|Brian Smith Photography |
|Robert "Raven" Kraft will run his 110,000th mile on Miami Beach August 23.|
When I first heard about the Raven
, I was fascinated. Most people seem to be. What could keep a man motivated to run eight miles on the same stretch of sand every single day for decades? That's every single day, despite hurricanes, concussions, pneumonia, and pain that stretches into every cell "from hair to toes," as he says -- for 37 years.
On August 23, the total distance covered by Raven's 37-year streak will reach 110,000 miles. He'll have warmed up with his pull-ups and pushups at the outdoor gym at the 9th Street beach and strolled over to the 5th Street lifeguard stand 13,750 times. That's where he meets the pack of runners who will join him for his run each day. Some of these runners are just looking for sporty camaraderie. Others are looking for life answers. And then there are times when no one shows up, and the Raven starts his daily voyage alone.
On the surface, it's an amazing story of dedication to athleticism. Born Robert Kraft, Raven, who is so-nicknamed for his black attire and long raven-hued locks, began his running streak January 1, 1975, when he resolved to run eight miles on the beach every single day for the entire year. It was an attempt to mend what he perceived as a defect of character. "I never stuck with anything," Raven said in a recent interview. "Jobs, relationships -- I was a quitter. I wanted to change that. The first year [of my running streak] I caught pneumonia, I stepped on nails. Food poisoning." But he kept going, no matter what.More »