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Running short? Newport Half Marathon measures under

The Newport Half Marathon was over 600 metres shorter than it should've been. Credit: City of Newport Half Marathon

The Newport Half Marathon was over 600 metres shorter than it should've been, its been confirmed.

After a series of concerns following the race on the 1st March, the course was remeasured and found to be 636 metres under the required 13.1 miles.

Phil Cook of the Association of UK Course Measurers confirmed the actual distance after remeasuring the course on Wednesday.

Welshman crowned National Adventurer of the Year

A young Welsh explorer who walked solo across Mongolia has been crowned National Adventurer of the Year.

Ash completed his journey pulling a 120kg trailer. Credit: Ash Dykes

24-year-old Ash Dykes spent 78 days crossing 1,500 miles of the Gobi Desert and the Mongolian Steppe last year - becoming the first person ever to walk across the Asian country alone.

Mongolia is the second-largest landlocked country on earth at 603,930 square miles and the most sparsely populated with only 3,133,318 people - averaging just 5.19 people to every one square mile.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer who was first to reach both Poles, first to cross the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean, and the first to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis, praised the the young adventurer from Colwyn Bay, saying it was "an example of great determination".

Ash had to contend with heat exhaustion and sandstorms. Credit: Ash Dykes

Ash dragged a 120kg home-made trailer behind him all the way from the small settlement of Olggi in the West to the town of Choybalsan in the East.

It carried the dehydrated food ration packs, 25 litre water butt and camping equipment he needed on his trek.

His longest day of walking saw him on his feet for 14 hours as he covered 55km. And he reached a peak altitude of 2,700m along the way.

The National Adventure Awards are a celebration of the very best of international adventure by people across the UK - and Ash was crowned National Adventurer of the Year after a public vote, coming out on top from 39 other competitors.

"I feel humbled to have received the most votes. I would like to say how proud I feel and I didn't expect such support from the public...I am in preparation for my next world first adventure now. It is something no one has done before and I will be revealing it very soon."

– Ash Dykes


Centre developed to mark anniversary of Welsh emigrants to Patagonia

Over a million pounds has been awarded to the creation of a new tourist and heritage centre within a church in Llanuwchllyn, Gwynedd, to mark the 150th anniversary of first voyage of Welsh emigrants to South America.

The church will now be turned into a community and visitor space.

The Heritage Lottery Grant will restore and bring the Grade II listed Eglwys Deiniol Sant back into use for the first time since 2006 and will include an exhibition space to share the story of the first Welsh colony in Patagonia in 1865.

Eglwys Deiniol Sant was built in 1873 on the site of a medieval building.

"Llanuwchllyn has such a rich history and as we mark 150 years since the Mimosa's (the ship that carried the Welsh emigrants) voyage to Patagonia, we're thrilled to be able to support a new local heritage centre and help them celebrate this important anniversary."

– Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales

Welsh bear 'closest resemblance' to earliest settlers of Britain

The Welsh are more similar to the earliest settlers of Britain after the last ice age than any other people in the UK, according to a new study into the genetic makeup of the British Isles.

An international research team used DNA samples collected from more than 2,000 people. Credit: 100,000 Genomes Project

An international research team used DNA samples collected from more than 2,000 people to create the first fine-scale genetic map of any country in the world.

By comparing this information with DNA samples from over 6,000 Europeans, the team was also able to identify clear traces of the population movements into the UK over the past 10,000 years.

“To tease out the subtle genetic differences between UK regions we had to use sophisticated statistical methods that model how our genomes are made up of stretches of DNA, passed down the generations from our ancestors”

– Dr Garrett Hellenthal, University College London

Key findings:

  • There was not a single “Celtic” genetic group. In fact the Celtic parts of the UK (Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Cornwall) are among the most different from each other genetically.
  • The Welsh appear more similar to the earliest settlers of Britain after the last ice age than do other people in the UK.
  • There is genetic evidence of the effect of the Landsker line – the boundary between English-speaking people in south-west Pembrokeshire (sometimes known as “Little England beyond Wales”) and the Welsh speakers in the rest of Wales.

“These researchers have been able to use modern genetic techniques to provide answers to the centuries’ old question - where we come from. Beyond the fascinating insights into our history, this information could prove very useful from a health perspective, as building a picture of population genetics at this scale may in future help us to design better genetic studies to investigate disease.”

– Dr Michael Dunn, Head of Genetics & Molecular Sciences at the Wellcome Trust
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