Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Run with Raven

My wife and I booked a KLOVE friends and family Christian music cruise out of Miami Florida a year ago.  During the course of the year I looked forward with great anticipation to the great music and fellowship but also to run in a new city.  When thinking about where to run, it hit me.  About three years ago I read a story (Marathon and Beyond, Nov/Dec 2009) about a guy who has run on Miami’s South Beach for 37 years straight, never missing a day.  Not only does this guy run every day but he runs 8 miles every day…come rain or shine, broken bones or hurricanes; The Raven Runs!

After a quick internet search ( and re-reading the article I just had to meet up with the Raven and run.

Super Bowl Sunday my wife and I arrived headed to South Beach and planned to be at the 5th street life guard station at 4 p.m. and at a little after 4 p.m. Raven showed up.  At first I was a bit stand offish, but once I introduced myself Raven greeted me and talked as if we were old friends.  Raven is a character, but also one of the nicest people I’ve met.  On this day 8 runners showed up to run with Raven, 6 repeat runners and two newbie’s, Roberto S. and I.  Once everyone was ready to roll, Raven got us running on the North route.  We started at the 5th street life guard station going south to the Pier then we turned north to 47th and back south to 5th.

Raven has run with over 1500 different people during the 37 year streak and it is uncanny on how he remembers the details of everyone.  As we headed south to the pier Raven began his roll call.  For each runner he gave a 20 second introduction ending with their “Raven run” earned nickname.  For us new people he introduced us to the veterans by name and asked a few questions to help him give us nicknames…if we earned them by finishing the 8 mile run.

During the run Raven told some interesting stories, 37 years on South Beach allowed his path to cross with a lot of locals and a few celebrities.  My favorite story was about Muhammad Ali and The Beetles.  Raven told a story about when Ali met the Beetles for the first time back in the day, he was then Cassius Clay, and the Beetle a little known English band, Ali commented to his trainer Angelo Dundee after meeting them “Who where those four wimps”...Raven said I’m sure Ali knew who they were a few years later.

Running on the sand was a bit taxiing, but after talking with a raven run veteran “Hitter” we picked up the pace and logged a few extras blocks as we finished ahead of the group and ran back to finish 8+ miles with Raven and the rest.  When all was done Roberto earned his nickname “Ballpark” and after a little prompting from my wife Raven named me “Cledawg”….a fitting name just the same.  I was the 1,531st runner to run with Raven, I hope with good health, and GOD’s blessing Raven will be going for a good long time.  I plan to be back and run again with Raven.  

If you’re ever in Miami go run with the Raven.  And tell him Cledawg sent ya!

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV

1 comment:

  1. How fun! Those running streak folks always have great stories!