Published: 06:00, 22 July 2021
A Swale family took on a 10km challenge to celebrate their marathon-mad grandad’s 90th birthday.
Veteran long-distance runner Cyril Trice has tackled 29 of the 26.2-mile races in his lifetime, including 13 London marathons.
But on Saturday, just a day after celebrating nine decades on the planet, he teamed up with his family - who live on Sheppey and in Sittingbourne - to run from The Leas to Sheerness and back again, to raise money for Cancer Research.
Granddaughter Rebecca Seehootoorah, from Newington, said: “We all wore some of the vintage marathon shirts or shorts he has worn over the years while on the run.
“He’s completed nearly 30 marathons in his life, including the Mars London Marathon in 1988 in less than four hours, as well as completing the London Marathon at the age of 69 for the British Heart Foundation - and that was shortly after being fitted with a pacemaker for his heart.
“Grandad was running just a little and walking the rest of the 10km and told us he was saving his knees for his 100th birthday London marathon. He’s a massive inspiration to us all.”
Cyril is a father-of-three and grandfather-of-eight who is a keen gardener, vegetarian and DIY expert.
He said: “Anyone can do it. If you just put one foot in front of the other, you are moving forward.”
He has had a number of jobs around the county, but first joined the Army at 15 where he served for 11 years as a Sergeant in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.
He later went on to work at a power station in Dartford as an engineer for 30 years, owned a mini-market, was an aide to an MP, and worked as a city and parish councillor.
He has also worked as an office manager for a law firm in the county and been involved in helping develop a youth football club.
Despite his age, Rebecca said he’s anything but a typical man nine decades old.
She said: When you think of a 90-year-old man, you usually think old, delicate and sweet. Our grandfather is young, strong and cheeky.
“He is extremely generous and always wants others to have the life that he been blessed with. For his 10km we have given him a gold medal engraved with ‘90 years of service, laughter and love’.”
Cyril’s doting granddaughter revealed he first got into marathons by chance when he spotted a man running one day and asked him why he was doing it.
Upon hearing he was training for a marathon, Cyril thought it would be a great idea to train himself - so he did.
Cyril was also joined on the 10km challenge by Rebecca’s dad Ally Seehootoorah, her brother James Seehootoorah and sister Sarah Sorsbie.
Step-dad Alan French, from Halfway, also took part, alongside brother-in-law Zach Sorsbie and soon-to-be sister-in-law Kerry Payne.
Speaking about why they chose to run on the Isle of Sheppey, Rebecca said: “We decided to do the run on the Island because it’s close to where most of us live - that being five of us in Sittingbourne area, and two from Sheppey.
“We also needed a long, stable road for grandad so the Sheppey wall was perfect.
“Plus, the weather was great and the Island is our closest beach. We always make the most of it.”
Rebecca added the money raised for the Cancer Research Trust will be a tribute to her grandad’s siblings who were affected by the disease.
You can donate to the cause by clicking here.