The ninety-fifth English Senior Cross-Country Championships sponsored by Provincial Insurance Company Limited was held at Roundhay Park, Leeds. 240 teams and 101 individuals had entered the nine-mile race over 3 laps.
Last year's winner by almost two minutes Julian Goater who runs for the RAF and Shaftesbury Harriers was in good form and was attempting to be the first man since Mel Batty (1964/65) to retain this coveted title. Mike McLeod, the 1979 champion, was expected to feature as was Northern champion John Woods (Liverpool Harriers), Pete Standing (Windsor, Slough & Eton AC) the Southern winner and inter-counties champion Barry Knight. Also fancied were Tony Milovsorov (Tipton Harriers) the Midland title holder and last year's runner-up Dave Clarke (Hercules-Wimbledon AC), although Clarke had had back trouble prior to the race.
Tipton Harriers were outstanding favourites for the team title.
Julian Goater made a surprise last minute decision not to defend his title. After a mile of the race a group had started to break away from the masses, with Tony Simmons (Luton United Harriers), Ray Smedley (Birchfield Harriers), Dave Moorcroft (Coventry Godiva Harriers), McLeod, Chris Buckley (Westbury Harriers), Steve Kenyon (Salford Harriers) and Hugh Jones (Ranelagh Harriers) involved. Plenty of green and white vests of Tipton Harriers were going through at the head of the field.
At the end of the first lap Clarke was looking relaxed with Moorcroft and McLeod close up. Ten metres further back came Knight, Woods and Jones. During the second circuit Clarke and McLeod pulled away from Moorcroft who was having a bad patch and was overtaken by Jones, Knight and Woods. By the end of the lap Clarke had opened up a 60m lead and Jones and McLeod were battling in second place.
On the third climb of 'Hill 60' was Clarke was expecting to be overtaken but went on to win by 14 seconds in 42:19, Jones edged out MacLeod for the silver with Moorcroft recovering from his bad patch to finish fourth.