CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Ironman Triathlon is Sunday, June 11, and one participant has led a life that has inspired millions around the world.

Todd Crandell, who was once homeless with a drug addiction, now he’s about to compete in his 106th Ironman, spoke with 22News. Crandell spent 13 years in the trenches of drug use and alcoholism, now he’s gone from addict to Ironman and the 56-year-old exerts his energy in the most grueling sport imaginable while helping people all over the world overcome addiction.

As a child, Crandell lost his mother, aunt, and uncle to addiction and suicide. He eventually lost a promising hockey career plus his home, friends, and will to live to addiction himself for over a decade.

But, after his third arrest, he quit cold turkey and from that point on Crandell chose to take back control of his life. “I believe that having my addiction and surviving it, I found my life’s purpose and that is to provide service to other people and that’s why I do Ironman, is to carry that message of hope,” says Crandell.

  • Photo courtesy of Todd Crandell
  • Photo courtesy of Todd Crandell
  • Photo courtesy of Todd Crandell
  • Photo courtesy of Todd Crandell

A full Ironman is a 2.4 mile run, a 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run and while that surely sounds like a ludicrous amount of physical exertion, Crandell says that completing one is 99 percent mental and that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

Crandell is about to compete in his 106th Ironman, an accomplishment beyond belief to us all.
And while he swims, bikes, and runs more in a few hours than most of us will in a year, he says that’s the power he has, ever since he’s shifted his energy from addiction to Ironman’s.

Crandell adding, “It’s not about doing an Ironman per-se, it’s about taking that concept of what it takes to do an Ironman and applying it to yourself to do whatever you want in your life, and that’s the racing for recovery message, is what kind of life do I want to lead and and what am I willing to do to go live that life and it’s that same effort you put into addiction when you transfer it into sobriety, you’re gonna get amazing results.”

In 2001, Crandell founded the nonprofit organization ‘Racing for Recovery’ to help people all over the world overcome addiction through healthy and holistic living.

‘Racing for Recovery’ offers a first of its kind livestream of its weekly support group meeting, with first hand stories from those battling addiction and their families and anyone needing help can access those free livestreams.