(CNN)Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ It could be the spartan living environment, or perhaps growing up in the thin air nearly 3,000 meters above sea level Ã¢â‚¬â€ or maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the influence of a legendary local coach.
Whatever its secret, a remote mountain town in Ethiopia has produced a string of world-beating distance runners.
Three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba is the current cream of a crop that has helped put Bekoji on the map. Like many from her area, she was clearly born to run.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Running is for me my job, but also my source of entertainment,Ã¢â‚¬Â the 27-year-old told CNNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â Human to HeroÃ‚Â series.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because of running that I am well known around the world. For me, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the ultimate thing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Her elder sister Ejegayehu was an Olympic silver medalist in 2004, while younger sister Genzebe was the 2009 world junior cross country champion and a younger brother Dejene is a promising 800m runner.
Sporting excellence flows through the family genes: Dibaba is the cousin of double Olympic 10,000m champion Derartu Tulu, while she was also inspired by another cousin Ã¢â‚¬â€ Bekelu, who she often calls her sister, and was an international distance runner.
They all hail from Bekoji, a town of fewer than 20,000 people set high in the mountains of the Arsi province, but with a freakish record for track and field success.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bekoji has produced so many great athletes starting from Derartu. In Beijing, Kenenisa (Bekele) and I brought home two gold medals each,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dibaba said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bekoji has strong runners. Bekoji is great and can produce even greater athletes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It has echoes of JamaicaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Trelawny district, another rugged rural setting which has produced a string of sprint champions,Ã‚Â including six-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.
Before Dibaba, the great Kenenisa Bekele Ã¢â‚¬â€ a three-time Olympic champion and double world record-holder in the 5,000 and 10,000m Ã¢â‚¬â€ was the most famous product of the area. Both were coached by Sentayehu Eshetu in their important formative years.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sentayehu knew that my cousin Derartu Tulu ran, he knows that my sisters ran too. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why he encouraged me to start running and used to tell me that I would be a great runner, he knew I would be a fast runner,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dibaba said.