The one hundred and twenty seventh English Nationals Cross-Country Championships were staged at Wollaton Park, Nottingham. The venue had been used many times for the inter-counties, but this was the first time for the 'National'. The course was three laps plus the start and finish straights and was 12km in length and included some testing inclines and was mainly parkland with some thick tufts of grass. Saucony sponsored the event.
Defending double champion Keith Gerrard (Newham & Essex Beagles AC) was a non starter making seven time individual 'National' medalist Steve Vernon (Stockport Harriers) a firm favourite. Richard Goodman (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) the Southern title holder and the Northern champion Daniel Garbutt (Durham City Harriers) were also expected to make a challenge.
In the team race Leeds City AC and Morpeth Harriers were expected to lead the challenge from the North with Notts. AC the Midlands champions also fancied and from the south Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers (Southern champions) and Bedford & County AC (Southern runner-up).
The course on the day was mainly dry with just a small area that was under water. At the end of the first lap a large lead group included Vernon, Goodman and Andy Heyes (Hallamshire Harriers).
On the second lap, Heyes took up the running and opened up a gap and at 7.5km the lead was 20m over Vernon, Goodman, James Wilkinson (Leeds City AC), Nick Swinburn (Morpeth Harriers) and Jonathan Brownlee (Bingley Harriers).
On the third lap Vernon and Goodman overtook Heyes and with 1km to go Vernon broke away from Goodman. Vernon went on to win by 8 seconds from Goodman in 36:23. Brave running by Heyes brough him the bronze medal.
Steve Vernon told Athletics Weekly: "I came here today to win. Yes, I had the eight medals in the back of mind but I knew I was in shape to win and I came here to win it and today was a fantastic victory. It wasn't easy because on this type of course you couldn't get away from people because it was dry and fast other than three little bogs. I knew I was in shape for that and I just stuck to my game plan and kept pushing."