In 1970 Robert Kraft came back home to South Beach from Nashville and Las Vegas, where he tried to make it as a songwriter.
He started running with some boxers from the 5th Street Gym and slowly built up to 8 miles He made a New Years resolution to run 8 miles a day for one year starting on January 1st, 1975. He found the benefits mentally, physically and spiritually were all positive so he kept running 8 miles a day on the sands of South Beach
He has ran everyday since. (never missing a day). Over 2,500 runners ranging in age from 6 to 79, from over 60 different countries and all 50 States have completed at least one 8 mile run with him
Everyone who completes the 8 miles gets a nickname and is added to The Raven List. This is a run, not a race although many of the Raven Runners train for races, Raven trains to come back tomorrow.
Raven has the longest known world running streak on the sand and in the same location. He has seen every sunset, never been caught in rush hour traffic and turned what was a negative into a positive becoming an inspiration to others.
Allow me to introduce you to Raven.
A most remarkable human being. It is not every day you encounter someone who has surely found their mission in life...who has a strength of committment bordering on the obsessive, yet is also balanced by an unswerving loyalty and generosity. Let me be a bit more specific. The Raven runs. every day. I mean every day. This is a man who has seen every sunset for the past twenty nine years from a strip of sand now called South Beach. I knew Raven very well, or at least I thought I did, before I understood what EVERY day really meant. I'm not sure understand it yet.
Let me try to explain. He runs eight miles on the beach in soft sand each afternoon. Beginning and ending at the same place...the sixth street lifeguard stand. What is so special about that? (You may ask) Perhaps more than the sheer doggedness of never failing to appear, of always finishing, is the manner in which this gentle man conducts himself. You see, this run takes place under the most beautiful skies....alongside the Atlantic Ocean...each day is a celebration of all time, of all days, each one special in itself, individual. ...forgive me, I am sometimes overwhelmed by poetry...It is as if by the act of running, Raven is drawing a portrait of each day, dignifying its grace, beauty, temporality, its thereness. Well, I guess you gotta be there. The thing is, it is not a race...this is a way of being, THERE.
This is something that Raven shares with anyone who cares to slow down long enough to run with him. Even people who don't do the run, can hang with the group and experience the connection, the hope the encouragement. Don't we all need a bit of encouragement? Raven's running, his life, shows us that there just might be another way to live. Happily. Peacefuly. Not driven by TV news, money markets, traffic jams, and all of the other races we so habitually engage ourselves in. When was the last time you saw a news report about...another beautiful sunset?
Raven ran alone the first eight years. A young man does what he must. Then, as he opened to possibilities, he began to find people who wanted to run with him, or, maybe they found HIM. Either way, today, over 2,500 people have completed the "Raven Run". RAVEN has kept a list of all the runners who have made the eight mile run. -