The three peaks is a gruelling race. A 24 mile long run and a total climb of 4,500 ft over rough country, this is not a race for beginners. The runners arrived at the finish line to the sparse commentary of a local retired runner. Folks don't retire from running until well into their 70s in this part of the world, and this weathered old tyke looked like he had seen a few races in his day.
He wasn't easily impressed. Welcoming back the 10th runner he announced to the smallish crowd that this man had come third last year. "'ee's not as fit as 'ee was" came the commentary. A gentle smile went round the crowd, more out of sympathy than mocking for the poor bloke who looked truly exhausted as he staggered over the finish line.
"Alreet, lad, tha's done well" he greeted the youngest runner, who, at just 18 yrs of age, had come a remarkable 8th place.
There were runners from all over the country. "This lad's from Thames 'arriers" announced the tyke. "Ah think that's dahn south" he added helpfully. The first woman came in around about 15th overall, which was a really remarkable achievement. "And t' first o' t' ladies is here" came the announcement, "an' she 'as a dog for company'. She had run the race with her border collie. It was strangely touching.
It was a beautiful reminder of why I chose to move back to Yorkshire after many years of living in London and Manchester. These rural events are so gentle and understated. There was no flash, no hype, no grandiosity, no high expression of emotion. Just lots of people enjoying the beautiful fells and a feeling of belonging.