The reasons for this sudden acceleration, according to coaches and athletes who spoke to the Monitor in Itan during a recent week, are two-fold, and they are linked: youth and money.
Where Gebreselassie, now 38, and his old marathon record sparring partner, Kenyan Paul Tergat, 42, hit their career peak in their mid-30s, the new clutch of Kenyan stars all shattered records before their 30th birthdays.
And what has propelled these much younger men is the sudden shift in commercial sponsorship from track and field events to the long distance races.
Kenyans with even basic athletic talent have always seen running as a way out of poverty. Winning even a middle-tier race abroad can return prize money exceeding 10 or even 20 years of average earnings here.