16-year-old Samuel Wanjiru vs. 15-year-old Mekubo Mogusu on the First Stage of the 2002 National High School Boys Ekiden in their first year in Japan. One of the great races to ever grace Japanese TV, before the big ekidens got together and banned non-Japanese runners from running first. This race was one of the reasons everyone in Japan knew what was coming with Wanjiru years before he went off to Europe for the first time.
Wanjiru and Mogusu came to Japan one day apart and were great rivals for the next three years. Mogusu went on to become the best collegiate runner in Japanese history, running three sub-hour half marathons his junior year at Yamanashi Gakuin University and breaking course records everywhere. Wanjiru went straight to the corporate leagues and on to marathon legend. JRN interviewed Tsutomu Akiyama, who helped bring both of them to Japan, back in 2010.