He is definitely an “iron man” in every sense of the word when it comes to being a high-level triathlete in any age group.

But when it comes to the master triathlete age groups of 60 years old and over, the challenges of the grueling sport of three disciplines – running, biking and swimming – takes an athlete who’s disciplined, patient and dedicated to being a consumate and experienced triathlete, with this description fitting Sonoma resident Wayne Mehl.

Having competed in full and half Ironman triathlons for 20 years, Mehl has completed 16 full Ironman distance triathlons, including two in the world championships in Kona, Hawaii; and 15 half Ironman distance triathlons, and two in the World championship.

In the wake of this year’s successful Ironman triathlon finishes, Mehl was ranked by the Half Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Rankings for 2013 as number one in the world, and number one in the United States, for his world-wide-ranked 17-athlete age group of 75-79 years.

At the World Championship Ironman 70.3 held in Las Vegas in September, Mehl placed a solid second after qualifying for the major event by winning his age-group race at the Half Ironman in Austin, Texas, last October.

Along with the World Championship Ironman, Mehl also competed in three other half marathons in 2013, including the Ironman California in Oceanside and the Vineman Ironman in Windsor.

In August, Mehl raced to a second-place finish in the USA Triathlon National Championship and will represent the United States in the World Olympic Sprint distance triathlon championship in Edmonton, Canada, next summer.

In addition to Ironman distance triathlons, Mehl has completed the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon 10 times, and the Phuket, Thailand Triathlon 12 times.