I had a brief conversation with Robert Kraft, “The Raven,” yesterday evening as my wife and I walked to dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab. I happened to catch him after the first hour of his daily 8-mile beach run that he completed for the 16,829th consecutive time. He’s into his 46th year of doing this while I’m in my 12th, now averaging a consistent 3 miles every day. “The Raven,” as he prefers to be called, runs nearly 3,000 miles every year compared to my 1,000 but his body shows the wear and tear despite being a year and two months younger. This means he’s been at this since he was 21. I started 1000 days before my 60th birthday to celebrate the occasion and haven’t stopped since.
To be quite honest there isn’t much “run” left in “The Raven.” His pace is very slow, much slower than even mine and what most would consider a walk, but this doesn’t discount his accomplishments. He’s out there at sunset every evening for a good two-and-a-half hours, over 912 hours every year without fail. I’m anxious to read his story, Raven Run. I was surprised to find out that he’s about 5’10” but hunched over like a question mark and weighs around 190 pounds that was once probably solid muscle. A black headband, silver streak in his beard, black shorts, black glove, and hairy chest complete the picture. He operates on a different time schedule than my morning routine, so I may never run with him. I went up to him yesterday simply to congratulate him on his streak, but he urged me to run with him while we’re still in Miami.
Although I’m tempted to join him, I’m afraid that 8-miles on sand would be too much of a strain. I like to get my running commitment out of the way first thing, so thinking about it all day would be difficult. Also, his pace is so slow that I would be miserable with the change. The Raven has not left the ten-mile radius around Miami Beach since he was twenty-five, while I traveled 3,000 miles just to say hello. It was not particularly inspiring to watch his running form, but I certainly admire his tenacity and persistence. You know where to find him every day at 5:15 – the 5th Street Lifeguard Stand. Run…Raven…Run! Evermore!