The ninety-seventh edition of the English National Cross-Country Championships took place at Newark and Notts Agricultural Showground and this was the first time Newark and in fact the first time Nottinghamshire had hosted the race. Provincial Insurance Company were once again the sponsors and the course consisted of three laps of approximately three miles and the start and finish making nine miles. 248 teams and 75 individuals and the number of eventual finishers (1723) was a record for the event.
Tim Hutchings (Crawley AC) decided not to defend his national cross country title as he had been the top performer on the country this season, this left the race wide open. Dave Clarke (Hercules Wimbledon AC) was most peoples favourite to win, Roger Hackney (Aldershot, Farnham and District) was also in good form. Julian Goater (Shaftesbury Harriers) was expected to feature. The area champions were Phil O'Brien (Old Gaytonians AC) - Southern champion, Northern title holder was Michael Chorlton (Stainforth AC), John Wild (Tipton Harriers) the Midland winner was a non-starter and Colin Moore (Bingley Harriers) held the inter-counties individual title. An outsider after second in the inter-counties was 25-year-old Eamonn Martin (Basildon AAC).
Aldershot, Farnham and District led by Bernie Ford were hoping to retain their team title, other contenders were Tipton Harriers, Birchfield Harriers, Invicta AC and Staffordshire Moorlands AC.
Early leaders after the mass stampede at the start were Mike Bishop (Staffordshire Moorlands AC), Richard Partridge (Birchfield Harriers), Kevin Forster (Gateshead Harriers), and Tony Milovsorov (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) with Steve Binns (Bingley Harriers) slightly adrift.
As the leaders pressed ahead around the second lap Forster, Martin and Hackney were at the front of the leading pack. During the circuit these three began to open up a gap with Forster pushing the pace.
As the last lap progressed Martin and Hackney moved away from Forster.
Goater started to close the gap on the third man and moved within 30m of the leading trio. Forster began to fade and his lead over Goater was being eaten away. Supporters had gathered in the stand near the finish straight, the anticipation was building as they waited for the winner to appear. Eamonn Martin showed first having broken Hackney's resistance with around 600m left and went on to win by eight seconds in 41:50. Hackney was second but only just as Goater was closing fast ousting Forster to the bronze.
Eamonn Martin said after the race "I felt really easy and I thought I could maintain a finish from there [600m to go]. People were shouting out 'you're 50 yards clear' and I couldn't believe how far behind Roger was. But I kept saying to myself, why worry - I'm the fastest kicker".