Nos Galan 2012 / Night Races New Years Eve 2012

Posted: January 1, 2013 in Running
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This year I was pursuaded to enter the famous Nos Galan in Mountain Ash, South Wales. This is a race held every year to commemorate Gitto Neath Bran, a legendary local runner from historic times. There are many websites and blogs with the story so I won’t repeat it all here.

This was the first proper race I had entered. I registered a bit late and only just got the race pack before the post stopped for Christmas. The pack included my race number, instructions and a timing chip.

I pinned the number to a race belt which was also going to hold my android phone running endomondo.

On the night of the race it was quiet cold and there had been rain showers all day. We found a parking place nearby and I brought a rucksack to hold my outer wear during the race. As we all made our way to the start, the fireworks display began. We found an excellent vantage point on the bridge over the railway and my kids loved it. We had aranged to been some friends by the start, one of whom was running and had pursuaded me to get involved. As race time approached more and more people were warming up near the start. We watched the elite race, then made our way to the start.

According to press reports following the event, it was the biggest event to date with night spare capacity. I very much felt this as we were crammed into the barriers at the start line. Several times we has to shuffle back to ensure all runners were behind the start line.

I felt a bit like cattle at market. All I could smell was sweaty running gear, deep heat ointment and fried onions from the hot dog stall. We had both decided to run without our waterproof tops, and true to form the rain started as we were waiting for the off.

Despite the waiting, shuffleing and close proximity and smelly surroundings, the atmosphere was great. Everyone was laughing and joking. Lots of people were running in costumes and proudly displaying affiliations to various running clubs. The Royal Welch regiment were represented too.

The starting signal was an air horn, but nothing happened for several minutes, then we started to slowly shuffle towards the start.

Crossing the line, we began our first circuit of the course which runs up a hill on the south side of the town until a turn around point, send you back down the hill through the town centre and then back over the start line. 5k is about 3 laps.

My running mate and I had planned to stay together but it was impossible Due to the amount of people we were soon separated. I looked for her after the turnaround point on the hill but missed her on the way back down. I also missed my family who were standing near the VIP area next to the finish. I felt quite good after the first lap and overtook a good number of people.

The second lap prooved a bit more of a challenge, especially the hill. I saw my friend on the way back down after the turnaround point and we exchanged encouraging words.

On the last lap, I overtook more runners including Santa and his elves. Batman had over taken me a couple of times and I began to wonder if there was more thanks one!

People lined almost the entire route with a reasonable police presence to control traffic and the many people partaking of the new year spirits. First Aiders were also stationed at various points in case of injury or illness.

I managed to get myself over the finish line in a reasonble, but slower than anticipated time without the need to the St. John Ambulance first aiders or being arrested. I joined the queue to return my timing chip and collect a bottle of water, T-shirt and medal.

I found my running mate and after Watching batman get presented with the winners medal, wishing her and her family a happy new year we made our way home. I thourougly enjoyed it and will probably take part again next year.

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