It's a 20-year story with a happy ending.
Well, assuming your definition of "happy" includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.
That's what Cecil Cheves accomplished at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii earlier this month. It marked the 14th Ironman competition for Cheves, a Columbus businessman and retired lawyer.
He's 64 years old.
"In the big picture, it's really a 20-year story," Cheves said of his experience in Hawaii. "My first race was a 5K at age 45."
The aforementioned 5K race -- Country's Midnight Express -- eventually expanded into longer distances of running, as well as triathlons and Ironman competitions. Cheves competed in his first Ironman in 2003, and eyed the Hawaii event for quite some time.
"The story is just one of endurance and perseverance and just setting a goal," Cheves said.
He gained entry to the Ironman World Championship through a Legacy program that selects 100 winners every year, according to the Ironman website. Among the criteria for eligibility in the Legacy
program: athletes must have completed at least 12 Ironman-branded races, the website notes.
At the Oct. 12 event in Hawaii, Cheves dealt with a variety of forces, in addition to the natural physical strain of extreme exercise.
Temperatures at the Ironman World Championship usually "range from 82 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with the humidity hovering around 90 percent," according to the event's website. Cheves noted on Facebook that his bike thermometer showed a temperature of 99.3 degrees.
His final finish time? Fourteen hours and 10 minutes, according to Cheves.
However, a results mixup gave some of his followers a skewed picture of his experience. Online results initially displayed a finish time that was about three hours faster than Cheves' real finish time.
Also, some numbers suggested he accomplished an average pace of 527 miles per hour on his bike. In reality, Cheves averaged 17 miles an hour on his bike.
He'll take that.
"I have a real sense of contentment," Cheves said of his experience in Hawaii.
Does he have any Ironman aspirations for the immediate future?
"I've scratched that itch. I've checked that box," Cheves said. But don't call him lazy.
"I will stay in shape," Cheves vowed. "I might swim 20 laps instead of two miles."