Robert "Raven" Kraft runs. He has run every day since Jan 1, 1975. He has run through 75 pairs of sneakers. Through the Age of Disco, the revitalization of South Beach, the Gulf War, two recessions, and six presidencies. He has run around the stage set up on the beach this past November for a 9/11 benefit concert by 'N Sync, causing him to pound the pavement for several blocks and aggravate his bad back. He blames Osama bin Laden for that.
In the early Seventies Kraft came home to Miami Beach. He lived with his mother, worked odd jobs, and began exercising off and on with some boxers from the old Fifth Street Gym. Then one day, fed up with his lackadaisical ways, he decided to run on the beach every day for a year, just to see if he could. The date was January 1, 1975. When Kraft finished that year he didn't feel like stopping. So he kept on running, eight miles a day, along the shore. More than half a lifetime later, he is still running. And now he can't stop.
On May 18 Kraft will mark his 10,000th consecutive day of running. He is expected to be joined on his regular jog by dozens of other runners, including some flying in from New York and California, who have helped Kraft gain a quirky celebrity for constancy in the ephemeral world of South Beach. As of this week, 239 runners, ranging in age from 10 to 79, have completed at least one eight-mile run, thus earning a listing on the official Raven Run log and a nickname. Delta Dolly. Chapter 11. Giggler. Tangerine Dream. Or 12-Pack, a 242-pounder from Albuquerque who drank a dozen beers before he somehow completed the course.