Children may be called on to respect their elders out of a sense of duty, but Lynette "Granny" Luces commanded respect with each footfall in the many races she ran since the time she took part in a marathon in her fifties in 1984.
The presence of the stolid pacer who ran barefoot and inspired everyone, from her fellow runners to the crowds who cheered her on, was a living testimony to the irrelevance of age even to strenuous physical competition.
With every determined step, Granny Luces repudiated notions of ageism in sport and offered a vivid example of competitive grace and tireless sportsmanship.
To run in a race with the elder statesman of the marathon was not to engage in competition, it was an opportunity to be inspired and uplifted by the kind of example of human spirit and determination that is offered up in sport far too rarely.
Her love of the sport was pure and generous. Her unfailing smile and positive outlook embraced the love of participating over the chase of a winning finish.
For a committed, youthful runner, getting beaten to the finish line by Granny Luces was an embarrassment – something of which she must have been aware – but her perseverance and commitment to a successful finish was an inspiration to all runners.
It was clear that in each race, her only real competition was with herself and her own abilities as an athlete.
A release from the Office of the President stated, “Excellency well remembers completing a few of the TT marathons in which Granny also participated and remained in awe of Granny’s unfailing stamina and enduringly youthful spirit.”
According to her grandson Sheldon Lucess, Granny Luces lived the national motto of discipline, tolerance and production with a particular emphasis on discipline.
She continued to run until she was in her mid-80s, and the Granny Luces Classic event was created in the late 1980s to honour her inspirational role in the sport, building interest and public attention for the nascent sport of marathon running.
She was awarded the Hummingbird Medal Gold in 2013.
Her grandchildren Paulette Lucess-Baptiste and Lyndon Griffith also took up distance running; and they are only two of the most direct athletes she inspired.
Through her determination to run for the joy of it, Granny Luces inspired hundreds to see running as an end itself, regardless of any finish line placing and her legacy continues with every runner active today.
Granny Luces died at 93, having lived to see ten children, 33 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Her race was faithfully and gracefully run, in life and on the road. Her inspiration continues to pace the sport.