The ninety-eighth English National Cross-Country Championships took place at Campbell Park, Milton Keynes. The race was consisted of two full laps of Campbell Park and loops of the Newlands area for the start and finish. The course went over a bridge over the Grand Union Canal and was 9 miles in length. Milton Keynes Athletic Club assisted in putting on the race in their centenary year as they were founded in 1885 as Wolverton A.A.C. This was the third time for this area of the country as Wolverton staged these championships in 1926 and 1932. The Provincial Insurance Company Limited continued their sponsorship of the race.
The 1985 race was seemingly wide open, with David Lewis declining selection for the European Indoor Championships in order to make a bid for his first Senior 'National' title. The 1983 winner Tim Hutchings (Crawley AC) was a non-starter, the 1982 winner Dave Clarke (Hercules Wimbledon AC) only had four weeks training due to injury and Roger Hackney (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) had not been in consistent form. The area championships belonged to Chris Buckley (Westbury Harriers) - Midland, Steve Cram (Jarrow and Hebburn) - Northern and Nick Brawn (Invicta AC) - Southern. The inter-counties champion Mike McLeod (Elswick Harriers) was also not lining up for the race.
Teamwise, it looked to be a battle between Aldershot, Farnham & District AC (last year's winners), Tipton Harriers, Staffs Moorlands AC, Birchfield Harriers and Invicta AC.
Dave Lewis, Dave Clarke, Jon Richards (Cornwall AC), Chris Robison (Royal Navy AC) and John Woods were first to show as the completed the loops of Newlands and set off on the main part of the course over the bridge. The main course had some uphill sections and plenty of turns and as they progressed through the lap Clarke and Lewis were pushing the pace and had a 15m lead over Kevin Forster and Dave Murphy (Liverpool Harriers).
The conditions were very muddy and when the leaders started the second lap, Forster was struggling to stay in touch as Murphy was getting closer to Clarke and Lewis. Clarke had a slight edge over Lewis until the end of the Campbell Park circuits.
After going over the bridge there was half a mile to go, Lewis made a supreme effort and went past Clarke to open a 15m lead which he held all the way to the finish line to win by six seconds in 44:30.
Dave Murphy picked up a bronze medal, Kevin Forster was fourth for the second year running. Dave Lewis said after the race "This win means more than anything I have achieved in athletics - full stop. I wanted to win this one more than anything. I was getting really excited with a mile to go, I knew I was going to win. I was getting really emotional. I was going to leave it until the straight, but I thought if it's like the rest of the course, anything could happen."