John Hartson and Mark Taylor are Nos Galan runners

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Mark Taylor and John Hartson place flowers on Guto Nyth Bran's grave
Image caption,
Mystery runners Mark Taylor and John Hartson place flowers on Guto Nyth Bran's grave

Football and rugby legends John Hartson and Mark Taylor are this year's "mystery runners" at the annual Nos Galan race in south Wales.

Hundreds of people joined the 5km race around Mountain Ash on New Year's Eve.

The run honours the legendary runner Guto Nyth Bran, whose statue stands in the town.

Previous mystery running guests have included Linford Christie, Nicole Cooke and James Hook.

Former Welsh international footballer Hartson spent much of 2009 battling against cancer, undergoing brain surgery and intensive chemotherapy.

The Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic centre forward quit the game in 2008, and set up the John Hartson Foundation to raise awareness of testicular cancer and to raise funds to support cancer organisations across the UK.

Part of the funds raised by Friday's event will go to his charity.

Image caption,
The traditional race attracts elite competitors hundreds of fun runners

He was joined in the race by the former British and Irish Lions rugby player Mark Taylor.

Taylor was 114th captain of Wales. He also has the honour of being the first person to score a try at the Millennium Stadium when the Cardiff venue opened to face South Africa in 1999.

Both Hartson and Taylor laid a wreath at the grave of runner Guto Nyth Bran, who is buried at Llanwonno church, before following the race route into Mountain Ash.

Coun Andrew Morgan said the race was the "highlight of our events calendar" in the Rhondda Cynon Taff area.

He added that everyone connected with the event was "delighted John and Mark have been able to join us on the night".

The Nos Galan races follow a 5km route around Mountain Ash, with a category for elite runners, a fun run, and boys and girls categories.

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