The Guy Who Reviews Sports Books
Guest Blogger - Lance Smith
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Have you ever picked up a book that ended up being so captivating that you didn't put it down until you finished? That was the case for me with this book as the story of this man who has run eight miles on the sandy beach every single day for over 40 years was fascinating. The title includes the word "amazing" - probably the best one-word description of this book. Here is my review of "Running with Raven."
It can be difficult to make a resolution to do anything every day as unforeseen circumstances may force one to miss a day. Now imagine trying to do an eight-mile run on the beach every day – for 40 years! Believe it or not, that has been accomplished by Robert “Raven” Kraft, a resident of Miami Beach. That accomplishment and his story is captured in this outstanding book by Laura Lee Huttenbach.
The streak, while a wonderful accomplishment, is only part of the story. Raven’s personality and perseverance has grown into a running community that is like no other. Thousands of people have made the run alongside Raven over the decades and they share a common bond of not only running, but also being honored with a nickname given by Raven. Raven not only remembers nicknames, but also personal details of nearly every single running in this community. It has grown to have its own set of awards and an annual dinner since 1996. Raven’s steak also has been the subject of numerous news segments and an ESPN segment on the weekly show “Outside the Lines.
Huttenbach, who has many runs with Raven and the nickname “White Lightning” writes the book from an intimate view that most would not be able to see. Because of her membership in the community, she is able to share details about Raven’s life that many other authors could not obtain about their subjects. Such as the self-described hoarding that Raven does, the pain he felt for many years over the estrangement of his father and his belief that a country music song he wrote was plagiarized. By deciding to channel these emotions into an eight-mile run along the sandy beach, he not only changed his own life, but the lives of many others as well.
The reader will enjoy the many stories about Raven’s runs and some of the other members of this running family. Whether it was running through Hurricane Gilbert with “Springman”, running when Hurricane Andrew was arriving, or going on runs with others who have been there many times like “Taxman”, “Copy Man” and “Sailor” or even some who have only done it once, there isn’t a word wasted as the reader will be enthralled and want to know even more about the legendary runner. It may even inspire one to start his or her own running streak or just try to make a difference. It is a book that should be read by anyone who wants an uplifting and inspiring story.
I wish to thank Kensington Publishing Corporation for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
In 1975 Robert “Raven” Kraft, a high school dropout and aspiring songwriter, made a New Year’s Resolution to run eight miles on Miami’s South Beach each evening. Over 125,000 miles later, he has not missed one sunset.
Along the way, Raven has changed the lives of thousands who have run with him—many of them hundreds of times. From all fifty states and dozens of countries, across all age groups and backgrounds, they come to run with Raven, and in the process find friendship, inspiration—and a nickname.
Among them is author Laura Lee “White Lightning” Huttenbach, who has logged over a thousand miles of Raven Runs. Here she explores the stories of dozens of others about why they started running with Raven—and why they keep coming back. Taxman, an accountant in his mid-60s, has done 1800+ runs. Dizzy, a middle school principal from Cuba, met his wife and his best friend on Raven Runs. Butcher, an ex-convict, credits Raven with saving his life. In an uncertain world Raven shows up, no matter what.
Quirky and appealing, tenacious and magnetic, Raven is a legend of the running world. As he says, “I may be the only thing that hasn’t changed around here in the last forty years.” Laura Lee Huttenbach reveals how one man’s daily ritual has blossomed into an uncanny gift for weaving people together—and an invaluable reminder that the journey means little without the connections forged along the way.
It’s not a race. It’s a way of finding meaning, purpose, and community over the course of eight miles run every day, without fail, for more than forty years.
Raven By The Numbers
125,000+ – Miles Raven has run since January 1975.
15,092 and counting – Straight days of running eight miles.
2,536 – People who have completed eight miles with Raven.
103 – Degrees Fahrenheit on the hottest run (July 4, 2010).
86 – Mile-per-hour wind blowing on the day of Hurricane Irene (October 15, 1999).
85 – Different countries represented by Raven Runners.
80 – Age of the oldest active Raven Runner.
60 – Number of pull-ups Raven does per day (3 sets of 20).
24 – Runners inducted in the Raven Run Hall of Fame.
7 – Hurricanes he’s run through.
0 -- Airplane rides for Raven.
“Raven left an indelible impression upon me, as he has countless others. I am certain that you will find his story as fascinating and enthralling as I have. Raven, long may you run.”
--Dean Karnazes, New York Times bestselling author of Ultramarathon Man
“An inspiring tale of unbreakable discipline and one-of-a-kind endurance.”
–Gerald Posner, bestselling author of Miami Babylon