The English National Cross-Country Championships for 1962 took place at the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show Ground in Blackpool and was sponsored by the News of the World. 117 teams entered and nearly 750 runners toed the start line for the 75th running of the senior event. The course was nine miles covering three laps plus the start and finish straights and was mainly grass land that was heavy in places.
Changing accommodation was in Blackpool Derby Baths courtesy of Blackpool Town Council. A fleet of buses transported the runners to the Show Ground for the race. A bugle was sounded 15 minutes before the start of the event.
Basil Heatley, the Coventry Godiva athlete was aiming to peak for the European Championships and Empire Games later in the year and was without a cross-country win this year and looked unlikely to be able to defend the title he won in 1960 and 1961. Mel Batty (Thurrock Harriers) the Southern champion, John Anderson (Saltwell Harriers) had won the Northern at Bingley and Mike Bulllivant (Derby & County AC) holder of the Midland title were all expected to feature. Other favourites were Gerry North (Blackpool and Fylde Harriers) the inter-counties champion and Bruce Tulloh (Portsmouth AC). Derby and County AC and Portsmouth AC were tipped for the team title.
At the end of the first lap, four runners had detached themselves from the field Gerry North, John Anderson, Mel Batty and Brian Craig (Blackpool and Fylde Harriers), further back followed Ron Hill (Bolton United Harriers), Eddie Strong (Bristol AC), Tulloh and Dave Cooke (Portsmouth AC).
During the second lap Tulloh caught up with the lead bunch. At the end of the second lap North accelerated into a 20 yards lead over Anderson with Craig and Batty dropping back. At seven miles Tulloh had moved into the lead by a couple of yards, but a mile later North was ahead again - only to lose the lead once more in a thrilling duel just before the run in. Tulloh, the sub four minute miler, looked like the winner but with the finish line in sight North made his all or nothing burst to overhaul Tulloh with about 50 yards to go in one of the best finishes witnessed at the National for years.
Local star Gerry North had emulated Frank Aaron's 1951 achievement of winning both the inter-counties and national titles in the same year. Third was Anderson, who just held off Brian Craig then after a short gap came Batty, followed by Dave Cooke. Ron Hill was sixth.