England's first ever joint National Cross-Country Championships took place at Wigmore Valley Park in Luton. Over 9,000 runners had entered across all categories and this was the one hundredth and eighth running of the senior men's race. This was the first time the park had hosted the National and to ensure enough car parking was available one of the runways at Luton Airport was used. The event was sponsored by Reebok and over 150 officials were required to marshall the day's event.
Last year's winner and current Northern champion Dave Lewis (Rossendale AC) had been suffering with injury before the race saying "I don't think I'll be running, I've had an Achilles injury for a few days. It's not too bad but I've had these type of injuries before and ease back into it." Other contenders were Spencer Duval (Cannock & Stafford AC) who had already won the inter-counties at Wigmore Valley in January and only six days previous to the National had won the televised British trial race for the World Cross-Country Championships. Duvall said "I'm looking forward to it. I like the course and tend to run well in the mud." Area Champions were David Payne (Tipton Harriers) Midland winner and Dominic Bannister (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) Southern champion. Andrew Pearson (Longwood Harriers) wasn't sure he would participate, saying: "I've been a bit up and down recently and feeling very tired, so I haven't done as much training. "I was alright up to the Northern, but I had a very poor run in Luxembourg."
Bingley Harriers (Northern Champions) and Blackheath Harriers (Southern Champions) were joint favourites for the team event.
The course was a mixture of good grassland, sticky mud, gradual inclines and a short steep hill of about 40 metres. It was also good day out for the spectators as it was warm and sunny and a commentary team keeping them informed of the leading positions on all parts of the course.
On the first lap a group of five broke away with Duval, Lewis, Bannister, Pearson and Glynn Tromans (Coventry Godiva Harriers).
On the second lap Lewis had to drop out when he felt his Achilles on a climb. Duval opened up a 30m lead on Bannister and Pearson and continued to stretch his lead until the end of the race. Duvall won by 53 seconds in 44:43 with Pearson taking the silver. As Bannister was unable to maintain his speed, he was overhauled by several runners including Chris Robison (Omega RC) who came in third.
25-year-old Spencer Duvall said after the race "It was important to win on my first go at the National, this is the one I've wanted to win. I was very pleased with how it went, although it was a hard course. "I've been really nervous all week, even though I knew I was in good shape. You know if you win the National you're going well."