Annual track event draws young, old from near and far

Kewayne Knight throws the shot put during track and field event at Ansin Park in Miramar on Fri., June 9, 2017.
Kewayne Knight throws the shot put during track and field event at Ansin Park in Miramar on Fri., June 9, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Marla Rattray, at age 6, just became a world traveler, and that happened with a big grin on her face.

Marla had never been on a plane before, but she did just fine the first time as she arrived in Miami from Jamaica to participate in the Northwest Express Track and Field Classic Friday at the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar.

Asked if she was afraid of flying, Marla answered, “No, not at all.”

Then she went on to explain the whole experience perfectly and precisely.

Pointing up in the air, she said, “That’s where I went.”

Then she got a little more picturesque, adding, “Toward the moon.”

Marla, competing in the preliminary part of the 2,000-competitor meet on Friday, enjoyed her first flying experience. “The entire flight she was looking out the window, wanting to see everything ,” Marla’s mom, Maria Rattray, said.

Chipped in Marla, “They even gave me orange juice for free.” OK, that makes some sense despite the $200 or so paid for the ticket.

In the seat right next to Marla was somebody who wasn’t so comfortable being at 30,000 feet. That would be mom, age 36.

“I don’t like flying ,” Maria said. “But she liked it very much. She was excited.”

Marla Rattray Bill Van Smith

So, during the flight, Marla, a first-grader who will be competing in the 100 meters, 4x400 relay and long jump in the 42nd annual Northwest Classic that runs through Sunday, was comforting mom rather than the other way around.

Mom is quick to give her thanks.

“That little girl means everything to me.” Maria said.

Marla was very much looking forward to the meet. Not just running, but winning.

“I want to win,” she said.

Back in Jamaica, Marla has won a lot.

In her bedroom back home, “There are 10 medals,” she said proudly.

Marla, a good student, wants to make it 11 medals or more this weekend. She pretty much guarantees it.

“I am going to win,” she said. “I will get another medal.”

Mom possibly explained why.

“She likes running and winning, so she will do it no matter what.

“She’s a very energized little girl.”

No doubt about that.

▪ The Northwest Express Track and Field Classic, in its 42nd year and without founder Jesse Holt there after his death eight months ago, will continue Saturday with field events starting at 8 a.m. followed by track events at 10 a.m.

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