Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich became the first non-Kenyan since 2005 to win the men's marathon gold medal at the world championships.
The Ugandan broke away from Boston Marathon champ Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia on Saturday in the shaded park around Luhzniki Stadium. He celebrated with a little dance past the finish line.
Another Ethiopian, Tadese Tola, took bronze on a warm afternoon in the Russian capital.
Later Saturday, 100-meter champion Usain Bolt will be seeking to win a second gold medal in the 200 and match Jamaican teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Kiprotich beat two Kenyans at the London Olympics, but none were in the top three for the first time at the world championships since 2005.
Kenyans had won the last three world titles and were widely expected to move their nation up in the medal standings, where it is currently third behind the United States and host Russia.
It was Uganda's first men's world title in the 30-year history of the championships.
"I am so happy I won another gold medal for my country," Kiprotich said. "Now I am the Olympic and world champion."
With a dozen events left over the closing weekend, the United States leads the overall standings with 16 medals, including five gold. The host nation has 11 overall, also with five gold.
Kenya has nine overall, including three gold.
Olympic and defending world high jump champion Anna Chicherova will be looking to add to Russia's tally, especially since her toughest rival, Blanka Vlasic of Croatia, is out injured.
The United States is also expecting more gold with Brianna Rollins in the 100 hurdles. She will be up against Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia, who had been bothered by injury for most of the season but is peaking at the right time.
Pearson set the top qualifying time for the final at 12.50 seconds in her semifinal heat, .04 seconds faster than Rollins.
Even without Allyson Felix, who tore her right hamstring early in the 200 final Friday, the U.S. team is still favored to win the 4x400 relay.
The other finals Saturday are the men's javelin and the women's 5,000.