Gareth Thomas CBE and Laura McAllister CBE are Nos Galan 2023 Mystery Runners

Written by on 2nd January 2024

What better way to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the iconic Nos Galan Road Races than with not one, but TWO, Welsh sporting legends!

Rugby’s Gareth Thomas and football’s Laura McAllister are the celebrity mystery runners for the 2023 event!

The pair, among some of the most influential sporting and social figures in Welsh culture, will now attend a service at beautiful St Gwynno’s Church and lay a wreath on the grave of Guto Nyth Bran, the man who inspired this evening.

They will then make their way into Mountain Ash, enjoying a huge warm welcome from the crowds, before lighting the Nos Galan torch as the fireworks and light display take place.

The evening then continues with the elite and fun run races.

Cllr Ann Crimmings, Chair of the Nos Galan Committee, said: “We have made it to 65 years! What a landmark! Year after year the streets of Mountain Ash have been filled with spectators as runners from all over the world keep the Legend Alive.

“Joined by a huge range of celebrity mystery runners – from David Bedford to Shane Williams – they have completed an award-winning event and everyone has had a magical evening as well.

“What better way to celebrate 65 years than by having two of the most important sporting figures in Welsh culture join us as mystery runners. The mystery runners are always a treat for the crowd and an inspiration for the competitors and, this year, they certainly are inspirational. So proud to host Gareth Thomas and Laura McAllister in Mountain Ash in 2023.”

With the exception of two years when the event was held virtually at the height of the Covid pandemic, Nos Galan has brought a magical atmosphere to Mountain Ash every New Year’s Eve since 1958.

The late Bernard Baldwin launched the event, inspired by the legend of Griffith Morgan (Guto Nyth Bran) who was once the fastest man in the world and could run from his home to Porth and back in the time it took the kettle to boil. He could catch a bird in his bare hands and out run wild hares.

Bernard was determined to keep the Legend Alive and Nos Galan, with its anticipated celebrity Mystery Runner, has gone from strength to strength.

Gareth Thomas CBE (Alfie) is a former rugby union AND league player who represented the nation in both codes – becoming the first Welsh rugby union player to appear in 100 matches.

As the sixth most capped Wales player in history (15th in the world!) he has played across the UK and Europe and is now a beloved commentator, appearing on our screens to break down Wales matches taking places all over the world.

He has also appeared on our screens on Big Brother, SAS: Who Dares Wins and starred as himself on Stella with Ruth Jones, filmed in Ferndale, plus television documentaries with Prince Harry, the Terrence Higgins Trust and the BBC’s “Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me”. His autobiography “Proud” was sports book of the year in 2015.

His influence in public health is just as important. He was voted the most influential gay person in the UK in 2010 in The Independent newspaper’s Pink List and is also a winner of the Stonewall Hero Of The Year.

Alfie is a fierce supporter of the NSPCC and Childline and remains determined to help other young people seek support.


Professor Laura McAllister CBE is one of the most influential women in Welsh sports and social issues.

Following a successful club career, Laura was one of three players who lobbied for women’s football to be recognised worldwide by the Football Association Wales – and then went on to score 24 caps for her country as an international player.

She served on the board of Sport Wales and oversaw the most successful period for Welsh elite sport ever, with record numbers of medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and Paralympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She also served on the board of UK Sport during a record breaking period for Team GB.

Laura made history this year when she became the first ever Welsh Vice President of UEFA and is also deputy chair of the UEFA Women’s Football Committee and chair of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.

Currently working as Professor of Public Policy and The Governance of Wales at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, Laura is an expert on devolution, Welsh politics elections, public policy and the representation of women in politics.

Laura topped the Wales Pinc List 2023, a celebration of welsh people doing amazing things for the LGBTQ community, with mention of the stand she took at Wales’ first World Cup game in Qatar when asked to remove her Rainbow Wall bucket hat.

Finally, she was honoured by Gorsedd Cymru at the Llyn and Eifionydd National Eisteddfod this year for services to sport. Rhondda Cynon Taf will host the Eisteddfod in 2024 and is an amazing partner and mother of two!

Listen to GTFM’s coverage of the Nos Galan Road Races 


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