- Arata Fujiwara, the man who came from nowhere with a 2:08:40 at the 2008 Tokyo Marathon, crashed and burned at the 2009 World Championships, and dreams of doing things his own way.
- Takeyuki Nakayama, anger-fueled former 10000 m and marathon national record holder, twice 4th in the Olympic marathon, both a vocal opponent of the Japanese system and its greatest anti-hero.
- Kiyoko Shimahara, a veteran with top-5 finishes in Boston and Chicago who last fall came back from a three-year slump with three sub-2:30's in less than four months and now hopes for the Boston crown.
- Stephen Mayaka, the first Kenyan high school runner in Japan and now the head coach of a Japanese university team and mentor to Samuel Wanjiru, Martin Mathathi, Gideon Ngatuny and others.
- Eiji Kobayashi, a young high school coach who like thousands of others sacrificed his own high school and university years for the dream of Hakone Ekiden glory.
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