TWO world records around the Royal estate at Balmoral on Saturday saw Paula Radcliffe accorded the title of queen of British road running, but her personal doubts leave a significant question mark over prospects of extending her realm to embrace a world title on the track.

The 25-year-old Bedford woman broke her own world road record for five miles, by seven seconds, and also set a world best for 8000m en route, to complete an action replay of the way she began 1998. From here on, however, she wants to re-write the script, for last year ended without either the European or Commonwealth titles on which she had set her heart.

Runner-up for the world cross-country crown last year, Radcliffe again had to be content with a minor medal last month in Belfast. Last spring she broke Liz McColgan's British and Commonwealth 10,000m track record before winning in a world best at Balmoral.

Earlier this month, in Bilbao, she reduced McColgan's former record again, to 30-40.70. Only six women have now run faster - five of them Chinese - but

Radcliffe doubts whether she can claim the world track title which McColgan won in 1991.

She was even left wondering if she had chosen the wrong event in Belfast after Saturday's run, when in perfect conditions she beat world cross-country short course champion Jackline Maranga by 64 seconds in the Compaq five miles.

Maranga, also Commonwealth 1500m champion, was dropped after barely half a mile. ''I heard her breathing hard at the first hill, and put the boot in,'' said Radcliffe.

Yet she does not know whether to contest the 5000 or 10,000m at the World track championships in Seville. At 5000m she must

contend with world record holder Gabriela Szabo, and Zhora Ouaziz.

''If I am at my best, and they are at their best, I am probably not going to beat them, and at 10,000m, you have to ask if I can beat Gete Wami. There is no soft event to go for, but it's down to luck on the day. I would never go into a championship saying I'm not going to win.''

The magnitude of her task at 10,000m assumed even greater proportions yesterday, however, when Tecla Loroupe, having won the BUPA Caledonian women's 10,000m around the Royal estate, announced that she, too, intends to contest the 10,000m in Spain.

Radcliffe collected a substantial but unspecified bonus for the record, and stands to bank a

further $10,000 if she breaks the world two-mile best (9-19.56) on May 24, when she faces Scotland in a match at Loughborough.

Loroupe, world marathon record holder, was competing just seven days after having run the quickest marathon of the year, in Rotterdam, but encouraging for Scotland was the performance of Hayley Haining, sixth in her comeback after a prolonged series of injuries.

The City of Glasgow woman was just behind Ethiopian defector Birhan Dagne, who ran for the UK in last month's world cross-country, and behind her was

Joalsiae Llado, the 1997 European cross-country champion.

Fiona Lothian, the former Scottish cross-country champion and world duathlon No 5, contested both Saturday's five-mile event and yesterday's 10,000m, finishing fifth, and then thirteenth: ''Good practice for the duathlon, when you always have to run tired.''

Yvonne Murray jogged round, clocking 37min 37sec, delighted to finish pain free. She had Achilles tendon surgery in December, and had already announced her retirement from international track athletics.

She intends to take life one race at a time, but hopes to run the Great Scottish Run half marathon in Glasgow later this year. ''And I don't rule out the marathon in Edinburgh. Running is such an important part of my life, I just cannot give it up.''

Paul Tergat, Kenya's five time world cross-country champion, outsprinted former Olympic 10,000m champion Khalid Skah to take the men's five-mile event on Saturday after a tactical race. Thomas Nyariki and Joseph Kimutai, third and fourth, returned yesterday to take first and second in the Caledonian 10,000m, again emphasising the gulf between Kenya and Europe.

Yet Scotland's Tommy Murray and Adrian Callan had outstanding runs, with their victims including Germany's Stephane Franke, the European 10,000m bronze medallist.

Some 2500 runners contested yesterday's 10,000m, watched by 5000 spectators. Details:

Yesterday. BUPA Caledonian 10,000m. Men: 1, T Nyariki 28-25; 2, J Kimutai (both Kenya) 28-43; 3, P Guerra (Portugal) 28-51; 6, P Whitehead (Skyrac) 29-47; 11, T Murray (Inverclyde) 30-09; 13, A Callan (Shettleston) 30-22; 19, C Robison (Inverclyde) 31-30; 21, K Varney (Metro Aberdeen, veteran) 31-50. Women: 1, T Loroupe (Kenya) 32-26; 2, I Mikitenko (Germany) 32-48; 3, C Butler (Canada) 33-01; 5, B Dagne (Essex Ladies) 33-32; 6, H Haining (City of Glasgow) 33-48; 12, T Thomson (Pitreavie) 35-39; 13, F Lothian (Fife) 36-26; 15, L Moody (CoG) 37-09.

Saturday. 5 miles. Women: 1, P Radcliffe (Bedford) 24-47 (world record); 2, J Maranga (Kenya) 25-1; 3, A Sandell (Finland) 26-16; 5, F Lothian (Fife) 26-48; 10, K Skorupska (Edinburgh Woollen Mill) 27-16. Men: 1, P Tergat (Kenya) 22-27; 2, K Skah (Morocco) 22-28; 3, T Nyariki (Kenya) 22-32; 5, R Denmark (Basildon) 22-53; 6, K Cullen (Chelmsord) 23-07; 7, G Stewart (Mizuno RC) 23-17. Men's 4000m: 1, R Silva (Portugal) 10-55; J Mayock (Stafford) 11-01; 3, M Pancorbo (Spain) 11-03.