The National Trust property Stowe Park was the setting for the one hundred and thirteenth staging of the English National Cross-Country Championships. The race was sponsored by sports company View From for the third consecutive year. The course consisted of farmland and included some challenging hills. The start of the race was half a mile from the finish and the runners initially ran towards the tented village before returning and going out into the country for two circuits of approximately 6km.
Reigning individual champion Justin Pugsley (Birchfield Harriers) would have been hoping for another victory so he could break into song as per the previous year. Others with high hopes of challenging for the Chesham Cup were Inter-Counties champion Keith Cullen (Chelmsford AC), 1997 winner Dominic Bannister (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers), Midlands champion Rob Birchall (Birchfield Harriers), Northern title holder J Wild (Sale Harriers) and Southern winner Dave Taylor (Blackheath Harriers). Missing was 1996 winner Jon Nuttall (Preston Harriers) whose club for the second consecutive year failed to enter him!
In the team event Southern champions Blackheath Harriers were hoping to challenge Tipton Harriers recent dominance, with Northern title holders Sale Harriers also hoping to have a say.
The weather on the day was gloriously sunny and there wasn't much mud. First to show in the leading group after the starter had got them away was Tromans, Nick Jones and Neil Caddy both (Tipton Harriers), Grant Cuddy (Sale Harriers), the Hudspith brothers Mark and Ian (Morpeth Harriers) and Rob Birchall (Birchfield Harriers).
Halfway around the first lap Tromans was setting the pace, with Birchall tucked in and with Caddy, Mark and Ian Hudspith following. At the start of the second circuit Tromans' pace took him away from Birchall with the gap being 30 metres. Ian Hudspith was now alone in third heading into the country. Mark Hudspith and M Croasdale (Bingley Harriers) followed battling for the medals. Tromans continued to push on and Birchall began to struggle and on the steepest hill, Ian Hudspith caught and overtook Birchall. The first three positions did not change and Tromans secured victory in 40:19, 23 seconds clear of Ian Hudspith with Birchall a further 9 seconds back. Tromans said after the race "I virtually led all the way round, at the start of the second lap myself and Birchall were away and I wanted to lead to make it hard on myself, if anybody wanted to win, they had to follow."
Silver medallist Ian Hudspith said: "I saw him (Birchall) dropping from the back field and I was strong on the hills. That's my best cross-country by a long way, if it had been muddy I wouldn't have gone so well, but I'm strong enough to run on tough courses."
Tipton Harriers had 6 in 59 to win the team title from Morpeth Harriers (6 in 66) by 49 points. Bronze medals were picked up by Birchfield Harriers.