Western Park in Leicester hosted the 77th English Cross-Country Championships. Changing accommodation was in New Parks Boys and Girls Schools and the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Constance Jackson started the 840 runners off on their 9-mile journey.
The race was considered to be wide open with Mike Turner (Liverpool Harriers) having won the Inter-Counties Cross-Country, Ron Hill (Bolton United Harriers) secured the Northern championship, Mel Batty (Thurrock Harriers) who had held off Gerry North (Belgrave Harriers) to win the Southern title all expected to feature. Also highly fancied was the holder of the individual National title Basil Heatley (Coventry Godiva Harriers) who also the Midland champion.
There was a bottleneck soon after the start and many of the runners had to put the brakes on.
Ron Hill set the pace early on with Mel Batty and John Cook (Portsmouth AC) in close attendance. 30 yards behind came Mike Turner and a further 10 yards back came Basil Heatley, who was followed by Gerry North, Bruce Tulloh (Portsmouth AC), Tim Briault (Ponders End AC), Dom Keily (Derby and County AC), Eddie Strong (Bristol AC) and Don Taylor (Herne Hill Harriers). After 4 miles Mel Batty picked up the running and by the end of the second lap Batty had built up a 50-yard lead over Hill. On the last lap Mike Turner came through strongly and passed Cooke and Hill but could not overhaul Batty who won by 60 yards in 46 minutes 36 seconds. Bronze went to Ron Hill.
Batty, a 23 years old electrician, was elated after his 'National' win.