Paula Radcliffe spoke of her "relief" after striking marathon gold for Britain in Helsinki.
Radcliffe buried the memory of her marathon breakdown in last year's Athens Olympics by taking the world title in style.
It was Britain's first gold of the championships and a personal triumph for the Bedford athlete.
"It's just a relief," said 31-year-old Radcliffe, after winning, in a new championship-record time of two hours 20 minutes 57 seconds, ahead of Kenyan Catherine Ndereba and Romanian Constantina Tomescu-Dita.
"It was really important for me to win this title because I knew I could do it and I'm going to enjoy this win.
"I knew I was in great shape and it was a relief to get out there today and feel so good. The support I had throughout was great, which helped.
"I knew it was a tough course and the plan was to keep up a decent pace and put in some surges in the last 15k. I really just had to keep the pace going."
Radcliffe's victory was the perfect answer to the critics who questioned her decision to double up and compete in the 10,000 metres final earlier in the championship, when she finished ninth.
Great Britain claimed their third medal of the Championships when the women's 4x400 metres relay squad captured an unexpected bronze.
The quartet, which was made up of Lee McConnell, Donna Fraser, Nicola Sanders and Christine Ohuruogu, crossed the line in three minutes 24.99 seconds to edge out Poland.
The race was won by Russia, with Jamaica in second.