Triathlete preps for Iron Man despite loss of large intestine

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Triathlete Preps For Ironman Without His Large Intestine

SAN DIEGO — Thomas Bloom has never competed in an Iron Man before, but  he is certainly up to overcoming a challenge, having lived without the use of his large intestine for nearly twenty-five years.

At age 18, Bloom was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Shortly after, he lost the vital organ to the disease.

“When you’re sick it’s hard,” says Bloom. “But the doctor said I had a chance to be healthy if we took it out.

Since then, the 43 year-old mechanic has competed in over eight triathalons.

Most people wouldn’t dream of trying to power through over 140 miles of endurance in an Iron Man without the use of their large intestine. However, Bloom knows how best to stay the course.

“It is harder for me. The biggest thing is to stay hydrated,” he explains. “I get dehydrated much quicker than a normal person. I’m in good health though, so that’s what has allowed me to train.”

In 2012, Bloom joined Team Challenge, a national group of triathletes that raise money for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease research.  It is also the main sponsor of the Chattanooga Iron Man.

“Tom is obviously really passionate about his cause with what he’s been through,” adds Team Challenge Triathlete Manager, Kat Gunsar.  “ It is an incurable disease, and most people  don’t know how awful it is to live with that, but we are getting closer.”

For Bloom, every step, stroke and pedal is one push closer to finding a cure.

“My goal with Chattanooga is to raise five thousand dollars. Every little bit helps,” he says. “It feels good to know that I can give people a little bit of hope and that you can live a normal life.”

To support Bloom’s cause, visit

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.