Parliament Hill Fields, Hampstead Heath, London hosted the English National Cross-Country Championships on a day blessed with fine weather. The course at the start was firm but there were patches of mud that caught some of the runners out.
Gerry North (Blackpool and Fylde Harriers), the Northern champion was greatly fancied to take the National title after a convincing win at Blackpool, Michael Hyman holder of the southern title and Roy Fowler (North Staffs. and Stone Harrers), winner of the Midlands race and also the inter-county holder were also expected to feature.
Basil Heatley (Coventry Godiva Harriers), the National champion, was without a victory until three weeks before the race when he won a Birmingham district fixture at Great Barr, this pointed to his fitness improving.
Clive Carr the director of the 'News of the World' the patrons of the championships started the runners off on the nine mile course starting by the Lido.
Gerry North was in contact with Heatley for only a brief period on the first lap, Heatley took over the lead from Alan Cocking, the Yorkshire champion, after one mile. Bruce Tulloh, of Portsmouth AC, running in bare feet, stayed with the champion longest, but by the end of the first lap Heatley had a 50 yard lead.
At this point of the race the order was after Tulloh - North, R. Fowler, J. P Snowden (Surrey AC), D. Ibbotson (Longwood Harriers), S. Eldon (Windsor & Eton AC), and D. G. Pirie (South London Harriers), with D. M. Turner of Liverpool Harriers, in close attendance.
Half way around the second lap, Heatley led followed by Tulloh and North, E. J. Matley, of Derby and County AC, had come into fourth place, followed by Fowler, and Turner was sixth, in front of Snowdon and Ibbotson.
At six miles, Heatley led Tulloh by 50 yards, with North a further 70 yards away. Then 200 yards further back came Hyman, Matley, Fowler and Turner.
Heatley with a 100 yards lead and unchallenged, was happily racing for the short, steep hill which marked the finish retaining the title he won last year. Tulloh was second with North third.