Paula Radcliffe, who had been undefeated at the Balmoral road races, relinquished her crown to Ethiopian Gete Wami, who unleashed a devastating burst of speed at the end of their five

mile race.

On her previous two runs around the royal estate, Radcliffe had twice set world bests and having beaten Wami to take the world cross country long course title last month - her main target for the winter - she had hoped to finish the season with a victory.

As expected, she had to make the pace herself on the windy course with Wami stalking her all the way, and Fernando Ribeiro, the Portugese former Olympic champion, hanging on to them for the first three miles.

However, Radcliffe was unable to shake off the rival, who outsprinted her to take the world cross country short course title and the Ethiopian lengthened her stride in the final 200 metres to win comfortably by four seconds in 25-14, almost half a minute outside Radcliffe's world best.

Radcliffe was disappointed on the day, but delighted with her best ever winter when as well as the world cross title she won the world half marathon.

She revealed that in addition to having won a gruelling 10,000 metres race just seven days

earlier she had picked up a cold and her legs felt heavy.

Kelly Holmes won her battle to the line with Amanda Parkinson and revealed she was ''happy but knackered'' having run 3km, double her normal maximum competition distance.

''I am just delighted to be injury free and competing,'' said Holmes, who was using the race to discover if she has recovered from the effects of glandular fever and anaemia, which hit her during South African altitude training.

Holmes hopes that at the

world championships later this year in Edmonton, Canada, she will finally be able to compete against the world's best with a full winter's training behind her and no major injury problems.

Sheila Fairweather (City of Glasgow) was the first Scot home in fifth followed by clubmate Collette Fagan in seventh.

John Mayock finally tasted success at Balmoral at his fourth attempt and pointed to recent training with his friend and world 1500m record holder, Hicham El Guerrouj, for what he believes

is his best ever form at this time of year.

''I am very pleased to be here, because I thought with foot and mouth it might be off and I came here really wanting to win it.

''In January, I trained in Mor-occo and next week I will be going there to start another month of punishment.''

Double world cross country champion Mohammed Mourhit of Belgium won a thrilling sprint finish with Assefa Mezgebu, the Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist, to take the BUPA five mile title.

Both were given the same time of 22-40. The first British finisher was Karl Keska, in 22-58 with Simon Pride of Metro Aberdeen twentyninth in 24-45.

Belgrave Harrier Paul Evans, who became a veteran on Good Friday, had to abandon his plan to attempt two world veteran records - the 8km and the five miles - when he fell at the start of the race and had to pull out.

Patrice Dockery, of Ireland, won an exciting Tesco Italiano women's wheelchair 4km race, the first time a wheelchair event has been included on the programme.

The multi-Irish record holder completed the arduous course in 13-36, four seconds ahead of Italy's former Paralympic 100m champion Francesca Porcellato.

Pre-race favourite Tanni Grey-Thompson was third in 13-42, but she said: ''This was great for our sport. Just being invited to take part in a competition at this level was marvellous.''

The crowd were treated to the sight of Liz McColgan running again, but not competing. Scotland's greatest women's distance runner joined daughter Eilish in the 2km fund run. Eilish, who last month won the Angus primary schools cross country champion-ship, finished twenty-sixth

Tesco Italiano Men's 4km - 1, J Mayock (Barnsley AC) 11-02; 2, Mike Power (Australia) 11-02; 3, Michael Openshaw (Birchfield) 11-13.

BUPA Men's 5 mile - 1, Mohammed Mourhit (Belgium) 22-40; 2, Assefa Mezgebu (Ethiopia) 22-40; 3, John Kimtai (Kenya) 22-47.

Compaq Women's 5 mile - 1, Gete Wami (Ethiopia) 25-14; 2, Paula Radcliffe (Bedford and County) 25-18; 3, Fernanda Ribeiro (Portugal) 25-45.

Compaq Women's 3km - 1, Kelly Holmes (Ealing) 9-25; 2, Amada Parkinson (Sale) 9-26; 3, Jenny Brown (Bournemouth) 9-35; 5, Sheila Fairweather (Glasgow) 9-56; 7, Collette Fagan (Glasgow) 10-02;12, Eileen Cochrane (Glasgow) 10-32.

Tesco Italiano Women's Wheel- chair 4km - 1, Patrice Dockery (Ireland) 13-36; 2, Francesca Porcellato (Italy) 13-40; 3, Tanni Grey-Thompson (Britain) 13-42.

BUPA Great Caledonian Run: Men - 1, D Whitehead (Cosmic Hillbashers) 33-16; 2, D Knight (Perth) 33-29; 3, F

Barton (Keith) 33-32.

Women - 1, J Stevenson (Falkirk) 37-46, 2, C Miller (Scottish Veterans)

38-49; 3, R Buchan (Splash and Dash)