Parliament Hill, London hosted their first English Cross-Country Championships on a quagmire of a course after heavy rain drenched the ground the week before the race. The 9 mile 700 yard undulating course on the fields, that are part of Hampstead Heath, had mud 9 inches deep in places and was considered tough by the leading runners.
Ken Norris (Thames Valley Harriers) and Derek Ibbotson (South London Harriers) had run a trial run over the course on the Saturday and were expected to contend the individual race with Frank Sando (Aylesford Paper Mills), Basil Heatley (Coventry Godiva Harriers) and Peter Driver (South London Harriers).
The start was by the Lido and the runners faced an uphill sprint to try and gain an advantage, the Midland champion, Basil Heatley forced the pace in the early stages with Peter Driver, Ken Norris, Derek Ibbotson and Mick Firth (South London Harriers) in close attendance.
At the start of the second lap Driver, Norris, Heatley and Firth were together with Ibbotson 10 yards behind and Sando 50 yards adrift of the leading group.
Lap three saw Firth move to the front just ahead Sando who had moved up steadily. Then followed Norris and Driver, then a gap of 10 yards to Basil Heatley.
The Aylesford runner surged into the lead around the eight miles mark and opened a gap of twelve yards from Norris, Driver and Firth and Heatley. Sando gradually increased his lead over the last lap and went on to win by 100 yards in 50mins. 24 secs. Driver produced a sterling effort to pass Norris , who was handicapped by a heavy cold, right on the line for second place with the runners being given the same time of 50 min. 38 sec.
Frank Sando won the individual title at his sixth attempt and had finished second in 1953 and third a year later, Frank wasn't in good form prior to the race having finished sixth in the Southern championship at Epsom and withdrew from the inter-counties with a foot injury.