The fifty-second Senior Women's National Cross-Country Championships took place at Knebworth Park, Knebworth in Hertfordshire. A record entry for the women's event of 696 runners had been received prior to the race. The race was sponsored by Provincial Insurance Limited. The course was 4920 metres.
Angela Tooby (Cardiff AAC) was a hot favourite for the race after a successful winter of cross-country racing. Angela Tooby's main challengers were thought to be her twin sister Susan, also running for Cardiff AAC, the previous year's winner and Southern champion Chris Benning (Southampton & Eastleigh AC) and Inter-Counties champion Jane Furniss (Sheffield United Harriers).
With the Tooby sisters running Cardiff Amateur AC were also expected to feature on the podium for the team event.
The leaders shortly after the start were the Tooby twins, Jane Furniss and Julie Laughton (Derby Ladies AC). Chris Benning had withdrawn prior to the race with a heavy cold and Angela Tooby was unable to continue after less than one kilometre had been covered.
After 2km had been covered Jane Furniss had a 20-metre lead over Carol Haigh (Holmfirth Harriers AC) and Susan Tooby. Kath Carter (Sale Harriers), Chris Boxer (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) and Sandra Arthurton (Leeds City AC) followed the leading trio. Over the next kilometre Furniss increased her lead to 60 metres with Susan Tooby second and Carol Haigh third. Susan Tooby began to struggle and was overtaken by Haigh. As the race progressed the leader continued to stretch the gap on second and after the long climb up to the last half kilometre, Furniss was 150 metres clear. Several changes took place up the hill with Haigh holding second, Sarah Rowell (Dartford Harriers) third, Carole Bradford (Clevedon AC) fourth and Ruth Smeeth (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) fifth. Jane Furniss went on to win in 16:35, 36 seconds clear of Haigh. Ruth Smeeth passed Rowell and Bradford in the finishing straight for third with Bradford fourth and Rowell fifth.
Furniss 'counted down' to the 'National' title with fourth in 1981, third in 1982, second in 1983 and first in 1984 and Jane told Athletics Weekly "It was hard because I was on my own all the way."