The 83rd Senior English Cross-Country Championships took place at the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Showground in Stanley Park, Blackpool. The nine-mile course consisted mainly of grassland and the 997 starters were set off by the Mayor of Blackpool, Alderman Albert E. Stewart J.P.
Prior to the race Dick Taylor (Coventry Godiva Harriers) was thought to be the firm favourite after his win in the inter-counties over Trevor Wright (Hallamshire Harriers). Other contenders were believed to be rising star Dave Bedford (Shaftesbury Harriers) the Southern senior and junior champion and if the going was heavy this was thought to favour last year's winner Mike Tagg (Derby and County AC).
Victory would make Taylor only the second athlete to record the big double of the National and the Inter Counties in English cross country on two occasions, the only runner who performed this feat was Frank Aaron. The race turned out to be an interesting personal battle between Wright and Taylor, with Bedford a distant third most of the way. Trevor Wright had sworn revenge after Taylor's victory over him in the inter-county race.
As in the inter-county race at Derby, Taylor held a 30-yard lead over Wright after the end of the first lap. By the time five miles had been covered, Taylor had extended his lead to nearly 50 yards, with Bedford, Mike Turner (Liverpool Harriers) and Ron Grove ( Leicester Coritanian AC) 70 yards further back.
Bit by bit, Wright began to close up on Taylor and at the end of the second lap the gap was back down to 30 yards, with Bedford now 100 yards adrift of the two front runners.
Half a mile into the last lap Wright hit the front. Taylor matched Wright's initial burst but over the next half mile Wright went 35 yards ahead and was looking strong. The Yorkshireman went on to win by 18 seconds in 42min. 48sec. David Bedford was third in 43min. 18sec.
Wright said after the race "I got better as the race went on." Taylor reflected "The better man won on the day. I probably went too early, but thought I had a chance to break away when I saw Wright working hard to stay with me."