The weather was fine at Great Barr in Birmingham for the 65th National Cross-Country Championships, the hilly and stony 10-mile course consisted of one small lap and three large laps and caused several injuries on the day. Forecasts before the race predicting a close race between the pair that duelled for the Junior race the previous year namely, Walter Hesketh (Manchester A and CC) the Northern and Gordon Pirie (South London Harriers) the Southern champion. In the team race there were no strong favourites.
Pirie liked to lead from the front and after the first small lap he had opened up a ten-yard lead on Hesketh, with Geoff Saunders (Bolton) in third position.
After the completion of the first large map (approx.. four miles), Hesketh had just got his chest in front of Pirie in 21min. 47secs. The third man was Frank Norris (Bolton) in 22min. 4secs.
At the end of the second lap (approx. seven miles.) Hesketh and Pirie were still in the lead battling shoulder-to-shoulder with neither giving an inch over the testing undulating course. The gap to their nearest rival, Norris, was over 200 yards, who was slightly ahead of W. Boak (Elswick Harriers).
In the closing stages, Hesketh ran right away from Pirie, just as he had done in the junior championship last year. Hesketh's drive for home saw him take a minute out of the South London Harrier finishing in 55mins. 32.2 secs. Hesketh had now won three individual national cross-country titles, the youth 1948, junior in 1950 and the senior in 1952. Pirie aggravated an old tendon injury and unable to walk had to be carried to the dressing rooms.