The 76th National Cross-Country Championships at Coldham's Common, Cambridge was blessed with fine weather as the sun shone, temperatures rose and the wind dropped. The severe weather earlier in the week had left the course with some muddy patches, the nine miles comprised of one small lap and three large. A red Verey light was fired 10 minutes before the start and a green Verey light five minutes before the start.
For most of the race four runners were at the front taking turns to lead, these four were Basil Heatley (Coventry Godiva Harriers), Eddie Strong (Bristol AC), Roy Fowler (North Staffordshire and Stone Harriers) and Tim Johnston (Portsmouth AC). At the end of the second large lap Tim Briault (Brighton AC) made a remarkable effort and caught the leaders. It was difficult to pick a winner from the leading five and in a thrilling last lap, Roy Fowler led for three quarters of the way round, but Heatley came from behind with a quarter of a mile to go and battled his way through the churned up mud to win by 10 seconds in 50 minutes 25 seconds. The win was Heatley's third National success in four years.
Eddie Strong, the Somerset champion, took third place in 50 minutes 44 seconds with Briault fourth.
Tim Johnston, the Inter-county Universities and Southern champion, was expected by many to add the English title to his successes, but although always well in the picture, had to be content with fifth place.