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How marathon runner SHARON LOKEDI used Under Armour's fastest running shoe to aid her winning ways.

One intriguing similarity shared by Sharon Lokedi of Kenya and her sponsor, Under Armour, is that they both entered the 2022 New York City Marathon as underdogs. Lokedi, an exceptional collegiate athlete in the NCAA at the University of Kansas, embarked on her marathon debut in NYC. However, despite her transition to a professional career in 2019, she had yet to achieve a remarkable performance to add to her credentials. Moreover, it's widely known that in every major marathon since Des Linden's victory at the Boston Marathon in 2018, the champions have consistently worn athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, or Asics.

Figure 1 Pic: Kevin Morris

In a remarkable turn of events, November 2022 marked a historic moment for both Sharon Lokedi and her sponsor, Under Armour. Lokedi accomplished an extraordinary feat by becoming just the second woman ever to triumph in the New York City Marathon during her marathon debut, closely following in the illustrious footsteps of her fellow Kenyan, Tegla Loroupe, who secured victory in 1994. What's more, Lokedi etched her name in the annals of athletic history as the very first athlete to seize an Abbott World Marathon Major title while donning a pair of Under Armour shoes. This ground-breaking achievement not only showcased Lokedi's exceptional talent but also solidified Under Armour's entry into the prestigious realm of marathon champions. She did it with a superb performance, clocking in a 2:23:23, seven seconds ahead of Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel (2:23:30) and 16 seconds ahead of reigning world champion Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia (2:23:39).

The shoes that adorned Lokedi's feet happened to be a cutting-edge prototype, fully endorsed by World Athletics, showcasing the latest advancements in footwear technology. These extraordinary running shoes belonged to the new line of FLOW Velociti Elite, meticulously engineered to propel athletes forward with unparalleled speed and efficiency, specifically tailored for 10K and half marathon races. With their unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation in athletic footwear, Under Armour has triumphantly launched an awe-inspiring product that promises to unleash the dormant elite athlete within all of us. Brace yourselves, as this ground-breaking creation will be available in South Africa starting from the 18th of May, 2023, inviting athletes and enthusiasts alike to embark on a transformative journey towards greatness. “IF YOU WANT TO RUN WELL YOU HAVE TO BE CONFIDENT WITH WHAT YOU'RE WEARING. WHEN YOU'RE TIRED AND YOUR LEGS ARE SHAKY, THE FLOW ELITE JUST GIVES YOU THE POWER YOU NEED TO GET THAT PB.”

Designed as a contender to rival the top competitors in the market, the FLOW Velociti Elite is for runners who need a balance of flexibility and cushioning in their racing shoes. Every stride with the FLOW Velociti Elite is amplified by a full-length carbon-fibre plate sandwiched in a soft midsole foam, which compresses and springs back for added lift and energy return, delivering an explosive lift-off. The FLOW Velociti Elite comes in at 212 grams and has an 8 mm offset. Elevating your running experience to new heights, the FLOW Velociti Elite proudly assumes the title of being their “fastest running shoe” yet, propelling you towards unparalleled performance. This remarkable running shoe is meticulously engineered to flow harmoniously with your every stride, providing an unrivalled responsive rate and an exceptionally cushioned ride. What sets this revolutionary footwear apart is not only its awe-inspiring design but also its commitment to sustainability, as it is crafted from premium recycled materials, but the fast that it is their first carbon plated running shoe. This cutting-edge masterpiece showcases a plethora of high-tech features, solidifying its position as one of the most remarkable creations ever brought to life by its creators. With the FLOW Velociti Elite, your running journey will be redefined, as you unleash your true potential with each confident step.

Originally from Eldoret, Kenya, Lokedi attended the University of Kansas where she saw steady improvement in her performance which would ultimately propel her future as a professional distance runner. After a successful career in Kansas, including a NCAA 10000m championship, Sharon joined Under Armour in 2019, and has been a pivotal team member in the launch and development of Dark Sky Distance run team and UA Mission Run. "IT’S AN HONOR TO BE UNDER ARMOUR’S FIRST PRO-RUN ATHLETE TO WIN A MAJOR MARATHON! I AM BEYOND GRATEFUL TO BE PART OF A BRAND THAT SUPPORTS AND BUILDS ATHLETES TO BE THE BEST THEY CAN. SINCE I SIGNED WITH UA IN 2019, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF PROGRESS WITH FOOTWEAR DEVELOPMENT AND THIS WIN WAS A CULMINATION OF ALL THE WORK WE HAVE BEEN PUTTING IN BOTH AS AN ATHLETE AND AS A BRAND.” - Sharon Lokedi, 2022 NYC Marathon Winner & UA Mission Run Dark Sky Distance Athlete Today, Lokedi trains in Flagstaff, AZ with Under Armour Mission Run Dark Sky Distance under the direction of coaches Stephen Haas and Pat Casey. According to Casey, Lokedi has brought a constant positive and welcoming vibe since she joined the team. One of the longest standing team members, she is humble, easy going and brings a good attitude to every workout. Since the team’s founding, these coaches, alongside Under Armour, have worked to build out the Under Armour Mission Run roster with strong athletes that train around Lokedi.

Under Armour athletes, including Lokedi and her teammates, have worked closely with the Under Armour in-line and innovation footwear teams to provide crucial testing and feedback on the FLOW Velociti Elite and all upcoming race-day solutions. The professional runners were an integral part in the wear-testing process from the beginning. Lokedi’s experience and performance in her hardest workouts over the past year informed and empowered many of the key aspects of the development of the FLOW Velociti Elite, and footwear in general. The resounding feedback was that the shoe was a significantly impactful tool in the athletes’ training and on race day; allowing them to put in more quality work, with less strain on the body. Being ‘elite’ is not just about talent, it's also about discipline, focus, putting in the long hours at training, and of course, the right running shoes! Available in both men and women sizes with a recommended retail price of R4 999.00, the FLOW Velociti Elite will be available in stores and online as of 18th May 2023


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