THEY CALL themselves the Tropic Thundercats and they are a five-man team running to kill poverty until it’s dead.
South-west residents and Beach Energy co-workers Ben Nicholls, Darrin Jones, Matthew Beames and Stephen Dickinson, with support from Dan Somerville, will participate in a 100-kilometre team trailwalker event from Melbourne’s Wheelers Hill to Warburton to raise money for Oxfam, a charity that carries out vital work around the world to help people living in poverty.
The story behind the name is a mix of an inside joke and a childhood memory.
“We have a bit of a thing between us when ever we do something,” Nicholls said.
“The Tropic part is kind of Ben Stiller related, as it’s an adaptation of his movie Tropic Thunder while the Thundercats part comes from the cartoon series of the same name from when we were kids.”
Nicholls was the main driver behind the formation of the team which calls itself “a group of wannabe sporting heroes”.
“I did it with guys from work in 2013 and we walked in in 36 hours and it was the first time I saw people run that far,” he said.
“Since then I've been keen to try and get three other people who would be silly enough to do it with me and I've got them now.”
Completing the gruelling trail is not the only goal for participating teams, with fundraising a huge part.
The Thundercats, which consist of Warrnambool, Timboon and Port Campbell residents, have raised $2930 so far for charity, with hopes of reaching well above $3000.
Their most successful fundraising event was a paintball match in February, which raised $750.
Nicholls said that the biggest challenge the team faced was not the event itself.
“It's not easy to raise money and get money out of people,” he said.
“You have to get a bit creative with what you do and we have been really lucky to get a few generous people supporting us so far.”
The other challenge is the training schedule.
“We aim to just run at least five times a week, which includes a longer run every weekend,” Nicholls said.
“The aim is to not rest your legs much and tire yourself out and as we get closer to the event we will begin to rest our bodies so that they will be ready for the challenges.”
The Thundercats are hoping to finish within 18 hours.
“We are nominating that we will do it in 18 but want to finish between 16 and 18 hours,” Nicholls said.
“But, if all four of us can finish under 18 hours then we will be happy.”
The team will depart Wheelers Hill on Friday, March 23.
If you wish to donate head over to its Oxfam page – https://trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/my/team/blogs/29417.