The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Showground at Norwich hosted the eighty-fourth English Cross-Country Championships. The course consisted of three laps of three miles each.
Trevor Wright (Hallamshire Harriers) had already won the inter-counties and Northern championships and was expected to contest the title with Dave Bedford (Shaftesbury Harriers) who had kept his cross-country racing to a minimum. Other athletes with aspirations were Mike Freary (Bolton United Harriers), inter-counties runner-up and the Southern champion Peter Standing (Brighton and Hove AC) and Midland title holder Roger Clark (Bristol Athletic Club) were also hoping to feature.
The team title was difficult to call with area champions Bolton United Harriers, Tipton Harriers and Reading AC all keen to prevail.
Bedford made a fast start and after 1½ miles was already 50 yards clear of Tony Simmons (Luton United Harriers) and Trevor Wright.
At the end of the first lap Bedford's lead was 80 yards over Welsh champion Malcolm Thomas (Thames Valley Harriers), with Wright 20 yards further adrift. At this point the team title appeared to lay between Tipton Harriers, who had 6 in 50, and Scottish champions Shettleston Harriers, who had 4 in 30.
Bedford, who covers over 200 miles a week in training, continued to increase his lead on the second lap and at 4½ miles led by 120 yards and at the end of the lap it was 200 yards.
Bedford showed no signs of slowing up on the final lap either and went on the win by 40 seconds (300 yards) in 47min. 4secs. Thomas drew away from Wright for runner-up spot and Caine grabbed fourth.
After the race Dave Bedford the 21-year-old sales clerk said "I got off to a very good start and was leading the field after about half a mile. I was surprised I got away so early but it didn't worry me. That's the way these things can happen."
An exciting finish to the team race saw Shettleston Harriers pipping Tipton Harriers by just seven points. Reading AC picked up bronze medals.
After the race Tipton Harriers claimed Shettleston Harriers were using an ineligible athlete. International Alistair Blamire, who led Shettleston to success, did not appear in the official programme. So Tipton protested, but unsuccessfully. The mystery of Blamire's apparent omission was solved. As a result of the postal strike entries for the race were taken over the phone and Blamire's name was misheard as E. Elmer. Said championship secretary George Smith: "The fellow who gave me the entry was speaking in a broad Scottish accent and half the time I didn't know what the hell he was saying!".