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A Family Affair

A chat with Holly Sherman, mother of four and owner of Back Beach Rd.

When a family of six decide that five of them want to enter a Tri event, insert a whole lot of coordination, fun and laughter.

Holly Sherman and her family moved to Byron Bay from Melbourne unexpectedly during the pandemic. What started out as a temporary ‘escape’ for 6 weeks during the Melbourne lockdown in June/ July 2020 turned into an adventure of a lifetime and one that has formed great memories and experiences.

Holly says “each of us got into the Byron lifestyle; regularly surfing, morning dips in the ocean and walks to the lighthouse” and admits that sport runs deep within their DNA.

Both Holly and her husband Richard competed in a few triathlons in their later twenties, with Holly loving to swim, ride and run growing up in a very sporty household (her dad Rob Fildes was a decathlete, ranked No.1 in Australia and No. 14 in the world in 1971).

Richard is also a keen sportsman playing cricket and competing in marathons in both Melbourne and New York.

Their first triathlon as a family was Byron Bay Tri in 2022 where all of them competed, besides their 5-year-old, although we hear he would have loved to! Hollys says “it was fabulous to participate again years later with our children, but I prefer to watch my children compete these days, and the biggest challenge is to see them all in each leg! There is a lot of running as a spectator and to catch sight of each of them and shout words of encouragement is not easy!”

The fact their child with additional needs is welcomed wholeheartedly is a particular motivation for the family choosing to participate in triathlons. “The three triathlon’s my daughter has competed in have all been a super positive experience for her and our family. The event staff have gone out of their way to make sure we are looked after and given her just that little bit more attention required” Holly says.

During the events, their daughter won the hearts of many with her determination and how happy she was to be involved and included. Holly explained, “the same feeling of happiness was felt by us, her parents and I’m sure she made her siblings really proud too”.

When asked what changes she would like to see that would make competing easier for families like hers, Holly explained that continuing to promote triathlons as an all-inclusive event is very important.

“Being included is one of the best feelings in the world. To be a part of something and be able to comfortably participate and be accepted just as you are, is so important for mental health and wellbeing and it’s also important for society to celebrate individuals for their differences”.

Holly also has an online swimwear/ active wear business, Back Beach Rd (www.backbeachrd.com.au), which has a new product range of swimactive wear™, targeted towards kids in triathlons, with a women’s range coming soon!