Why run? I'd be a rich man if I got a buck for every time someone asked me that question, and I'd be richer if I could supply an answer. But I don't want to. Truth be told, running is one of the most deeply personal experiences on this earth. It is spiritual in nature, and for that reason, every one who runs has their own unique reasons and motivations for doing so.
I just finished the book Running With Raven by Laura Lee Huttenbach. This book pays great homage to a man who started running to take control of his life back in 1975, and has literally not skipped a day since! Is he obsessive? Sure--find me a runner who isn't! I'd run during a hurricane, too! But if you are stuck on how crazy his streak is, you are missing the motivation. Robert "Raven" Kraft runs because it makes him feel alive. He draws in the thousands of people who have followed his daily pilgrimage of 8 miles on the Miami beaches because they are game for the quest. From all walks of life, from all levels of society, he is joined on his run by those seeking hope, redemption, or a simple sense of belonging. Along with the fascinating life of Raven, we get to know a unique cast of characters who join Raven on his 8 mile daily trek. He gives them all unique names, which only adds to the spirit of being a member of this ragged posse! In other words, what he has created is a "community" of runners.
No doubt I loved every minute of the book. Huttenbach does a great job telling Raven's story and doing justice to his humble intentions. This book should be in every library, and especially a high school library. I know on my high school running teams, the feeling of being part of some secret cult of madmen who run miles for the hell of it is a badge of honor. Aren't all high school kids longing to belong in some circle of social existence, anyways? Young runners and weekend warriors alike will find Raven inspiring. Like any good sports story, it will reinforce to readers that running is bigger than the act itself. It will reinforce the idea that everyone has life stories to tell, and there is no better venue for kinship and conversation than a good 8 mile run! I promise this book will make it quickly through your running crew if you pass a copy around.