'You put your shoes on and you keep going': Edmonton man walks 9,000 km for diabetes research
EDMONTON -- After spending 308 days walking across Canada, Jeff Laybolt spent his first free day back on the road.
"I had to go pick up a puppy," the 36-year old told CTV Morning Live Edmonton.
On Sunday, Laybolt and his new fianceé, Anne-Marie, drove 10 hours roundtrip to the Lethbridge area to adopt Elli, a heeler-collie mix.
"Are you sick of being on the road?" CTV Morning Live co-host Rob Williams asked. "Just about, I can't wait for a day to relax," Laybolt said.
Last March, the Edmontonian started The Great Walk About in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Ten months and more than 9,000 kilometres later, Laybolt's journey ended last Saturday in Victoria, B.C.
"It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done in my life," Laybolt said. "Intense, and long, and stressful, and hard, and all those things. I can't put them into words as to how I feel about it."
Laybolt walked in all kinds of weather and slept in a tent he carried on his back. Many days complete strangers offered him food and water.
"It was one of those things that I just had to keep pushing on. As much as it's unpleasant, and you don’t want to, you get up and you keep on moving," said Laybolt.
He's raised more than $12,000 for diabetes research. Four generations of his family have dealt with the disease, including his mother.
The trip also turned out to be a good weight loss program; Laybolt dropped close to 60 pounds.
"If you want to lose weight, throw a backpack on and walk across the country," he said.
Laybolt wore out 17 pairs of shoes on the journey.
"They get tossed out as fast as I can pick up a new pair," he added.
After taking a few days to relax, Laybolt will start searching for a job. He worked in retail before starting the walk.
He also plans to write a book about his life and the cross Canada trek called Dig Deep. Laybolt hopes to release it later in 2020.
Fundraising for The Great Walk About will continue until March.