Wellington, Fla. – May 10, 2016 – Fifteen years ago, Fritz Kundrun walked into his kitchen, turned to his wife Claudine and stated, “I am going to train for a marathon.”
Hysterical laughing ensued.
“She was literally rolling on the floor laughing at me,” Fritz smiled. “I had never run in my life, but I was ready for a new challenge at 65 years old. I went out and I could not run half of a mile [chuckles] but I didn’t give up.
” He continued, “I remember the first four miles that I ran, I was thrilled, but the notion that a marathon was 26.2 miles was unbearable. I kept on going, and then I went on the Internet and researched my next steps. I trained for six months, and [ran] the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. I have now run in 10 marathons in total.”
The Kundruns are prominent supporters of dressage and the owners of the Hanoverian stallion Rosevelt, who is on the short list for the U.S. Olympic team with rider Allison Brock. They were also the owners of Sue Blinks’ mount Flim Flam, who was on the United States’ bronze medal team at the 2000 Olympics.
Their passion for horses has led them to support the Brooke. As the world’s largest international equine welfare charity, the Brooke has been alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys, and mules who work in some of the poorest communities on earth. While a marathon at age 80 is nothing to take lightly, Kundrun saw the London Marathon as an opportunity to spread awareness of the Brooke and the important work they do.
Clad in a bright orange shirt with the Brooke logo, Kundrun took off with the best of them on April 24, running one of the most arduous marathons of his life.
“Many years ago, there was a moment in business when something eluded me, I could not get to it,” he said. “I confided in this very good friend of mine, and as I was sitting across from him at his desk, he gave me a figurine of a heron who is trying to swallow a frog, but the frog has his hands around the neck and is squeezing. The plaque underneath says, ‘Never give up.’ It became my mantra, and I still have that figurine as a reminder.”
Kundrun laughed, “I wanted to do London for a long time, and now I am 80 years old, and once in a while I say, ‘Why the hell are you doing this?’ But it is like the guy who first went up Mount Everest, he was asked why he did it, and he said, ‘Because it’s there.’ If you want something, you have to work for it.”
Prior to the London Marathon, Kundrun was training diligently, until a month and a half out when his sciatica acted up, and he limped home from his four-mile run feeling frustrated and discouraged. Instead of taking no for an answer, he began aqua training in the pool every day, sometimes up to three hours a day, and weightlifting. He did not run until the day of the marathon.
“I was in pretty good shape, but not good enough shape to run the marathon. It was pure guts, and mind over matter,” Kundrun explained. “I’ve never run a longer marathon than this!” The Brooke representatives and fellow runners kept each other strong during the long trek, swapping stories and rooting one another on until they reached the finish line.
“We are so blessed to have such strong support from our donors and friends of Brooke USA,” Executive Director of Brooke USA, Emily Marquez-Dulin, said. “Mr. Kundrun is an inspiration for all of us, and we are proud to have someone who has so much passion for the animals. The Kundruns have been long-time supporters of the Brooke for nearly a decade. Thank you so much to both of them for always going the extra mile.”