Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Friday, 1 January 2010

Roberts and Hook are Nos Galan mystery runners

Rugby internationals Jamie Roberts and James Hook , mystery runners for this year's Nos Galan race(
Rugby internationals Jamie Roberts and James Hook made the torchlight run

Wales rugby stars Jamie Roberts and James Hook joined more than 1,000 runners braving freezing temperatures for the annual Nos Galan races.

The 5km race takes place every New Year's Eve at Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley.

Hook and Roberts were revealed as this year's mystery runners.

As tradition dictates, the players laid a wreath at the grave of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Bran in Llanwonno graveyard following a church service.

They then followed the race route from Llanwonno to Mountain Ash town centre where they were greeted by more than 8,000 supporters.

Roberts, of Cardiff Blues, and Ospreys star Hook were supported on their torchlight run by two local athletes - Gareth Baker and Daniel Bodman, who are both 19.

Bat Girl competitor in Nos Galan race
Super hero - a Nos Galan runner in fancy dress

A spokeswoman for the event said it was one of the highlights of the year for the community, and both rugby stars stayed on for at least an hour to sign autographs.

"They were complete gentlemen and total crowd pleasers. We could not have had better guests," she said.

The two sportsmen later lit the Nos Galan dragon beacon to mark the start of a spectacular firework display.

Local Rhondda Cynon Taf councillor Andrew Morgan, who plays a key role in the organisation of the event, also took part in the races in aid of the Mayor's charity appeal.

He said: "Once again Nos Galan has been an amazing evening for everyone who attended.

"As well attracting runners from all over the UK, many local supporters attend Nos Galan simply to enjoy the unique atmosphere and cheer on the participants - Nos Galan Races go from strength to strength each year and Mountain Ash is proud to host this landmark event.

MYSTERY RUNNERS FROM WORLD OF SPORT
2009 Jamie Roberts and James Hook
2008 Linford Christie
2007 Kevin Morgan
2006 Rhys Williams
2005 Gethin Jenkins, Martyn Williams, Rhys Thomas
2004 Nicole Cooke
2003 Stephen Jones
2002 Matt Elias
2001 Darren Campbell
2000 Christian Malcolm

"A huge thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it all possible."

Last year, former Olympic champion Linford Christie was the mystery runner for the 50th anniversary of the Nos Galan.

He was accompanied by gold medal-winning Paralympian David Roberts on the same day he was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours.

Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke has also taken on the mystery runner role in the past.

Chris Davies from Telford Athletic Club and Andrea Whitcombe from Swansea Harriers were the winners of the 2009 elite race.

Many runners came in fancy dress and there was also a children's run.



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SEE ALSO
Pounding the streets for New Year
01 Jan 09 |  South East Wales
New Year's Eve run marks 50 years
31 Dec 08 |  South East Wales
Rugby star starts Nos Galan race
01 Jan 08 |  South East Wales
Hurdler is Nos Galan torch runner
01 Jan 07 |  Wales
Welsh Olympian starts annual run
01 Jan 05 |  South East Wales

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