The first Women's English National Cross-Country Championships took place at Hoo Park, Luton in the grounds of Lady Ludlow's estates. The grassland course was two laps and the distance covered was 2½ miles. The Women's Amateur Athletic Association organised the race. Over one hundred entries were received, nine clubs, mostly from the London area, sent representatives, and there were also ten individual entries.
The air was cold and misty and the ground was frozen which made it hard and slippery. All the runners wore greatcoats and doffed them just before the start of the race
The field became spread out after the first circuit with a trio of runners in the lead group consisting of Anne Williams and Lillian Styles, both Littlehampton AC, and Gladys Lane from Middlesex Ladies AC.
The spectators enjoyed a thrilling finish as the first three were no more than a yard apart crossing the line, with Anne Williams edging Lillian Styles by a foot and Gladys Lane coming in third, all three were given the same time. 32-year-old Anne Williams was so overcome by the race that it was several minutes before she realised that she had won.
81 runners took part with 79 finishing, one of the girls who fell out gave after the first lap and walked to the finishing post unaided another girl caught her foot in a shrub and had to have a wound bound up. At the finishing post two girls showed signs of exhaustion and received treatment by St John Ambulance men. Both of these competitors, from Ilford AC, arrived at the starting post after rushing to the ground from a late train and were partially exhausted when they went off the mark.
In the team race by half-distance Atalanta AC were easily first having six in the first twenty but on the second lap Middlesex Ladies AC fought back to win the title by 22 points. Atalanta AC and London Olympiads AC tied for 2nd place and on time aggregate the former won by 25 secs.
Opinions differed on the whether women could cope with cross country with Sir W. Arbuthnot Lane, the president of the New Health Society, declared. "I think it is absurd for women to try to compete with men in entering for such sports as these. Women have a tremendous physical handicap, which men do not have to bear, and consequently there are many sports which men can take part in which should be avoided by women. There are many sports which women can and should take part in, but these things can be carried to excess and become too severe. The trouble seems to be that women are too ambitious and anxious to beat men at their own game." Whilst Mr. W. T. Rainbow, well-known throughout the country, particularly in the North, for his long service to the cause of amateur athletics and for the soundness of his judgment said "Of the 81 starters I think only two fell out. The girls evidently were determined to go all the way, but for many it resolved itself into a 'go-as-you-please' contest. They had the good sense to indulge in a short walk for a breather at intervals. The St. John's Ambulance Corps had little to do; there were a few showing signs of distress, but I have seen more - many more and worse - cases at the finish of similar races for men. "