24 November 2022

It’s OK not to be OK

Movember Interview – The Barber’s Chair with Jason Davidson
Mental Health | In the Barber Chair
Four year Mo Bro, Jason Davidson, explains how he has embraced an incredible Mo Challenge to demonstrate his vulnerable side and show men that it’s OK not to be OK.

Conceived over a beer in a bar one evening, Jason Davidson, ex professional cricketer, decided to up his Mo game, by taking on the mighty David Goggins Challenge.  Jason explains exactly what the challenge entails, and why committing to such an incredible feat for Movember has been important for him.

You’re a long time Mo Bro, what made you get involved and how did you first hear about Movember?
I have known about Movember for some time now, I actually heard about it first when I was 16 watching a test match between Australia and England and all the Aussies had moustaches and the commentator mentioned something about the Movember Foundation and what it stands for. That year I started my first Mo fundraising page, so I have been a Mo Bro for quite some time already. 
Why is Movember important to you?
My dad is a survivor of prostate cancer. The way that he handled it from diagnosis to recovering from his surgery was truly inspiring. His successful recovery and first steps into remission were possible because of early detection. He started getting himself checked every year from when he was 40 years old and the doctors were able to detect his cancer early. I realised the importance of making sure that men get themselves checked early and regularly.
I have also had my own battles with mental health, especially overcoming injury during my sports career. If it weren’t for the people around me who created an environment to be supported and heard, the outcome could have looked severely different. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many men and people in general. They feel the only way out is suicide, so I also do this to be vulnerable and show men it’s okay to talk and it’s okay not be okay sometimes. I do this to keep men alive.
Tell us about your epic Movember challenge and how it all came about.
This year I decided to take on the David Goggins challenge. The challenge requires athletes to run 4 miles (6.5km) every 4 hours for 48 hours. I started the challenge at 6pm on Friday 11 November 2022. I would then start my next 4 miles at 10pm, then 2am and then again at 6am, repeating this for 48 hours until Sunday 2pm when my last 4 miles started. In total I covered 48miles or 78 kms. This challenge came about because last year I rowed a marathon and I wanted to up the stakes this year. I knew I wanted to do a running challenge this year so it was conceived in a bar one night having beers with my friends. I did not think I was actually going to go through with it. The closer it came to November, the more I committed to do this challenge because I had a few people ask me what I was going to do this year for Movember. 
Who came to support you and where did the challenge take place?
The night time runs I did along the harbour in Hong Kong and the day time runs were around the Kowloon Cricket Club field. The first shout out has to go to my fiancé, Roxi Drew, who prepared all my meals for me to make sure that I was fuelled throughout the challenge. She also did the Sunday morning 2am run with me, which was by far the loneliest and toughest of the 4 mile runs. This would not have been possible without her. Nigel Shroff (Captain of Cricket) and Ashley Caddy (Director of Cricket) both Mo bros, facilitated and supported me by allowing me to run around the Kowloon Cricket Club for the day time runs at the Corporate 6's event they were hosting. Nigel also made sure that I was well kitted out with Movember shirts and a cap. Some of the KCC members joined me for laps around the field which was always great. Lastly, I had some of my closest mates come down on Sunday afternoon to support me through my final run at 2pm - that was really special.
A special mention must be made to a student of mine, Isabella, who helped me design my Movember poster. Another special mention to Max Yeung who was the physio appointed to do first aid for the Corporate 6’s but ended up tending to my very broken, very sore legs for most of the day.
Do you find this challenge more physically or mentally difficult or both?
This is a tough question to answer. I have had 3 ACL reconstructions on my knees so running events are always physically challenging. However, I’ve been doing quite a lot of running in the lead up to this so I felt prepared. On the mental side, the night time runs and having to get out of bed every 4 hours to go run 4 miles was tough, especially at 2am. I probably got a total of 4-5 hours of sleep the entire weekend so regulating my emotions and mental state was very challenging. The lows were very low, especially when negative self-talk started to creep in towards the last few night runs. So mentally I think it was tougher because I also had no idea what to expect as I had not really done anything like it, in terms of lack of sleep and duration. 
You’re currently in the top five fundraisers in Hong Kong, and you’re pleasantly surprised by the traction this activity has received.  What’s been your biggest highlight?
It is incredibly difficult to choose one highlight. I also did not expect to generate this amount of funds or get so much traction for my campaign. It has been really overwhelming. I could not stop crying on the last two laps of my final run. 
My biggest highlights are the amount of people who thanked me for documenting my challenge on instagram because there were some tough moments that I guess people resonated with. Also, many conversations were had with people who joined in for a lap or asked me why I was doing what I was doing. Lastly, the awareness generated through all those conversations. Awareness is a really important aspect for me and I am glad that I was able to generate a lot of that through social media and the challenge itself. 
Running through a tunnel of people at the end of the challenge with my fiancé waiting with a beer was pretty special too!