Best of 2011: The Raven Run

Posted: December 28, 2011 by Keith Stone in Best of 2011, Miami, Raven Run

It’s the end of the year so let’s look back at some of the best moments in The Suite (and give Stone a break). This was originally published on February 2 in honor of one of the greatest runners in history.

The Raven has run eight miles along Miami Beach everyday for the past 36 years.  That’s over 100,000 miles through heat, wind, and rain from the era of Bob Griese and Sonny Crockett to Hanley Ramirez and Rick Ross.  He’s more unstoppable than the US Postal Service.  The remarkable thing about this is that there’s so much more to the story than just running and incredible perseverance.  Over the years, the Raven couldn’t help but accumulate some fans and 1,244 runners have completed the eight miles with him up to 2010.  Every runner is made to feel welcome as a part of the group and leaves with a sense of physical and mental achievement.  Some have run with the Raven over 500 times, others maybe once or twice.  In either case, everyone is bestowed a nickname and makes the Raven’s list, which he keeps track of with the help of a great memory.

Over the last few weeks, I have had the privilege of running with the Raven and his band of runners several times.  Every run starts with a roll call in which he introduces everybody.  Dizzy is a middle school assistant principal and greets everyone with a friendly smile.  Hurricane is pushing 80 years old but is a beast and ran 81 times last year.  Sheik is from Nigeria and does every run barefoot.  His love for running is matched only by his love for the ladies.  Warrior is like a machine never flinching day after day and did the Raven Run a few hours after completing a marathon.  He’s run everyday for almost three months straight.  Mule runs like he’s in tremendous pain every step of the way but he always pushes ahead stubbornly like a mule.  He’s helping put on the Super Bowl halftime show this week.  Triple is a 25-year-old kid who doesn’t know what he’s going to do with his life.  That’s me.  Raven even officiated a marriage between two of the runners during a run.  Where else could you bring together all these people?  Only at the 5th St. lifeguard stand at 4PM.  It’s a sight to see.  All these strangers running down the beach like a family, each one so different from one another but brought together by the Raven and the quest to run free.  Therein lies the Raven’s greatest feat.  It’s not the incredible streak, but the camaraderie of the people that are a part of it.

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