The one hundred and tenth English Cross-Country Championships took place at Staunton Country Park near Havant. Parking was 1.5 miles from the course and the competitors were transferred by a fleet of eight double decker buses. The race was two laps over a distance of nine miles in an effort to reduce the number of lapped runners hindering the leaders. The location was the southernmost point the event had been run in the history of the race.
Prior to the race Spencer Duval (Cannock & Stafford AC) was back in contention to win the title he held two years earlier, Spencer Newport (Blackheath Harriers) held the Southern title, Justin Pugsley (Birchfield Harriers) the Midlands and Paul Roden (Sale Harriers) was Northern champion.
A two-horse race in the team event was expected between Bingley Harriers and Tipton Harriers. Bingley's Colin Moore said "We should still have a solid team. We have loads of quality athletes able to run on varied terrain."
Conditions underfoot were muddy as the 1500+ runners were sent on their way. Steffan White (Coventry Godiva Harriers), Spencer Duval and Dave Taylor (Blackheath Harriers) were the first to show. Halfway around the first lap the leading group consisted of White, Duval, Steve Brooks (Bingley Harriers), Barry Royden (Medway AC) and Paul Green (Sale Harriers). At the end of the first lap White and Duval had opened up a gap on Royden and Brooks. A mile into the second lap White, a former junior champion, opened a lead and continued to extend the gap to Duvall. Brooks was further adrift and had a third place in his grasp. White went on to win by 21 seconds in 45:53. Silver went to Duvall and bronze to Brooks. Self-coached Steffan White said after he race: "I've trained hard this week, running 90 miles including 10x400m with one minute recoveries on Tuesday." I listen to advice from anyone who can give it and Dave Moorcroft has given me a lot of help."
Duval said: "I'm very disappointed, I came here to win. First is first, second is nowhere. It was a gamble to run because I'm short of races - it was only my third cross country in two years. Another couple of weeks may have made all the difference."