This is what’s happening with the Kenya Lions’ Run donations: Exclusive Interview with Thomas Kratky from run2gether
He has been working in a large IT company for 35 years, long-distance running regularly for 21 years and volunteering with body and soul for the non-profit running association run2gether. In every respect, Thomas Kratky literally demonstrates endurance! We talked to our Running Ambassador from Vienna about his passion for running and his commitment to Kenya. You’ll also find out how the money raised during the Kenya Lions’ Run will be spent!
VR: You’ve been gaining running experience for a few years now. How did you discover this passion?
Thomas Kratky: I have been running for almost exactly 21 years. I always enjoyed running, and every time the Vienna Marathon took place I said, ‘I’ll run the next one!’ I said that line for 18 years until, in May 2001, I actually made it to the start line and set off. When I crossed the finish line, I realised immediately that I wanted to do it again! You rarely experience the happiness you get from doing a marathon. In total, I have now run 15 marathons over the years.
VR: Do you have a favourite marathon?
Thomas Kratky: My first in my hometown of Vienna, which shaped me the most, and then New York. Third place would be Hamburg and Chicago. The atmosphere in New York is simply incredible. The fascinating thing is you’ve got non-stop spectators right from the start. Up to 2 million people line the route to push the runners on, and you really feel it. There are Dixie bands playing and gospel choirs singing – just an insane cultural mixture that carries you over the line.
VR: Are marathons still your motivation to run?
Thomas Kratky: If my goal hadn’t been the marathon back then, I probably wouldn’t have started running so intensely. Things are a bit different today – I don’t need a marathon to motivate me anymore. I did virtual runs with many of you this year, and I’ve now been running for over 500 days straight. When I started working remotely, I knew I had to get moving. Since day one, I’ve been running every day, averaging just over 10 km a day.
VR: How did you come across Virtual Runners?
Thomas Kratky: Through a run2gether member who signed up for the Ultra Challenge 2021 and posted about it on Facebook. 2,000 km per year – I didn’t think that sounded so bad. That was really motivating, and the medal was just incredible. For me personally, it was all very casual. I can run where and when I want, and get the most beautiful medals for it. I’m usually not so much fussed about medals, but yours are amazingly well-designed.
VR: You just mentioned run2gether. You’re heavily involved in Kenya through the club. How did that come about?
Thomas Kratky: That was also a coincidence. I actually always ran alone because I wanted to be independent to clear my head. But, by chance, I stumbled across an article in the newspaper about the run2gether summer camps – running with Kenyans. At first, I thought that I had no business there as a hobby runner, but I was really interested in running with top athletes from Kenya for a week. In the end, I convinced myself and signed up for a week’s running camp in Austria.
VR: What was that exactly?
Thomas Kratky: You spend a week in an Austrian running camp and are with Kenyan runners for the whole day. Everyone gets their own running coach and, by the end of the week, you’re a proper team. You train together, cook Kenyan food and eat together. Besides the running training, cultural exchange is a big focus. We also try to bring the Kenyan runners to as many competitions in Europe as possible so they can earn money for their families back home.
VR: Can you tell us what the money raised by the Kenya Lions’ Run will be used for?
[Editor's note: With your help we were able to raise over 1.300 € for the school project of run2gether. Thank you so much!]
Thomas Kratky: On top of the running camps in Austria and an athlete camp in Kenya, we run many social projects. Among other things, we offer sponsorships for children and co-operate with local schools, through which the whole community should benefit. The money is used for these school projects. We are a non-profit organisation that currently supports around 2500 children. It is important to us that we work closely with the local people so that the help is used where it is needed the most and adds real value to the community, whether it’s covering school fees or being able to implement projects that enable children to have one serving of fruit a week. Being a part of that and seeing the progress brings me incredible joy!
VR: Is it possible to see your projects in-person?
Thomas Kratky: Sure, that’s possible and our goal actually. We have a fully equipped, on-site camp for athletes, that can be used by guests as well. Anyone who wants to experience Africa in its full glory and, above all, authentically, is welcome to drop by. We are also always happy when sponsors visit the children and really see for themselves how the money is invested. We are an organisation to be experienced!
Thank you for the insight into your work and the behind-the-scenes look at run2gether, Thomas. We wish you lots more success and are happy to be part of your projects!
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