The ninety-ninth English Cross-Country Championships took place at Town Moor in Newcastle, this was the first time Newcastle had hosted the race, Provincial Insurance continued their support of the event. The programme contained a good Geordie welcome from the president M. Fraser of Darlington Harriers:
Us Geordie Hinnies want ta say
"Howway aall ye lads, Gan tappy lapy up the banks, but divvent cowp ya creels in the darts"
Roughly translated means "The local inhabitants would like to welcome all you chaps, to hope that you will not find the gradients excessive, and bid you take care lest you fall on the muddy ground!"
The course consisted of three laps of approximately three miles plus the start and finish straights and was nine miles in total.
The reigning champion David Lewis (Rossendale AC) was a notable absentee, Tim Hutchings (Crawley AC) spent the week in Newcastle acclimatising and felt poised before the race saying "I'm reasonably confident about Saturday, I've been very pleased with my three runs on the Continent and I really should have won in Paris. I feel I'm back to my best now." This was an ominous warning for the other leading contenders. Area champions were Bob Treadwell (Surrey Beagles AC) Southern title holder, Nigel Gates (Bath & Percy AC) Midlands winner, the Northern champion Geoff Turnbull (Gateshead Harriers) was absent - Jon Richards (Cornwall AC) held the inter-counties title. Dave Clarke (Hercules Wimbledon AC) and Eamonn Martin (Basildon AAC) were also planning to run.
Tipton Harriers were hot favourites for the team title.
The course was challenging as it was covered with snow and ice undulating and there was also a cold wind blowing across the moor. After a mile when the initial stampede had begun to stretch out, the leading pack consisted of Mike McLeod (Elswick Harriers) Clarke, Hutchings, Tony Milovsorov (Tipton Harriers), Roger Hackney (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) and Neil Tennant (Luton United Harriers).
The two main hills on each lap had an impact of the leading runners Tim Hutchings was coping with them admirably and when the runners started the second circuit Hutchings had a forty metre advantage over Dave Clarke with Tennant, McLeod and Steve Binns (Bingley Harriers), Hackney, Eamonn Martin and Milovsorov in pursuit. Hutchings continued to dominate throughout the lap, and Clarke increased the gap on the chasing pack.
On the last lap Hutchings made the going look easy with a masterful execution of cross-country running, Clarke continued to chase and Martin overcame the challenge of McLeod, Binns and Tennant to move into third. Hutchings went on to win by 34 seconds in 47:25, silver went to Dave Clarke and bronze to Eamonn Martin, Mike McLeod won the battle for fourth place.
In the team race Tony Milovsorov led his club Tipton Harriers to victory with their 6 counters placing inside the top 79, this gave Tipton a 156-point win over Basildon AAC with the Wolverhampton & Bilston AC team picking up bronze medals.