Brian Balmes: Ironman, And So Much More


Brian Balmes is a 6-time cancer survivor and a certified cancer warrior

We all have a list of the top ten epic, emotional, moving, and inspiring events in our lives.  They can range from the day you got married, had your children, or even stood up to the high school bully!  For me, being a six time liposarcoma survivor, I added to my list on Saturday 11/3/12 when twenty six of my friends and I raced and completed the Florida Ironman.

I have done twelve marathons, one Ironman and seven half Ironman triathlons (along with many other 5/10Ks and shorter triathlons). This Ironman was extra special in that this journey back to Ironman started back in February 2011 when I was in the hospital receiving my fifth round of chemotherapy. My wife and three kids told me that I need to do another Ironman once I have healed from the chemo.  I asked them if they remember just how massive the training is and the sacrifices we have to make as a family to train for Ironman….they responded with yes, but it will celebrate beating cancer again!

I posted on my CaringBridge site that I planned to register for the FL Ironman in 2012.  The response from my close group of triathlon friends was that they would register to race together!  The momentum from this initial response resulted in twenty six of us!

Ironman is not just about race day, it is much more. The journey to race day is an entire year as you have to register the day after race day. Our large group trained in small groups throughout the year and raced in other races preparing for FL.  The hard work and suffering through the many hours of training was absolutely amazing.

Race weekend finally came and we all met for pictures on the beach the day before the race. I had been planning to speak to the group and actually used that in my training imagery…I always got emotional thinking about it.  We all came together with one hand in the circle…I thanked them all for being there and reminded them to take time during the race to think about the power of what we were doing, the gift we have to be able to do this and to celebrate the day and permanent memories we were creating. What a classic moment in time.

We all got to see each other on the race course, especially the run as it is a two loop course.  The support for each other and more importantly from our massive group of family and friends made this race positively a celebration of living strong together!

I raced in my LIVESTRONG race kit and got many “Go LIVESTRONG !” shouts of encouragement throughout the race.  I carried the 14.5 years of fighting cancer with me.  The ability to channel the fight against such a negative, evil disease was emotional and powerful!

Thank you to my wife, Patty, my kids Erin, Rylie and Ben, along with the Alpha Ironman team and their family and friends for an unforgettable, epic year of training and race day!  I am now nineteen months cancer free…and praying it stays that way.  In the meantime, training for my first 50mile run has already begun…

LIVESTRONG and Fight Like Hell! – Brian


  1. disqus_L4MBConypI says:

    Amazing tale of courage & determination Brian. I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

  2. Ann Marie Vollmar says:

    Awe…..what special words!! All I can say is I love you all and it a day I will never forget.

  3. Thanks Brian, for sharing this with me. You have been an inspiration to all of us. I will share your story. Have a great year! Hi to your family!

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