Respect for your elders and trust in God was the message Granny Luces gave the young generation as the popular former long distance runner celebrated her 90th birthday at Roslyn Hall in Tunapuna, on Sunday.
“Before they go to sleep in the night they must pray; when they get up in the morning they must pray. They must respect their mother, grandmother and neighbours. They must have that kind of respect, they must know when to say ‘excuse me ‘and ‘thank you’ and ‘good morning’,” Luces said.
Luces, who said she feels like she is in her early forties, said her trust in God has been an important part of her life. “I always read the Bible and I always sing songs for the Lord. When I was little, my grandmother always use to carry me to church and she always sang hymns and she always spoke about the Lord, so to me the Lord is important.”
Granny Luces’ friends and family came from all over Trinidad for the occasion, while her daughter Merle came from Sacramento, California. Luces has 10 children, 33 grand children and 18 great grandchildren.
Luces is popularly known for participating and completing long distance races throughout TT and the world. She made her marathon debut in 1984, and since then, she has been a favourite among spectators and competitors. Luces has been recognised for her achievements in running as she received the Hummingbird Medal Gold in 2013. Dressed in red and black to reflect her TT spirit, Luces said she has always been a fierce patriot. “When I am running overseas, all my thoughts are Trinidad and Tobago is running. I could have been living in America, but I just love Trinidad and Tobago.”
Luces said she never thought she would have gotten so popular, and says she would continue running.
“I never thought of that (being popular), all what was in my brain was to run. I have not planned to run any races (coming up), but if I get an invitation – even now – to run I will run. I just like it.”
The function also featured speeches, poems and songs from family members and friends. Merle wrote a poem for her mother that said, “An incredible 90-year long marathon is the solid rock this great lady chose to stand on. In her incredible life, it can clearly be seen how well she has lived out all of her dreams.”
Merle continued, “Competing in places such as Rome, Paris, Ottawa, Australia and Barbados, the whole world was in shock and at a complete loss for when Granny Luces would confidently arrive on the scene. Watch out, life was destined to become somewhat surreal.”