ATHLETICS: THE future of English athletics is being shaped by two men with Northwich connections.
One happens to be the father of the country's most famous runner and the other is the man who steered her into athletics in the first place.
Peter Radcliffe, dad of Paula, will chair England Athletics 2005, an interim organisation which will establish the new governing body which will take over in 2006.
Northwich businessman George Bunner, meanwhile, will continue to run the England AAA, the three As.
Radcliffe and his wife Pat, who taught at primary schools at Runcorn and Kingsley, lived with their young family at Barnton before moving to Kingsley and then heading south about 20 years ago.
By then Paul had been bitten by the athletics bug after attending Frodsham Harriers sessions run by the club's founder, George Bunner.
He went on to launch two successful companies at Dock Road, Northwich, one being Sportshall Athletics - not just a business but a sport in itself which has spread worldwide and been adopted by the IAAF.
Schools in different continents have even competed against each over the internet.
And it is Bunner's receptiveness to new ideas that will help athletics make the transition.
He said: 'This is not the break up of the sport, but its modernisation.
'After being around and virtually untouched for 120 years it does need bringing up to date.
'I think we have a damn good team.
'Peter has got the sport at heart. He is intelligent, held top positions in industry and is chairman of Paula's club, Bedford County.
'I admire Peter and Pat. Whenever I have been asked about Paula I have said her best assets were her parents.'
Bunner was elected to the three As hotseat earlier this year.
Sport England, which distributes Lottery funding, demanded the sport make radical changes to its structure, which is what Radcliffe will oversee.
Bunner added: 'My job is to keep the three As stable during the transition.
'Athletics administration is antiquated with a lot of duplication of jobs and effort. There is a lack of accountability which is just not acceptable, but the changes can't be done in a few seconds.
'Rather than three territories as at present, English athletes will be split into nine regions to bring the sport closer to the clubs and athletes and be run by volunteers. They will elect representatives to sit at national level. At the moment I am the only officer accountable to clubs.
'We are going to streamline and rationalise athletics and make it more efficient, as if it were an ageing business.'
Sportshall Athletics grew out of Eveque, which makes indoor sports equipment. Bunner is now working on new ideas for indoor sport, which will support both companies.