Metro Vancouver trainer connects to college students by means of TikTok
Mr. Koe is on his way (and he has lost 120 pounds in the process)
How do you go from Hatzic to PNE?
With joining TikTok in April 2020. At least that started for Mykael Koe.
Koe is a mission teacher at the Fraserview Learning Center. It’s an alternative high school where he teaches 15-18 year olds. When TikTok took off and Koe looked for a way to connect, he turned to the short video social media app to show his students the “other side of being a teacher”.
In one of his early videos, he challenged himself with contributions from TikTok. He told them that he would run a certain number of laps.
“I was given 1,160 laps,” he says. “I started on April 4th and finished it on October 21st I think.”
First, Koe, who is 6’5 “tall and weighed 410 pounds at the time, started on the school track doing laps before work, during lunch breaks, and after work. The first time he barely made the whole lap, he says he was sore and exhausted, but he held on to it.
“I’ve always set myself the goal of always doing a little more,” he says.
At the same time, the school switched to a virtual classroom and the union encouraged movement, which helped.
“Being in your house and being at home all day makes your health worse,” he says. “TikTok was a way for me to get in touch with my students.”
While he continued to use TikTok to record funny videos, his students checked him in to make sure he moved on and blamed him for the promise he made. And just by walking, he was able to drop 72 pounds. on the last walk.
Then he decided to do it all over again.
“Next time I did 6,640 laps,” he says. “I’ve been working on this one.”
For the context 6,640 laps 2,656 km. To change things, Koe took longer and longer walks.
“I got tired of walking around the track and started exploring some of the surrounding communities,” he says.
This gave rise to the dream of going on some really epic full day hikes.
“When I got to some of these, I said I could run to White Rock,” he says.
60KM and we’re done Fam! ## fyp, ## foryou, ## FidoBoostChallenge, ## teacher, ## fraservalley, ## bc, ## hike, ## walk, ## weight loss
♬ My tears become the sea – M83
In April he completed the 60 km hike and made a video of the trip. It has been viewed nearly 160,000 times to date (Koe has already gone viral, with one video being viewed more than 6 million times and others cracked a million times).
That gave him the confidence to make the long walk to Vancouver, and he only did it a few days ago when he was walking from his home to the PNE.
“(The PNE) is so significant that most of my students know,” he says when asked if he would like to stop on Boundary Road.
A year ago I weighed 410 pounds and could only run 400m … ## fyp, ## foryou, ## walk, ## wandere, ## vancouverbc, ## lehrer, ## smile
♬ My tears become the sea – M83
The 66.5 km hike took almost 11 hours. The entire trip lasted over 12 hours, with stops for stretching and lunch.
The day after, he did a five-mile hike (it helps his muscles stretch).
While it appears to be coming to Vancouver, it does seem like a natural ending, but he wants to go further with more epic walks planned. The first thing he wants to tackle is to continue to Vancouver, either to English Bay or Stanley Park. These would add another 10 km to his journey. A destination closer to home is the mountain. Cheam, which also includes mountaineering.
“One of my goals is to get to the top of Grouse Mountain from the mission,” he says. “It would be such a high point to make it to the top of Vancouver.”
While that may sound daunting, one of the big lessons Koe took from his long walks is mental resilience. As his body adjusts to his regular walks and the increasingly long journeys, his mind can be a bigger barrier and make him ready to stop.
“You’re going to some pretty big lows,” he says. “The longer you spend in your head in these sessions, the more you build your resilience.”
The fact that his videos and trips have become popular on TikTok has cut both ways. He inspired former college students and student families to walk and get healthier. On the way to Vancouver, Koe was stopped three times by people who recognized him and encouraged him to move forward. And it gives him recognition from his students.
“As a teacher, when you have a video showing students going viral, you think you are the world,” he says. “The downside of this is that you have to deal with the negativity that exists in our world.”
People leave mean or rude comments on his videos, just like people do with anything on the internet.
“You have to filter that,” says Koe. “You don’t know the whole picture.”
Public side aside, Koe feels healthier and has lost 120 pounds in the last year just from his regular walks (he offers regular food on TikTok), which in turn helps keep negativity at bay.
“It’s really good to get a positive message,” he says.