The 86th English Senior Cross-Country Championship took place at Parliament Hill Fields and 1,195 runners took part in dry conditions a marked contrast to the previous year's race.
The reigning champion Malcolm Thomas (Thames Valley Harriers) was spiked in the Welsh Cross-Country Championships wasn't expected to be able to defend his title. Dave Bedford (Shaftesbury Harriers) had won the Southern title was hot favourite, inter-county winner Frank Briscoe (Hercules-Wimbledon AC) was expected to challenge along with Northern winner Bill Robinson (Gateshead Harriers).
The New Zealand cross-country team had travelled to Europe for the International Cross-Country Championships had asked to be allowed to take part, either as guests or as real competitors. The request had caused controversy with those who wished to extend a welcoming hand to a Commonwealth team who have travelled half way across the world for a run on one side, and the law abiders who point to the rule that only first claim members of British cross-country clubs may compete on the other. The committee decided to give the freedom of Parliament Hill as non-scoring guest runners to the New Zealand team.
Defending champion Malcolm Thomas led when the runners reached the top of the first hill. Half way round the first lap Bedford joined Dixon at the front. Not far adrift were Roger Clark (Bristol Athletic Club) and Bill Robinson together.
During the second lap Dixon put some distance between himself and Bedford and ended the lap with a 50 yards lead. On the final lap Bedford toiled to reduce the deficit but could not make any impression.
Dixon went on to win by 80 yards but Bedford had the satisfaction of being the English Champion. Roger Clark picked up the silver medal and Tony Simmons (Luton United Harriers) the bronze.
Dave Bedford said after the race "I was running as well as I'd like but it just wasn't good enough to win, was it? I had what felt like the beginning of stitch after about four miles, but that soon went and I settled down, but I was never quite comfortable, you know? Still I suppose it's not a bad run, considering I've missed a lot of work this winter - I didn't start until after Christmas, and I've built up slowly to three sessions a day. Maybe I didn't feel good because I was losing. If I'd been winning perhaps I wouldn't have felt anything, because then everything seems rosier. I didn't know anything about the New Zealanders running; the first thing I knew about Dixon was when he was up with me after a mile or so when I hit the front. I'd heard months ago that they would be here, but I didn't know they had been allowed in the race, even as guests. No one asked us what we thought about it, but quite honestly I don't mind. Let them all run, I say. I've no objection".
The team race was an exciting affair with Hillingdon AC first to close on 422 points, Reading AC then pipped them when G. Stevens finished in 102nd to give Reading 415 points. Then Bolton United Harriers closed with 305 points but with Lindsay Dunn and John Trainor finishing 105th and 106th respectively Gateshead Harriers, who could only finish third in the Northern at Blackpool, won the title by a mere 6 points by virtue of their low early scorers.