The seventy first English National Cross-Country Championships took place at Arrowe Park in Birkenhead. There was a cold wind and snow showers were experienced, the spectators paid two shillings to watch the spectacle and a large and noisy crowd had gathered and were treated to a great race with an exciting finish. 85 teams had entered with 50 full teams eventually completing the event. The course was three laps of 3 miles and started and finished by the pavilion. The parkland conditions were soft and heavy in places. Franks Sando (Aylesford Paper Mills) was installed as favourite although there were doubts about his fitness, J. Wilde (East Cheshire Harriers) who had won the Northern title was also expected to feature. South London Harriers were expected to retain their team title.
Stan Eldon (Windsor and Eton) the 21-year-old policeman and holder of the Southern cross-country title, arranged to take a week of his annual holiday, spent two days of it practising over the hilly, nine mile course but on the day arrived for the 2.30 start at 3 o'clock.
Changing accommodation was in Fender Valley Primary School and a bugle was sounded in the dressing rooms 30 minutes before the start of the race with buses transporting the runners to the course. Western Command Signals Unit were on hand to relay the runners progress to the spectators in the start and finish area. Each club could enter a team of not less than six and not more than nine runners. Runners whose clubs could not meet these requirements could run as individuals.
After the starting pistol set the runners on their way Mick Firth, Peter Driver and Gordon Pirie (all South London Harriers) were first to show. Halfway around the second lap Frank Sando and Fred Norris had joined Firth with Driver and Pirie slipping back.
Alan Perkins moved through the field and at eight miles had caught the leaders. Norris had tired badly and slipped back and with 600 yards to go Sando, Firth and Perkins commenced a battle along the finishing straight and a great conclusion was in prospect. Perkins had skipped the Southern because he thought the conditions then were too tough and had banked everything on this race.
Firth made his effort and Perkins followed and then gained a slight advantage. Perkins held off his rivals to win by 10 yards and Sando overhauled Firth for second place.
In the race for the team championship South London Harriers placed six men in the first 74 places to total 212 points and gain their third victory in four years. Second were Thames Valley Harriers with 320 points and third Derby and County AC with 337 points.