Alton Towers hosted the one hundred and twenty fourth English Cross-Country Championships. The planned course was 12 km and was three laps plus the start and finish straights. The event took place on parkland next to the park with a slightly adjusted route compared with the last visit to the theme park in 2008.
Defending champion Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) was struggling with a back injury giving his namesake Steve (Stockport Harriers) a great chance of winning. Other main contenders were Tom Lancashire (Bolton United Harriers) who was Northern champion, Neilson Hall (Bedford & County AC) the southern title holder and Midlands winner James Walsh (Leeds City AC).
In the team race Leeds City AC were favourites after their ninth consecutive Northern title with Southern champions Bedford & County AC hoping to clinch the title along with Midlands winners Notts. AC.
Heavy rain leading up to the championships meant the course was a mud bath, so much so that due to the St. John Ambulance struggling to cope with incidents in previous races and having difficulty reaching some parts of the course the men's race was cut to 10km as part of the course was removed. At the end of the first lap four runners comprised the lead group Steve Vernon, Michael Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC), Neilson Hall and Tom Lancashire.
On the second lap Vernon and Skinner edged away from Hall and Lancashire. During the third lap Vernon opened up a lead on Skinner and went on to win by 21 seconds in 35:11. Skinner picked up the silver medal and Lancashire the bronze.
Victory was sweet for Steve after three bronze medals and a silver two years earlier. The 30-year-old winner told Athletics Weekly: "My confidence was dented after getting beaten at the Northerns by Tom, but I think I went off too hard there, I felt weak in the mud at the Northerns so I'd probably not done enough mud. It was my type of course but it hurt, I put so much pressure on myself the last few weeks. I wanted this so bad. Nothing else has mattered. It's about time. I've been working really hard for a long, long time for this."