Former addict, now an Ironman, helps others out of addiction

DELAWARE CO. (WCMH) — Like many struggling with drug addictions in this state, Todd Crandell knows heroin. But with two decades of being sober under his belt, he’s gone from an addict to an Ironman.

“My addiction was extreme, my recovery is full of variety of extremes and Ironman to me is the ultimate test of sport and then some,” Crandell says.

The tattoos on his body tell his story.

“Well, my story really begins when I was 3 ½ years old,” he says. “My real mother committed suicide from her drug and alcohol addiction.”

Crandall says that’s when his life got off track. At the age of 13, he had his first sip of alcohol.

“And then for the next 13 years it just exploded into a full-blown heroin, cocaine, crack and alcohol addiction.”

In and out of jail, and living on the street — until April 15th, 1993, when Crandell received his third drunk driving charge.

“That’s when I said, ‘I’ve had enough. I want something better.’”

On the road to recovery, Crandell is now competing in his 41st half Ironman. He’s challenging his mind and his body in a different way.

“I have this awesome program called ‘Racing for Recovery’ that is saving lives from addiction all over the world,” he says.

The non-profit organization has helped nearly 75,000 people worldwide.

Crandell, along with 2,500 other triathletes, will take on the Half Ironman challenge this Sunday at Delaware Park.

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