A group of professional triathletes aims to change the face of men’s health.
Dec. 1 signals the end of Movember, a month-long event encouraging men to sport facial hair as a way to spur conversation about men’s health issues. Founded in 2003 by 30 Australian “Mo Bros,” the annual event has become an international phenomenon with almost 1 million participants registered on the Movember fundraising site in 2013.
Included on that extensive list are the members of team “Biscuits & Gravy,” a group of triathletes passionate about men’s health issues. Captained by Chris Corbin (husband of Ironman champion Linsey Corbin), the team has worked since 2009 to raise thousands of dollars for the Movember organization. In 2013, they have taken their passions (and ‘staches) one step further by creating a “Men of Triathlon” calendar, a parody of glamour model photographs. All proceeds from the calendar benefit the Movember organization, which funds research, education and support for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
For more information about Movember, or to donate to Team Biscuits & Gravy, visit their team page.
On the founding of Biscuits & Gravy:
I’m a four-year Mo Bro and have Captained a team for the last three years. I own Movember shoes, books, razors, coffee mugs, pocket knifes and watch the MoCars for fun. I’m a fan.
His personal inspiration for Movember:
I hate cancer. It impacts us. For example, can you name someone with cancer? This time last year my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and thankfully he’s now cancer free. Regardless of the money raised, if the awareness created from a pitiful mustache–I have one–will lead to early diagnosis and cure, count me in.
Advice for fellow Mo Bros:
Have fun with it and push yourself. Cancer is a nasty disease, so I don’t hold any punches. With the help of Matt Lieto and Jesse Thomas, I’m pretty proud of this year’s team. We’re launching our “Men of Triathlon” Calendar this week at Menoftriathlon.com and will donate all proceeds to the team. We’re also already kicking around ideas for 2014. Finally, Movember is about the masses. Every $1, moustache, and conversation about cancer helps, so join the fun.
His Movember beginnings:
I first heard of Movember four years ago, when the man himself, Chris Corbin, was growing his “stache” to raise cancer awareness. If he was going to walk around with that embarrassment over his lip, I was going to pay attention.
Chris had cancer hit close to home, and that was his motivation. I later realized that it’s more of a question of “when” and not “if” it’s going to hit close to all of us. That, and I enjoy looking like a creep as much as possible, so why not?
Will he shave on Dec. 1?
I always have mixed feelings about the 1st. It’s sad to see it go, but happy to get the winter beard started ASAP. My family generally puts up with it, and my girlfriend actually says she likes it. I am thinking about having a standoff with her to see who cracks first.
Add to your to-do list:
Go get a check up. Yeah, it’s less than comfortable…but like sitting on a TT bike for five hours is comfortable? Do yourself and your family a favor and get your health in line. That, and please help the fight by donating to Biscuits and Gravy, and buy like 10 calendars to give to family and friends for the holidays. Don’t let all this making fools of ourselves go to waste!
What his ‘stache says:
I would say the message is for men to be aware of their health, and to not be scared to go and have checkups. Men typically neglect their health. Having a sweet ‘stache is a positive, but to be honest, it’s all to bring awareness to men’s health. My fiancé is a three-time cancer survivor, and I will get behind anything that brings awareness.
What his family says:
I have grown fond of the mustache this year! My family does not carry the same sentiment for it.
I think what I enjoy most about Movember is how something can be both meaningful and serious, yet totally relaxed and fun. I do it primarily to help raise awareness for men’s health, but equally love feeling like I am part of a community dedicated to having fun and looking ridiculous. Does is get any better? Raise money for a good cause and enjoy it!
An inspired effort:
I don’t think most people are very impressed with my lip scarf, but I do think they find it entertaining. I am not blessed with an ability to grow incredible facial hair, but I am making the most of what lies between my nose and mouth. I am enjoying it for the moment, but won’t be sad to shave when the time comes.
Slow to grow:
To tell you the truth, for the first few years I was aware of Movember, I really wanted to participate but my facial hair wouldn’t cooperate. It was just plain wrong to even try grow a Mo. I think this year is the first year I have finally had something that resembles a mustache.
There isn’t much to love about my very lackluster Mo but I keep thinking about the greater cause. My dad is a fan because he rocked a ‘stache for 15 years through his 20’s & 30’s. My girlfriend Beth can’t stand it and has been pressuring me to shave it off but I am seeing it through.
Close to home:
Men’s health issues became important to me several years ago when my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. That was a scary time for him and our family, and thankfully he caught it very early and he is fine. Although Movember is generally seen as a bit of fun, it really is addressing a serious subject in men’s health issues.
An offer he couldn’t refuse:
I heard about Movember a few years ago through Greg Cox, the Australian Institute of Sport Dietitian who was doing it for his dad who had prostate cancer at the time. Then in Kona this year, Chris Corbin approached me to join his team Biscuits and Gravy because he thought I might be able to grow a mo! I hope to bring more awareness to prostate and testicular cancer and men’s health issues.
The ‘stache that inspires:
I was living in Australia a few years ago. While driving home from swimming one morning, I noticed around five guys crossing the street with these dirty ‘staches. Later that day at the coffee shop, I asked the training boys what was going on. Was it the new fashion? And that was where I heard about Movember and was on to it the next year with the Mo.
It never ends:
I have to say I have fun with it. I am a bit lazy on the shaving at times during the year, and especially in the off-season. Last year, I thought about doing Mo-year and going for 13 months. Movember to Movember! But my wife talked me out of it and said I would have to pass it though all the sponsors as well. Maybe one year. We’ll see.
Dad knows best:
Being a new dad, I think about my long-term health much more than I did a year ago. Having Movember makes it easier to talk about, and ultimately do, the preventative things that make a huge difference.
Why so serious?
Specifically with the calendar, it was a blast to thinking of something we could do to take advantage of the month, make fun of ourselves a little bit, and bring a good laugh to the triathlon community. We triathletes have the (probably deserved) stereotype of taking ourselves too seriously. I’ve been a little amazed how quickly the other guys committed to doing it. It’s awesome. It shows that that stereotype just isn’t true across the board. There are a lot of personalities in this sport, from pros to amateurs to media and industry, and it’s fun to put that on display a bit. Most importantly, all the money is going to Movember, but you get the added benefit of some very un-sexy but hilarious pictures of professional triathletes.
The next level:
Movember was and still is to support a cause or raise awareness as well as get a sweet ‘stache’. In 2013 I think that we at least took the fun aspect of it to another level with a crew of ridiculously—ridiculously!—good-looking male triathletes.
Just a phase:
I don’t mind it, but my wife Amy, not so much. As for the family, I’m pretty sure they are like, “OK, what type of phase is Brandon going through now?” Mom did say that it might add some variety to our family picture this year.
Movember has been an Australian fetish for years. I’m guessing it started in a pub somewhere. Everyone needs to acknowledge that Australia and Australians are at the forefront of anything useful, particularly if they originate in a pub.
Doing his part:
On a more serious note, one of my most supportive long-term sponsors and most influential friends was diagnosed with prostate cancer about eight years ago. He and his family have had to live with the stresses, consequences and uncertainty for many years. If I can help anyone else avoid this stress, then count me in.
Donations for discomfort:
I feel like a fool every time I’m in public, but isn’t that the point? I need more donations to make it worth the embarrassment! Secondly, support me because now that I’m retired, I need to win something. Finally—and this is serious!—It is great to be involved in something that has positive consequences for so many people.
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