You have to reach rock bottom before you can begin building yourself back up again.

Todd Crandell spent 13 years of his life sinking into the depths of misery, pulled down by the weights of addiction and substance abuse.

Crandall says that it all started at a party in 8th grade. He had his first sip of beer and found himself enthralled – then following his mother’s suicide, it became a mere race from one drug to the next; alcohol to prescription pills, tranquilizers to cocaine – the race went on with no finish in sight.

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He was arrested for the third time on April 14th of 1993 after he was pulled over for impaired driving, registering a 3.8 on the field-sobriety test; a person registering 0.2 more points is considered to be comatose.

Though Crandell was at his lowest, change could still be seen, and the tides began to turn.

“It literally was just like a switch went off in me, and a big weight was taken off my back, and it was like, `You don’t have to do this any more.’ And I knew it,” Crandall told The Blade.

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Crandell began to fight his way to the surface, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, graduating from college, and ironically even finding himself a job in pharmaceutical sales.

Still, this wasn’t enough – the same fixations that lead him into harder and harder drugs were now influencing him to harder and harder accomplishments

He set his sights on a new race: The Ironman Triathlon

Considered one of the hardest marathons in the world, the Ironman consists of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, 26.2 miles of running – all in concession.

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Crandell completed his first triathlon in Chicago in 1999. His past was written by the hands of addiction, but as for his future… Crandell had finally snatched the pen.

To this day, he has completed 16 full length triathlons, and was the only competitor able to cross the finish line at the 2008 invitation-only Hawaii ultraman: a race that takes place over the course of 3 days and spans a total of 6.2 miles swimming, 261 miles biking, and 52 miles of running.

In an effort to continue bettering himself, Crandell has now reached out to others.

He became licensed as a professional chemical dependency counselor, and created Running for Recovery; a nonprofit that seeks to introduce those struggling with substance addiction to the therapeutic potential of diet and exercise. He says, “There’s nothing better than sitting down with somebody who has a drug problem, and me being able to help them,”

The nonprofits catchphrase, “with sobriety, anything is possible.” is represented better by no one but the founder himself.

(WATCH the video below)


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