After logging more than 125,000 miles on Miami Beach over the course of 15,092 days, legendary beach runner Raven is immortalized in a new book.
Robert “Raven” Kraft with some of the shoes he’s worn out in his 42 years of running eight miles a day.
In 1975, Robert “Raven” Kraft—a high-school dropout and aspiring songwriter down on his luck after a singer stole one of his songs—was approached by two boxers on Miami Beach. They saw his disheveled appearance and suggested he run with them to feel better. And ever since then, whether in 103-degree heat or 86-mile-per-hour hurricane winds, Raven hasn’t missed a day. Along the way, 2,536 people (and counting) have joined him on his daily eight-mile beach jog. Laura Lee Huttenbach, author of the new book Running with Raven, shares his story:
Who is Raven? “He’s a 66-year-old retired security guard who encourages other people to keep the parts about them that are unique. He values people who are themselves. He is 100 percent committed to himself and his word. He was a loner, but he hasn’t run by himself in 11 years.”
How fast does he run? “Fourteen-minute miles these days, so it’s about a two-hour run. In the 1970s, he did seven-minute miles.”
How does he cover expenses? “Recently two runners started a foundation for him. His living expenses are low. He really hasn’t left Miami Beach in over 40 years, doesn’t have a car or driver’s license.”
How healthy is he? “Inside, he is extremely healthy. He has a pretty rigid dietary structure, with lots of fruits and veggies. Doesn’t eat out at all. And no alcohol or smoking. But eight miles every day for 42 years has externally caused him spinal stenosis and sciatica.”
What about when he’s not running? “He writes letters to his fellow joggers and songs, watches baseball, and he reads.”
How can we run with him? “Meet him at the Fifth Street lifeguard stand every day. In the winter it’s 4:30 pm, and 5:30 pm in summer.”
Who would play Raven in a film adaptation? “Jared Leto, who played [Steve] Prefontaine. Or Tom Hanks, because of Forrest Gump.” Running with Raven will be available on amazon.com and kensingtonbooks.com on April 27.