A burly Queenstowner’s walking the length of New Zealand to raise awareness about depression.
Karlyn Connolly sets off on his ‘Walk 4 Life’ at Cape Reinga, in the Far North, on November 18, and hopes to reach Bluff, via the 3000km-long Te Araroa Trail, on May 31.
To prepare, the 47-year-old’s come down from more than 150kg to about 125kg.
“I figured I’d lose the weight I’m going to carry,” he says.
“I have not done much walking and I have done even less tramping and hiking, almost none in fact, but I won’t let that stop me,” he says in a pamphlet.
“I know it will not be easy, but life is not meant to be easy.”
He tells Mountain Scene: “I’m not thinking of it as a very long walk, I’m thinking of it as a very big adventure, and I like adventures.”
He cycled around the NZ coast in 2010 and 2013 on a handmade mountain bike, after being inspired by a woman who celebrated her 60th by running 60km.
On those rides he encouraged awareness of children’s charities and suggested people help organisations that had helped them.
Connolly’s raising awareness of depression this time as it’s always been part of his life, he says.
“I want to help remove the stigma of depression by getting people to talk to each other about issues that face them each and every day.”
During his walk he’ll also encourage people to donate to children’s cancer charity CanTeen.
“Walk 4 Life is me simply taking another step towards my goal of making tomorrow better.”
His motto is, “by doing something good, something good will happen”.
An AJ Hackett Bungy bus driver, he thanks staff for helping him believe what he’s about to do is possible.
He’s grateful, too, to Queenstown’s Outside Sports co-owner Judy Knight who’s rallied suppliers to equip him.
Local Coast to Coast legend Steve Gurney’s also given him GurneyGoo to prevent blisters and chafing.
Knight: “It’s an epic mission for a big guy who hasn’t got any athletic background, but he’s got fantastic mental focus and I’m sure he’ll be able to, with small steps, achieve his goal.”
He’ll provide updates on his website, customvision.co.nz, and via social media feeds.