Lebid celebrates marathon glory in Nagano
Ukraine's Serhiy Lebid showed on Sunday how adjusting to the marathon has taken him only six months to reach the top of the podium.
The King of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships is now a winner on the roads after a superb victory over 26.2 miles in Nagano.
Lebid, 38, achieved his first big marathon win with this success in Japan where he triumphed in 2:13:56 from Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, of Mongolia, who was second in 2:14:04, with Japan's Taiga Ito third in 2:15:20.
It was a good event for Europe as the women's race was won by Russia's Alina Prokopyeva in a personal best of 2:30:56 as she beat Japanese pair Rika Shintaku, second in 2:36:02, and Shoko Shimizu, third in 2:37:21.
After winning in Ferrara in 1998, Lebid established himself as the greatest runner in the history of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships by winning the title eight times more times.
He made the transition to the marathon in October when he was second on his debut in Lisbon in 2:11:24, and though slower this time, it is the "winning effect" which could play a big part in his build up if he now decides to run the event at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August.