The 80th National Cross-Country Championships took place under blue skies at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Society Showgrounds, Norwich. The going was firm and the three 3-mile laps made up the flat nine-mile course. Buses transported the runners to the start from the changing rooms.
Prior to the race Dick Taylor (Coventry Godiva Harriers) was a strong favourite after winning the Warwickshire, Midland and Inter-Counties championships. The 22-year-old sales representative had issues with an ankle injury prior to the race but was still expected to perform well. Gerry North (Belgrave Harriers) was the Southern champion and was expected to set a hot pace. Ron Hill (Bolton United Harriers) won the Northern title at Eccles and was also expected to feature.
Rex Maddaford (New Zealand) led the field for the first mile with Dick Taylor, Bob Holt, Mike Turner, Jim Hogan, John Jackson and David Eccles in close order.
At the end of the first lap it was Eddie Gray (New Zealand) who emerged first leading Allan Rushmer (Tipton Harriers) who was followed by Bob Holt (Hercules AC), Ron Hill, North, Mike Turner (Liverpool Harriers) and Peter Welsh (N.Z.).
On the second lap Bryan Rose (New Zealand) came up to take the initiative and by the time they went past the lap marker he had built up a lead of ten yards from Gray, there was then a similar distance back to Lachie Stewart (Vale of Leven AC) and Tim Johnston (Portsmouth AC).
Dick Taylor closed the gap on the leaders and hit the front with three-quarters of a mile to go. Taylor crossed the finishing line just seven seconds ahead of Scotsman Lachie Stewart who himself had passed Rose in the closing stages.
The win added the senior title to the junior title he won in 1965, reflecting on his surge to the front and subsequent win, Dick Taylor said: "I caught Rose, and although he stayed with me for a time I put my head down, waved my arms and went. Then I knew I was going to win. It was my hardest race yet; I had a bad patch early on but I was going really well at the end. They said I covered the last mile in about 4min 22sec.".