Planning has started for a long-distance relay race to celebrate and raise money for the Welsh language.
The intention of the organisers is to hold a non-competitive relay race from Glyndŵr’s parliament in Machynlleth to Cardigan on Saturday 15th of September 2013. Clubs, societies, families, schools and individuals will pay to buy one kilometre of the journey, passing a baton from each kilometre to the next.
September was chosen to hold the race as it won't coincide with other important events in the Welsh calendar like the Urdd Eisteddfod, the Royal Welsh Show and the National Eisteddfod. The 16th of September is also Glyndŵr Day as this is the date that he was crowned Prince of Wales in 1400.
Gwenno Hywel of Cered, Ceredigion’s Welsh language initiative, who is co-ordinating the event, says,
“It’s time to celebrate the Welsh language and bring people together from every background with an interest in supporting the language – Welsh speakers, learners and non-Welsh speakers. It will cost £50 to nominate a kilometre but more than one person can run each kilometre in the name of their local football club, branch of Merched y Wawr, local pub or school. We will be commissioning local craftsmen to create a special baton and we intend to hold different events along the route. The profit made from the race will be distributed in grants to promote the Welsh language.’
Ras Glyndŵr is based on similar very successful races in Ireland, Brittany and the Basque Country. The first race of its type, the Korrika, in the Basque Country, was held in 1980. Today the Basques run non-stop, 24 a day for ten days, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds towards teaching Basque to adults. The idea was adopted by the Bretons and in 2012 their race, the Redadeg, travelled non-stop, day and night, over 1,400km across Brittany. This year the An Rith was also held in Ireland, running 1000km through towns and countryside including Derry, Belfast and Dublin.
"It’s time for us to celebrate the Welsh language", said Siôn Jobbins who has run the Korrika, Redadeg and the Rith and has written a report about them. "It’s time for the friends of the Welsh language to come together, and show a bit more oomph and fun for the language instead of expecting others to work on their behalf. Ras Glyndŵr will be a great way to bring people together, raise money and awareness about the language and celebrate that we are still here!"
A meeting to establish Ras Glyndŵr will take place at 2pm on Thursday the 15th of November in Theatr Felin-fach, near Aberaeron.
Gwenno Hywel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Siôn Jobbins: email@example.com