another tale suggests he could blow out a candle and be in bed before the light faded.
How fast was Brân?
He could reportedly run 50 yards in just four seconds, 10 miles in 45 minutes, and in his last, fateful race, he ran 12 miles in just 53 minutes. It is reputed that during the post-race celebrations, he collapsed and died in his lover’s arms after an over-vigorous congratulatory back-slap.
The Nos Galan Road Races Activities
Visit Wales to see what else the beautiful country has to offer. Take in its rolling hills, atmospheric scenery, and hypnotic coastline.
Enjoy the race
Watch the race live in December this year. Take your friends and family with you to share the fun.
Participate in a race
Take part in a local race or marathon to experience the route for yourself. Not only will you enjoy taking past but you’ll feel reinvigorated when it’s over.
5 Facts About Wales That Will Blow Your Mind
The Welsh like leeks and daffodils
Other than the red dragon, the leek and the daffodil are national symbols of Wales.
It’s great for cycling
Cardiff has more green space per person than any other city in the UK. and is also known as the best city in Britain for cyclists.
The Welsh love rugby
Rugby is the national sport of Wales.
The Welsh are friendly
The Welsh name for Wales is ‘Cymru,’ which translates to “friend.”
Their national animal is a dragon
The Welsh Dragon is the heraldic symbol of Wales which also appears on the country’s flag.
Why We Love The Nos Galan Road Races
It was rescheduled for convenience
The race and its organizers wanted the community to participate in the festivities, so they decided to make the hours in which the event takes place more family-friendly. This has resulted in a favorable regrowth occasion.
It’s a national treasure
At its height, the race was even covered by the B.B.C. nationally as part of its New Year's Eve celebrations. It should be on every Briton’s bucket list.
People are still interested in it
Despite how old the race is, Nos Galan still attracts runners from all over Great Britain. The 2009 race attracted over 800 runners and 10,000 people to Mountain Ash for the associated entertainment.
The Nos Galan Road Races dates