The twenty-fourth Women's National Cross-Country Championships took place at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield. The course was 2½ miles in length.
Diane Leather (Birchfield Harriers) had won the individual title for the previous three years and was described as the queen of track and country. Leather had also won the Midlands championships four consecutive times.
The battle for team honours was expected to be between Ilford AC and Birchfield Harriers as it had been for the previous five years.
J Ruff (Borderers LCC) set the pace at the start of the race but could not maintain the lead and finished sixteenth. Diane Leather soon overtook Ruff and after 400 yards held the lead. Leather did indeed get her fourth consecutive win crossing the line in 15:53, 50 yards ahead of the 1951 and 1952 winner Phyllis Perkins nee Green (Ilford AC). Four seconds behind Perkins was Roma Ashby (Smethwick Harriers) in third.