The eighty-fifth English Senior Cross-Country Championships took place at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield. The course consisted of three laps of three mile in length plus the start and finish straights making a total of 9 miles and 400 yards.
Last year's winner Dave Bedford (Shaftesbury Harriers) was absent due to a sore Achilles tendon, making Malcom Thomas (Thames Valley Harriers) and Trevor Wright (Hallamshire Harriers) favourites. Thomas had the Southern and Welsh champion whilst Wright had won the Northern. Allan Rushmer (Tipton Harriers) the Midland winner and Tony Simmons (Luton United Harriers) the Eastern title holder along with inter-counties champion Grenville Tuck (Cambridge & Coleridge AC) also expecting to feature.
On a day that started with bright sunshine the temperatures plummeted and the driving wind brought in sleet and snow with most runners falling at some stage of the race. The deterioration in the weather occurred during the race so caught most runners and officials by surprise. The official's tent was used by runners to shelter after the race and to be given first aid. Said Reading team manager Bert Hinton: "It comes to something when you see blokes coming through the finishing funnel crying like babies." The changing facilities were over a mile from the course and this led too many complaints about the facilities. Many blanks exist in the results as runners were unable to hold discs or were whisked away to hospital before they could be handed in.
Malcolm Thomas and Tony Simmons established a lead of 60 yards ahead of Trevor Wright during the first lap. Thomas then broke away from Simmons halfway around the second lap and henceforth was never challenged, except by the weather, despite a fall in the ford.
Thomas won by 36 seconds from Bill Robinson (Gateshead Harriers), with Allan Rushmer third. Winner Malcom Thomas, a 23-year-old civil engineer from Sheffield, said after the race "These are the worst conditions I have ever known; I was freezing all the way."