The team at Thick as Thieves is synonymous with dance music events in Melbourne. Still, over the past decade, they added another page to their portfolio: organising charity drives for The Fred Hollows Foundation. Despite their efforts raising over $800,000 for the foundation, their current Quick As Thieves campaign might be their most ambitious drive to date. On Saturday, 5 December, a team of 140 music industry creatives will run a half or full marathon (42,2 km) spanning the coastal loop. (Six of those contestants will complete an ultra-marathon which is 63,3 km). Not only has everyone involved pledged to fundraise $1000, but for many, it will be their first time competing in an endurance race.
Since 2015, we’ve had a small team doing an annual charity drive by entering various fitness events like Coastrek,’ explains Mike Toner, the Thick as Thieves Director. ‘We’ve probably run, cycled and swam over 1,500km so far – all in the name of charity.’ This year, when Toner cast the net to assemble a team, he was blown away by the interest. One hundred and forty willing participants came forward, eager to take on the challenge of fundraise $1k each by completing a half or full marathon. ‘It was an incredible response, and a lot of the interest came from the music industry sector’. Marathon fit DJs? Prepare yourself for early morning DJs training for a marathon instead of leaving Revolver. ‘Ha, all the team members are very excited. We started a wholesome WhatsApp group where everyone is highly supportive of each other’s efforts.’
The interest has indeed come from very surprising quarters. Included in this year’s race is Benson, Melbourne’s festival conquering and the self-confessed bad boy who ‘your parents love to hate’, global club chart-topping producer Torren Foot, and Thick as Thieves family members Jacob Malmo and Mike Callander. Information about the campaign even reached Sydney, bolstering local creatives to join the cause. This lead to many early morning runs amongst industry insiders Ming Gan, Scott Robertson, Paul Stix, Graham Cordery and Ben Ashton.
However, due to COVID uncertainty, the Sydney chapter completed their marathon on 22 September. ‘None of us had ever done a full marathon before,’ recalls Fuzzy Director Ming Gan.’ When we first started training for this, I had rarely run more than 5km in the past, so the aim for me was a half marathon.’ In the end, the whole team’s determination paid off, with Cordery finishing a half marathon and the rest a full marathon. And for their efforts, they raised $15,000 for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
However, as Mike explains, the charity drive’s most famous supporter hails from Frankston. ‘I started jogging with a good friend Chris Coe who happens to be a studio engineer working with Carl Cox. When he told Carl about the project, the legend was immediately interested in helping out. So we asked Carl if he would be up for delivering the prizes on the day which he agreed to.’ Further fundraising motivation comes in the form of technology brand Pioneer. The DJ industry global leader will award the biggest fundraiser with a brand new V10 mixer valued at $6,000.
Current estimates have this year’s event set to raise over $250,000 of which 100% of proceeds will go to the Fred Hollows Foundation. Aside from raising money for such a great cause, Mike notes that a by-product of past runs has been the significant benefits to mental health and physical well being for participants. ‘Especially during COVID, this run has given many participants something to focus on.’
For more information about Thick as Thieves’ support of The Fred Hollows Foundation, click here.