A B.C. teacher has lost 125 pounds doing walk-a-thons across the Lower Mainland, and posting the videos to social media to inspire his students.
Fraserview Learning Centre teacher, Myke Koe, weighed 410 pounds last March. He’s down to 285.
“It’s a whole person, I sometimes joke,” Koe said. “I’ll ask my students, like, ‘Well, how much do you weigh?’ And I’ll say, ‘Well, I’ve lost you in my body weight.’”
From his home base in Mission, he’s walked over 2,500 kilometres so far. He’s walked 57 kilometres to Mount Sumas and back, 55 kilometres to Golden Ears Provincial Park, 60 kilometres to White Rock and 66 kilometres to Vancouver – to name just a few.
He originally joined the social media site TikTok as a way to connect with his students, and show them how to engage with society in a meaningful way.
He said the students have kept him motivated and honest through their encouragement. Before he heads out, Koe asks them to vote on where he should go, and where he should go next.
“I just started walking every day. The first day I went out, I couldn’t make it around the track, I had to stop and catch my breath. I was so tired,” Koe said. “I started building up from there and, you know, setting small goals for myself to do like 5K, do 10K, to do a half marathon.”
Fraserview Learning Centre is an alternative middle and secondary school, with small classrooms and “tight nit” relationships, Koe said. His class of 18 students range from 12 to 19-years old and stay under his tutelage as they advance.
“You do get to know them a lot deeper than you would at just a regular school.”
He said a couple of his videos had gone viral prior to his expeditions, including one which was viewed 6 million times. His account now has over 82,000 followers.
His walks kicked off during a staff meeting amid COVID when a friend encouraged him to hit the pavement.
“I just felt like, this is a really good opportunity to start taking care of myself, I was pretty bad in shape,” he said, adding he’d let his health deteriorate over the years.
“Really, I would say it’s more of a mental battle than a physical one. I think, like physically, a lot of us are capable of doing a lot more than we expect of ourselves. But mentally, it’s challenging. It’s challenging to get past those barriers that we put in our head.
Walking for sometimes 11-hours straight has taught him some lessons over the last six month, like taking breaks and stretching.
“I won’t lie, I’ve some had pretty severe cramps at the end sometimes,” he said. “There’s always these resounding feelings of, ‘Oh, you should give up. You should quit. You’ve done enough.’”
But he won’t. Koe said he thinks the walk-a-thons have become a permanent part of his life. Some of his students’ parents even follow his account, a few of whom have been inspired to start weight-loss journeys of their own.
Koe has taken a break over the last month to help his mother recover from hip surgery, but prior to that, he was walking every weekend. And now, he’s back at it.
On July 7 he plans to walk to Mount Cheam, and when it cools down, all the way to Grouse Mountain.