The adoration that gripped the country when elderly runner Lynette ‘Granny’ Luces took part at road races, is now gone. She was 93.
It is certain to be continued in heaven though, where her granddaughters Paulette Luces-Baptiste and Amelia Luces, as well as her great-granddaughter Ashakie Hagley, believe she is present, following her death on Thursday at 6:30 am at the Mt Hope Hospital.
Her passing has dealt a severe blow to the local and international road race communities, both of which were privileged to witness her perform, displaying the attributes of true grit, determination and tenacity.
‘Granny’ as she has affectionately been called, had unknowingly been ailing after suffering a stroke in October 2020 that left her bed-ridden since then. But despite her open nature to reveal all to the national community, Luces-Baptiste explained that her family was too distraught to let the public know, and she had now come to honour her grandmother’s wishes, mere hours after her passing, by revealing her death and the cause of it, saying: “This is what she would have wanted.”
Though she was of very little words, ‘Granny’, a resident of San Juan, where she’s loved, had been an inspiration to not only her granddaughters and great-granddaughters but to many who lined the streets to watch her perform at road racing events, such as the UWI-Spec International Half Marathon, the T&T International Marathon, the Venture Credit Union 5k and 10k, and the Eastern Credit Union 5k and 10k among many other races.
Luces-Baptiste who was supported by Amelia Luces and Hagley visited Guardian Media offices, yesterday and vowed to carry on her grandmother’s legacy, after all, ‘Granny’ had not only taken care of her from the age of three years old but was responsible for introducing her to the sport.
“I started running at the age of five when granny challenged me to run across the savannah from Stanmore Avenue, Port-of-Spain, where she attended a church there. This I did because I wanted to go to the zoo. I had to run non-stop, and this is how I started my career,” Luces-Baptiste said.
Afterwards, she said that her grandmother took her to different events to compete, including the Eastern Credit Union race from Morvant to the La Joya Complex where she placed second. “Granny taught me the attributes of never giving up and being disciplined, which are attributes I carry up to today,” Luces-Baptiste explained.
The family is now planning a funeral that will be deserving of the contributions made by ‘Granny’ and called for assistance in achieving this.
Once word of her passing spread to the wider community yesterday, the family and the media were bombarded by condolence messages, such as Minister of Sports Shamfa Cudjoe who said her ministry was saddened by her passing.
In a release, Cudjoe said: “Granny Luces“, Lynette Luces was a popular fixture at local and international marathon events. She shattered the age barrier for runners, having started her marathon journey in the 1980s. She has been an icon in sport and a beacon of inspiration for athletes, especially female athletes and ordinary citizens seeking new heights. Her age never defined her ability to conquer the miles she ran, always crossing the finish line victorious. Her resilience and legacy were recognized by the Government of the Republic of T&T in 2013 when she was awarded the Hummingbird Gold Medal.”
President of the T&T Olympic Committee Brian Lewis said she was an inspiration to many to get active and adopt a healthy lifestyle, regardless of age.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, the Minister of Finance offered condolences to the family and dubbed her an inspiration to many for what she has done as a long-distance runner over the years.