A man smiles in front of an incredible valley of rolling hills and trees in the Appalachian Mountains
Mo Bro Craig Starkey Walks Over 4700 MilesImage by: Craig Starkey
A man smiles in front of an incredible valley of rolling hills and trees in the Appalachian Mountains
28 October 2022

Walk On: This Mo Bro Has Walked Over 4700 Miles for Men’s Health

3 minutes read time

We were in traffic at the church in my hometown, 100 yards or so from letting my mom out front. I was getting ready to drop her off so she could greet the hundreds of people that were coming to share their final respects to my father. Without hesitation I started beeping the horn to get everyone to move out of the way. Nobody knew what was going on, but quickly started scurrying. It was my dad’s classic move -- disruption, and distraction. I had the same grin on my face he would have had, and it was the first time I had seen my mom smile since he had passed away.

" Let me start by saying you may not know me personally, but my commitment to men’s mental health has, is, and will always be personal. I lived it. "

My commitment to myself and Movember stems from my father’s attempted suicide, which led to his passing from organ failure. He struggled with depression and alcoholism for much of my childhood. I was young and never really understood the why behind any of it. Instead, I replaced my father as the man of the house, used humor to offset my emotions, and left little time to think through or process the things I needed to. As I grew older, I often used my unprocessed emotions as excuses for my behavior, self-neglect, and the under appreciation of the time I had and how I spent it.

I remember it as if it were this morning - July 1st, 2021. I woke up and knew I needed to make a change. Depression in its many forms was staring back at me, much of what I am guessing my father also felt. I never knew the effects of depression, I never slowed down enough to experience it. My body was starting to fail me. My mind was not at ease. I had pushed my family away. I was glued behind my computer and cell phone foolishly waiting for the next work email, call, and text. That morning was different. I was different, as if I were struck by lightning. I had hope. It was all still organized chaos being processed in my mind, but it was still hope.

I left everything behind and started walking. I walked for about eight miles, almost at a snail’s pace, realizing I was really in terrible shape, and my feet were sore from wearing the wrong shoes. I laugh now, having achieved (and already overshot) my goal of walking 4501 miles ahead of shaving down for Movember 1st, 2022.

I started the year on this mission – this mission of 100 miles a week -- to help raise awareness for men’s health. Life had perfected teaching me how to operate at a high level but never taught me how slow down, regroup, or process overwhelming emotions. I was a highly motivated machine for all things, except for myself. This experience has taught me how to refocus my energy into myself. I’ve faced physical, emotional, and mental challenges during this journey, but through sharing my story, and the support of my family, friends, and co-workers, I walked on.

Everyone is human, everyone has their own struggles. I realize now that everyone is dealing with something, keeping hidden how they feel, or just busy with their own to-do lists. That’s why I chose the slogan #staystrongkings for my 2022 challenge. This is how we should treat each other – as kings – instead of with judgement. Over 4,700 miles later, more than a few pairs of shoes, and nearly $85,000 raised, I continue to share my story in the hopes that more people will open up about their own. Letting people know it feels good to feel human, it feels good to be vulnerable.

Support Craig’s efforts to raise funds and awareness for men’s health and sign up to Mo Your Own Way here.