The one hundred and twenty ninth English National Cross-Country Championships took place at Donington Park in Derbyshire. This was the first time that the venue had been used for the 'National'. The race was 12km in length and consisted of thee laps plus the start and finish straights. Local farmers made their land available for the race and one of radish fields had a section turned over to allow the runners to pass through.
Last year's winner Charlie Hulson (Sale Harriers) struggled earlier in the season with injury but was showing good form to win the Northern title. Southern champion Jonny Hay (Aldershot, Farnham & District) was expected to feature as was Midland title holder Alex Brecker (City of Stoke AC).
Defending team champions Notts. AC were hoping to retain their crown and had won the Midlands championship. Southern title holders Highgate Harriers were also likely to feature along with Northern runners-up Leeds City AC.
The course was challenging with mud, hills and tight turns. The leader leaving the radish field was Kim Critchley (York Knavesmire Harriers). Hay then surged into a lead that measured 40 metres half way around the first lap.
Nick Swinburn and Jonathan Taylor (Morpeth Harriers), Hulson and Adam Hickey (Southend-on-Sea AC) were in pursuit. Over the second lap Hay increased his lead to 100 metres. Hickey battled bravely to reduce the deficit and gradually hauled in Hay with 1 kilometre to go.
Hickey was unable to pass the leader and Hay was able to dig deep and find enough to pull away to win by 7 seconds in 42:09. Hickey grabbed silver with bronze going to Nick Swinburn.
24-year-old Hay told Athletics Weekly that the course "zapped your legs" and that he could hear Hickey approaching "I could hear Adam closing in on me".