The one hundred and first annual English senior cross-country championship took place at Newark and Notts Showground in Newark, Nottinghamshire. The race had been run on the showground in 1984 and was sponsored by Provincial Insurance Company Ltd. The popularity of the race continued to increase with no fewer that 331 teams entered. The course was the usual nine miles consisting of three laps and the start and finish straights. 13 hot baths were laid on for the runners after the race in the Showground's stables with changing facilities in the cattle buildings. A large part of the course was ploughed field and the going was heavy.
Dave Clarke (Hercules Wimbledon AC) was hot favourite after last year's win and some good form on the road, area champions were Paul Roden (East Cheshire Harriers) - Northern, Chris Robison (Royal Navy AC) held the Southern and Midland champion was Kevin Fahey (Bristol AC), Paul Cuskin (Jarrow & Hebburn AC) was the inter-counties title holder.
Gateshead Harriers were struggling to defend their team title with several of their leading internationals unavailable leaving Birchfield Harriers and Tipton Harriers as favourites for the coveted Frank Wynne Cup.
Dave Clarke took the race by the 'scruff of the neck' right from the start leading after just half a mile. By the time another mile had been run he had a 10 metres lead on Dave Lewis who led Craig Mochrie by 30 metres.
At the end of the first lap Clarke was starting to pull clear, Lewis and Mochrie followed at a distance with Chris Robison, Mark Dalloway (Stourport AC), Paul Cuskin, Adrian Passey (Bromsgrove & Redditch AC), Tony Milovsorov (Tipton Harriers), Karl Harrison (Stretford AC) and Paul Taylor (Copeland AC) giving chase.
At the end of the second lap Clarke's lead was 150 metres over Lewis who in turn was 80 metres clear of Mochrie. Clarke went on to win in 44:14, 46 seconds ahead of Lewis.
Mochrie picked up a bronze medal for his gallant run.
Dave Clarke said after his hat-trick of wins "I've been very lucky this year. This is the first winter I can remember since about '81 where I haven't been out for a month or two and I've averaged over 100 miles for over 22 weeks."
A record total of 2136 runners completed the race and this caused challenges for the leading runners as they has to deal with a large number of lapped runners.