Nov 3, 2023 - News

Running saved Raven. Now music is his escape

Robert "Raven" Kraft and his band, the Dark Shadows.

Raven and the Dark Shadows. Photo: Courtesy of Mary Beth Koeth

Through chronic pain and hurricanes, Robert "Raven" Kraft never stopped running. Eight miles a day, every day. For 48 years.

  • But at 73 years old, Raven can't keep up this pounding pace.

What's happening: The Miami Beach running legend has decided to cut back on his daily mileage to look after his health and pursue his first love: music.

  • The songwriter, who struggled for decades to make a name for himself in the music industry, released his debut rock album with his new band over the weekend.

Why it matters: Raven has always been a rockstar, earning national media coverage and a massive following.

  • Over 3,600 people — including visitors from around the world — have completed the Raven Run, each earning a special nickname from the man himself.

The latest: Raven and the Dark Shadows will play its first show Nov. 18 at the Wolfsonian-FIU to celebrate the release of its album "An Unkindness."

  • The performance will mark Raven's first-ever ticketed concert.

What they're saying: "Some doors are closing and other doors are opening," he tells Axios.

  • "It's kind of been my dream all my life."

Catch up fast: Raven has been trying to make it as a musician for decades, dating back to the 1970s when he recalls passing song lyrics to Johnny Cash in Nashville to no avail.

  • Raven became angry with the industry when, he says, he later heard a song on the radio using his lyrics without credit.
  • Running would soon become his outlet, and the streak was born on Jan. 1, 1975 as a New Year's resolution.
  • "It's one of the reasons I can't quit running," Raven says. "It's been my savior."

In the decades to follow, he would continue writing songs and sending them to publishers with the hopes of making it big.

  • He estimates he's written 1,800 songs to date.
  • Raven released his first album, "The Road Is Long," in 2021 as part of a biographical podcast.

What's next: Raven will complete his final eight-mile run this Sunday at 4:30pm.

  • Beginning on Monday, he will be cutting back to five miles a day, but plans to keep running every day to keep the streak alive.
  • "People depend on me," he says. "They come from all over the world. I just don't want to let people down."

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