Herrington Country Park in Sunderland hosted English National Cross-Country Championships. The park was built on the site of a former colliery and is located adjacent to Penshaw Monument. This was the one hundred and twentieth running of the race and the sponsors were Saucony. The course consisted of three laps and was 12km in length.
Inter-Counties winner Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers) was having an excellent cross-country season and started as favourite. Also iin contention were area champions - Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers) Southern champion, two-time Northern title winner Andi Jones (Salford Harriers) and Billy Farquharson (Notts. AC) holder the Midlands title. Last year's champion Peter Riley (Leigh Harriers) was a late withdrawal due to injury.
Leeds City AC convincing Northern champions and last year's winners were favourite to win the team event, Bedford & County AC holders of the Southern title were hoping to challenge as were Midlands holders Notts. AC.
The remoteness of the venue meant that entries were down and the number of finishers dropped below a thousand for the first time since 1974. The wind that proved troublesome in the early races was now getting even stronger approaching gale force just before the seniors started. The wind had dried up much of the ground are there wasn't much mud. Frank Tickner made light of the conditions as he established a lead halfway around the first lap.
Huw Lobb (Bedford & County AC) tried valiantly to stay with the leader however 23-year-old Tickner continued to move away and on the last lap moved through the lapped runners with ease. Tickner went on to win by 40 seconds from Lobb in 37:31. Gareth Raven (Sale Harriers) won the bronze medal and Dominic Bannister (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) was fourth.
Winner Frank Tickner told Athletics Weekly after the race "It was just one of those days when I felt really good. I thought if Dominic changed his tactics then he might have been a challenger here, but I broke away quite early and on a course like this it's difficult to catch a leader who gets away."