British Columbia

B.C. teacher walks 100 kilometres from Fraser Valley to downtown Vancouver

A teacher in Mission, B.C., who took up walking as a way to get fit during the pandemic recently walked more than 100 km from the Fraser Valley to downtown Vancouver.

Mykael Koe says he has lost 155 pounds in the past 3 years since he took up walking

A man in a t-shirt and shorts on a mountain top.
Teacher Mykael Koe recently walked from Mission to Vancouver, a journey of about 100 kilometres. In fall and winter he also hikes and runs. (Submitted by Mykael Koe)

A teacher in Mission, B.C., who took up walking as a way to get fit during the pandemic, recently walked more than 100 kilometres from the Fraser Valley to downtown Vancouver.

In an interview with On the Coast guest host Amy Bell, Mykael Koe, 38, said the walk took him about 17 hours. He left home at 6 p.m. Friday and arrived downtown around 11 a.m. on Saturday.

WATCH | B.C. teacher walks across Lower Mainland: 

B.C. teacher walks across Lower Mainland

3 months ago
Duration 1:54
Teacher Mikael Koe tells Amy Bell about walking from Mission, B.C. to downtown Vancouver — how it's changed his life, what his students think, and where he wants to walk to next.

"There's definitely times in the walk when you reach those lulls and hard points," Koe said, adding that a friend accompanied him to help get him through the last part of the journey. 

A pandemic habit

Koe says his walking habit began at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when one of his teacher colleagues encouraged everyone to get more exercise. He started walking laps around the school track. 

He soon got bored of that and started going on long walks around the Lower Mainland instead. 

"It's a beautiful experience to get out and explore the Fraser Valley and see it from another angle," he said. "It's really incredible how diverse the culture is here."

Koe says he has lost about 155 pounds over the last three years. When he started, he weighed more than 400 pounds. As he documents his journey on TikTok, he has encouraged others to stay fit as well. 

Koe, who teaches Grades 7 and 8 at Hatzic Middle School, says some of his students have started walking around the school track at lunch and others have taken up running. 

There are also people who have reached out to him on TikTok, curious about starting their own journeys to improve their health. 

Koe says he now walks at least 10 kilometres a day. In the fall and winter, he runs and hikes. The walk to downtown Vancouver was his longest to date. 

'Very admirable'

Jennifer Jakobi, a kinesiology professor at the University of British Columbia, commends Koe for changing his lifestyle. 

"For this particular individual to take a stance on his own personal health and undertake that by physical activity ... is very admirable," Jakobi said.

Jakobi says anyone thinking of exercising more should remember that physical activity can come in many shapes and sizes. 

"Physical activity throughout the day will add to your overall health benefit," she said.  

"You can take what is becoming known as 'exercise snack breaks' where you might go, walk up and down the stairs for five or 10 minutes."

Jakobi says research shows that regular exercise increases the length and quality of life. 

Koe says he was active when he was younger, but lapsed into a more sedentary lifestyle a few years ago. Exercising again has helped him feel more youthful, he said. 

Looking to the future, Koe plans to do a long walk once a week starting in the spring. He has his eyes set on walking to Mount Baker, or doing other multi-day hikes to Whistler or Manning Park. 

With files from On The Coast