The ninety third Seniors Men's English National Cross-Country Race took place at Western Park, Leicester. The was the third time the race had been run at Western Park, previously it was held here in 1964 and 1976. Leicester also hosted the race at Oadby Racecourse in 1901. The course totaling 9 miles consisted of three laps of 5000 yards plus 800 yards for the start and was mainly park land. Provincial Insurance Company continued to sponsor the event. Prior to the race a record number of runners were expected. On the day the weather was warm for the time of year and the course was running fast due to the firm nature of the ground.
Mike McLeod (Elswick Harriers) was absent after a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Bernie Ford (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC), who had a great record in the English cross-country championships, was attempting to take his third title. In the last six years he has twice won the event and finished runner-up four times. Nick Rose (Bristol AC) was in good form and it was anticipated he would feature at the sharp end.
It was difficult to pick a favourite for individual honours as titles had been spread around with John Wild (Tipton Harriers) winning the inter-counties, Nick Lees (Derby and County AC) Northern winner.
In the team race Gateshead Harriers weren't expected to be at their strongest due to illness and injuries and Tipton Harriers and Airedale and Spen Valley were expected to make strong challenges.
Six runners formed a leading group half around the first lap Rose, Ken Newton (Sheffield AC), Steve Kenyon (Bolton United Harriers), Barry Smith (Gateshead Harriers), Nick Lees and Ford to the fore. After the completion of the first lap Rose had established a lead.
Rose continued to increase the gap between the trailing pack and halfway around the second lap this stood at 70 yards. Kenyon was in second with Newton, Smith, Ford and Lees not far behind.
Rose continued to build his lead over the last lap and was able to ease off over the last mile to win by 19 seconds. Ken Newton edged out Steve Kenyon for the silver medal.
Nick Rose said after the race "It was a hard race both mentally and physically. Obviously, I was thrilled to win the National even if it did mean that I took the title from my old mate McLeod. Nobody went with me. I felt I had it in control all the way, but I waited until two or three miles before going. I've been training hard for this, I really wanted to win it; it's the best chance I've ever had."