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Nos Galan Races

The start of the Nos Galan Races, new year's eve

There are lots of fun runs taking place in winter, including the Nos Galan Races, which was voted the Best Fun Run at the 2014 Running Awards. The races commemorate the Welsh runner Guto Nyth Bran.

The 5 km race is held every new year’s eve in Mountain Ash, in the Cynon Valley, South Wales. The races follow a 5km route around the town.

Man speaking into microphoneEach year a Mystery Runner - a sports personality whose identity is kept secret until the night - lays a wreath on Guto’s grave then runs to Mountain Ash. Previous mystery runners include international rugby players Adam Jones and Alun Wyn Jones, cyclist Nicole Cooke and Olympian Dai Greene, Paralympian Samantha Bowen and former Olympic, Commonwealth and World athlete Colin Jackson CBE and Wales football manager Chris Coleman.

Guto Nyth Bran

There are many legends about Guto Nyth Bran. He is said to know how he could catch a bird in flight and that he once ran seven miles (to Pontypridd, South Wales and back) before the kettle boiled.

When he was 37, a challenge came from the ‘Prince’ of Bedwas to run the 12 miles from Newport in Monmouthshire to Bedwas Church, Caerphilly. Guto won the race, but the celebratory ‘slaps’ on the back proved too much for him and he died in the arms of his sweetheart, Sian o’r Siop.

His body was taken to its final resting-place in the graveyard of Llanwynno Church, near Mountain Ash – where the annual races now take place.