Big Hit team make winning impact at major event
A TEAM of dedicated Ipswich athletes have become a big hit, literally.
Paul Shard, Shiralee Beilenberg and Robert Partington teamed up to win their masters event at last weekend's annual Mooloolaba Triathlon. It continued a fine tradition from the Big Hit team.
The terrific run of success started after Shard and Beilenberg competed in a team event at the 2006 Noosa Triathlon.
A year later, they lined up at Mooloolaba and have competed every year since, under the team name Big Hit.
The pair have shared in a number of successes in the open mixed category, finishing second in 2008, fourth in 2010, sixth in 2011 and third in 2012.
The name Big Hit was inspired by local business- man Peter Wyman, who provided the athletes with team shirts.
In 2013, when Shard turned 40, the team became eligible to compete in the masters category.
Team Big Hit entered and have been undefeated since.
Last Sunday at the 25th anniversay of the Mooloolaba Triathlon, the current team of Beilenberg, 49, Partington, 54, and Shard, 44, combined to win the masters event in two hours, six minutes and 39 seconds.
Beilenberg swam the first leg, with Partington riding and Shard running.
The trio's effort placed their fifth overall out of about 400 teams.
In the 1500m swim, Beilenberg recorded a time of 21 minutes, 25 seconds. After a transition time of two minutes, 36 seconds, Partington covered his 40km ride in one hour, one minute and 39 seconds.
Shard took 39.49 seconds to run 10km after a slick one minute, nine second transition.
Beilenberg, after catching the competitive bug in 2006, has completed a number of individual ocean swims and many team triathlons over the past 11 years, including the Noosa Triathlon, Hell of the West, Hervey Bay 100, Tweed Endura.
Next month, she is completing a 10km ocean swim.
Shard has been one of Ipswich's most tenacious runners. He overcame a serious back injury to win last year's 100km Nerang Trail event in 13 hours, six minutes.
Shard also contested Gold Coast marathons in 2008, 2011 and 2013.
Warwick-based Partington has been a cyclist for most of his life, having also been keen on motocross and waterskiing.
On his bike, he's completed a number of endurance events including Grafton to Inverell, Byron to Currumbin, The Cunning- ham Classic, Brisbane to Gold Coast, Ride the Range and the Ipswich 160.