Todd Crandell is not your average plant-based athlete, for he has a touching story that has helped many others overcome addiction, just as he once did.

Thus far, Todd has competed in 28 different Ironman events (ultra-triathlons), in 15 countries across six continents, all of which he not only finished but had great success at. He credits his stamina and physical health to his vegan diet and his motivation to overcoming a 13-year addiction with hard drugs and alcoholism; crossing the finish line every time to represent his years of sobriety.

Todd Crandell spent 13-years in the trenches of drug addiction and alcoholism destroying his mind, body, and relationships using heroin, cocaine, alcohol and every prescription drug he could get his hands on. He was homeless and suicidal; seemingly having nothing and no one to live for. No longer knowing the barrier between life and death, he believed his destiny was to share his mother’s fate. A wake-up call came after his third arrest, Todd knew he had to he quit then or wait until his habits killed him. So he decided to go cold turkey. From that point on Crandell chose to take back control of his life – he started running, biking and swimming, getting lost in his personal training in favor of dangerous habits.

“The same tenacity that I put into destroying myself, I just needed to switch it and put it into repairing myself,” said Todd. His destructive behavior started when he was very young. Todd’s mother struggled with drug addiction and committed suicide when he was only three years old. For an impressionable toddler, this left scars that only cut deeper with time. Crandell started drinking when he was 13, in an effort to numb the pain of his loss and the blame he put on himself for her death. Three years later he tried cocaine, and instantly he said this moment changed his life forever. By the time he was a high school senior, he was one of the best hockey players in Ohio, but addiction started destroying his dreams.

In an interview, while running an Ironman race, Crandell said “every 30 minutes, someone’s killed in an alcohol-related driving accident…alcohol and drug addiction is the fourth leading cause of death, behind car accidents and heart disease”. He adds one of the most important reasons for taking up a new lifestyle is to honor his friend and the first person he has lost from addiction after his mother, who died as a result of drinking and driving.

After watching some enlightening documentaries, Crandall became vegan and decided he would no longer be a part of the slaughter of innocent animals or destroying our environment. He also wanted to continue improving his health, Todd said “[b]eing vegan has enhanced my overall mental, physical, emotional and spiritual fitness with more energy, positivity and zest for life which prior to becoming vegan was already high and intense.” 

In 2001, Crandell founded the organization ‘Racing for Recovery’ an addiction recovery program that aims to have a life-long positive impact on people. The organization scraps the traditional 12-step programs, instead helping people from anywhere in the world get their life back and beat addiction through healthy and holistic living.

These days, Crandell doesn’t choose to identify as an ‘ex-addict’; focusing instead on the positive things he has accomplished. Todd is an author of two books, a father of four, a friend, a husband and an Ironman — and, he’s the main caretaker of the family pet pig, Milo. Crandell recently shared Milo with Facebook, saying “Hi Milo. I am thankful you are alive and are an example that all living and loving things should live.” Previously, Todd has said “Milo has risen my level of compassion, empathy and love in general and for all living things. I feel he has made me a better person, father, husband, counselor and friend and I thank God for him.”


Image Credit: Racing For Recovery | Todd Crandell