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First Lady launches ‘Lornah’ sportswear brand

A year after opening Kenya’s first tartan running track outside Nairobi, Iten-based multiple world distance running champion and record holder Lornah Kiplagat has broken new ground with the launch of an African women’s sportswear line.

The ‘Lornah’ brand was unveiled at a colourful ceremony at Nairobi’s Galleria Mall with First Lady Margaret Kenyatta as the chief guest along with a galaxy of Kenyan World and Olympic champions.

Mrs Kenyatta has already signed up with the ‘Lornah’ brand and has been using the new African apparel in her training for the Beyond Zero charity’s flagship event, the First Lady’s Half Marathon, whose second edition will be held next Sunday in Nairobi.

“Last year, during my training stint at the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten ahead of the London Marathon, Lornah told me that she was designing a new sports line, and indeed showed me a sample of the apparel that I immediately fell in love with,” Mrs Kenyatta, who just returned from a week of high altitude training at Lornah’s Iten camp, said.

“As a mother, and as a supporter of the Beyond Zero campaign that stands for healthy living and better lifestyles for our mothers and children, I was overjoyed that, finally, we have a brand that resonates well with our daily lives and indeed with our campaign for a better future for Kenya’s women,” Mrs Kenyatta said.

“It is important that we create a community of people with healthy lifestyles, a population that is interested in fitness, health, nutrition and wellness.

“I’m happy to learn that besides producing sportswear, the ‘Lornah’ brand will also organize runs, have coaches, personal trainers and other consultants to support the development of the brand and of athletics. This makes the ‘Lornah’ brand stand out from other brands and this is a step in the right direction,” the First Lady added before flagging of a two-kilometre fun run around the Galleria Shopping Mall to celebrate the apparel’s launch.

FASHIONABLE APPAREL

The new ‘Lornah’ line is currently available at a special, pop-up launch shop at the Galleria Shopping Mall where a permanent shop will also be opened in the next few days with further shops expected to be opened in Nairobi and other major Kenyan towns.

“In my 20 years as an elite athlete, I was looking for an apparel that would be fashionable and happy, but unfortunately I did not find any, and that’s why I decided to make the bold move and launch one myself,” said Kiplagat.

Kiplagat’s stellar career is highlighted by three IAAF World Half Marathon gold medals and victories in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Osaka and Los Angeles marathons.

The athlete who took up citizenship of The Netherlands after wedding marketing executive Dutchman Pieter Langerhorst in 2003, also won the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships women’s long-course gold medal in Mombasa and is the founder of the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Mrs Kenyatta was particularly impressed by the fact that besides selling apparel, the new ‘Lornah’ line will also carry out education on healthy living, conduct fitness programmes along with personalized coaching for its customers.

The ‘Lornah’ line is available in two main categories with prices for the ‘elite’ line for high performance athletes selling for between Sh4,900 and Sh9,000 for a set of tops and bottoms with the prices for the ‘performance’ line, basically for general fitness training and leisure, ranging between Sh4,500 and Sh10,900.

Its entry into the lucrative sportswear market will see it compete with established, global market leading brands such as Puma, Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Asics and Mizuno, among others.

Gospel songbird Emmy Kosgei performed her flagship song Taunet Nelel (a new beginning) appropriately setting the stage for the launch with Kiplagat announcing that the brand will be available for purchase online at www.lornahsports.com.

Kiplagat, born in 1974, is a three times IAAF World Half Marathon champion (2006, 2007, 2008) and IAAF World Cross Country Championships gold medalist (2007).