Ken Krys is not your average company owner whose recreational activities are golf, squash and maybe an occasional jog.
This head honcho does ultra-distance runs and treks in some of the most inhospitable parts of the world for “fun.”
Next, Krys tackles the six-day 155 mile Gobi March, starting this Sunday.
The Gobi Desert in Mongolia is the largest desert region in Asia and also the windiest non-polar desert in the world. It is extremely hot by day and freezing at night. Mongolian tribesmen are reputed to be amongst the world’s toughest and most resilient people.
Krys is the CEO and founder of Krys Global and more used to biscuits in the boardroom than cooking on an open camp fire in freezing temperatures, but he is able to somehow endure the hardship admirably – and raise money for charity in the process.
Cayman is not the ideal climate to replicate Gobi Desert conditions but at least he has been able to train in extremely hot day-time temperatures, carrying a rucksack.
“I’ve spent time running in the heat in the middle of the day with 15 pounds on my back,” he said. “And threw in some stairs at Piccadilly Car Park or did Stairmaster to build my strength.”
He was in a corporate 400 meters relay team at the Cayman Invitational three weeks ago, a significantly shorter distance than the Gobi March but it still contributed to raising fitness.
Although he has completed the gruesome Marathon des Sables, the world’s toughest race, and always does his own Off The Beaten Track here, Krys is not blase about finishing this one.
“I’m probably never confident,” he said. “I’ve trained hard and feel good. Given that I’ve finished all previous races thus far, I’m hopeful I see a similar result here.”
He never worries about times, just finishing is enough. He sees his biggest challenges as the rising course. “It’s uphill so as always for us living in Cayman, that’s a challenge. Also the temperature varies a lot, from 40 degrees Fahrenheit as a low to a high of 95 in any given day. Dealing with those extremes will be tricky.”
In taking on the Gobi March, a whole set of new experiences have to be tackled. “I’m told it’s not like the Marathon des Sables, so I’ll be learning as I go along.”
After doing the Marathon des Sables and all the others, there is still that inner voice that motivates Krys to do ultra-runs.
“There’s a lot of things that drive me. It’s in a unique place of the world and you meet some interesting people. Some, like I, will be doing the run for charity. It also gives me an opportunity to get perspective.
“I realize when running in these extremes just how lucky I am to live in a place like Cayman, have good health and the opportunities that I have to travel and do the things I want. Many don’t have those opportunities and many more don’t realize them.”
Feeding Africa is the beneficiary and when he is done, there is just enough time to recover and then start cranking up again for the next challenge.
“I’ve just registered to do another race in Madagascar at the end of August,” Krys said. “Same distance. So the goal for the Gobi March will be to finish and not get a major injury.”