Stopsley Common in Luton hosted the eighty-eighth senior English National Cross-Country Championships.
Frank Briscoe (Salford Harriers), the Northern winner, was one of the favourites along with Midland champion Dave Lem (Leicester Coritanian A.C.), Southern titlist Julian Goater (Shaftesbury Harriers), and inter-counties winner Tony Simmons (Luton United Harriers) and Simmons will have familiarised himself with every part of his home course. Last year's winner Dave Black did not defend his title in order to prepare for his forthcoming marriage.
Shaftesbury Harriers, the southern winners by the huge majority of 136 points, City of Stoke AC looked to have a chance, while Gateshead, who beat Liverpool Harriers in the Northern were national champions two years ago and seem to be the team most likely to win. Liverpool Harriers were in with a chance of medals.
On a fine day over 1,100 runners were set off on their way on the nine-mile course by the starter the Mayor of Luton Hedley Lawrence.
After a mile the order was Scottish champion Andy McKean (Edinburgh AC) in the lead, ahead of Goater, last year's runner-up Bernie Ford (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) and Grenville Tuck (Cambridge & Coleridge AC). The going was very fast on a firm course but there was a steep hill to overcome. At the end of the first of the three mile laps Tuck, Ford and Simmons were at the front.
On the second lap Ford and Simmons broke away and took turns to lead with Tuck chasing. With a lap to go was Ford and Simmons went stride for stride with Tuck some 70yards adrift.
With 600 yards to run Ford disastrously took a wrong turn and Simmons took advantage and unleashed his lethal finish. Despite quickly righting himself it was too late to catch Simmons who won by 50 yards in 46min. 24secs. Simmons, 27, said: "This is the one I've been waiting for. It's the highest honour I've ever won. Early in the week I was doubtful. I caught a cold, but thought at least I know the course, so that must be in my favour." Grenville Tuck finished third in 47min. 8sec.