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Published: Wednesday, 6/11/2014

Racing for Recovery triathlon, duathlon set for weekend

Adam Forkapa, left, Todd Crandell, center left, Matt Boston, center right, and Emily Henderson, are all participating in this year's Racing for Recovery event. Adam Forkapa, left, Todd Crandell, center left, Matt Boston, center right, and Emily Henderson, are all participating in this year's Racing for Recovery event.
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Corrected version: Date of event has been fixed.

For Sylvania resident Emily Henderson, participating in a triathlon gives her something to run towards, instead of something she has been running away from.

“It is giving me something I’m working towards. Instead of looking behind me and some of the destruction I’ve caused in the past. It helps me move forward,” she said about training for Racing for Recovery’s 9th Annual Triathlon Duathlon on Sunday.

Ms. Henderson, 32, will be one of more than 600 athletes participating in this year’s event, hosted by the Sylvania organization that uses athletics as one tool to assist drug or alcohol addicts in leading a sober life. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at Maumee Bay State Park, 1400 State Park Rd., Oregon. A Racing for Recovery Board member, she is also a former alcoholic whose sobriety date is Nov. 12, 2012.

Todd Crandell, Sylvania resident and founder of Racing for Recovery, said this year the race has more than double the participants from a year ago. The race is to celebrate each participant‘s sobriety and life that encompasses spirituality, work, education, volunteerism, nutrition, and exercise.

A special date for Adam Forkapa, 25, is Feb. 27. On that day, the Perrysburg resident turned from a path of drugs and alcohol to that of sobriety and wellness. After attending counseling sessions with Mr. Crandell, a licensed chemical dependency counselor, he was convinced that he could accomplish the 70.3-mile triathlon competition that consists of long distance swimming, cycling, and running segments. The duathlon is a run-bike-run competition. 

“I’ve always liked to push myself mentally and physically. I’ve been training almost everyday and I love it,” he said, adding though that it was difficult to be physically fit when he was using.

Mr. Forkapa pointed out that exercise alone cannot help one on the road to recovery.

“To an extent, it has made it easier, but when battling addiction, if you don’t get to the root of the problem with counseling, running and swimming can then become another addiction,” he said.

The event is raising money for activities in the area, including supporting Sylvania Schools athletic youth and prevention programs and Pacesetter Soccer Club. Mr. Crandell said more than $20,000 was raised last year for youth academic and athletic programs that promote a positive lifestyle.  

There is a $150 registration for the race this weekend. Registration closes Thursday,

Racing for Recovery has a support group which meets at 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at Sylvania United Church of Christ, 7240 Erie St. A weekly exercise run and walk meeting, preceded by discussion, takes place 8 a.m. Sundays at Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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