Who is Robert Kraft, the only man allowed to run at Miami Beach?

A tradition that started nearly half a century ago could not be halted with a coronavirus lockdown, although the sand is less touched than usual.

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Robert Kraft, el único que puede correr en las playas de Miami

Robert Kraft has become a well-known figure in America. But people have been asking why he was given some special treatment for a Miami Beach run during the coronavirus lockdown.

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Kraft takes Miami for a run

At the beginning of January 1975, Kraft returned to his parents' home in Miami after failing to achieve his ambition as a singer-songwriter in Las Vegas and Nashville. He was short of career ideas following his early departure from high school without graduating.

Robert "Raven" Kraft is joined by other runners on the back beach in Lummus Park on March 23, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.

With little to do he could at least take advantage of the long South Beach at home and so began running around 13 kilometres each day there. He would depart at 17.30 from the lifeguard post on Fifth Street, but as the enjoyment of doing this grew, so did his ambitions. His love for doing this ritual have lasted to this very day and on Wednesday 15 April 2020, while the city was in lockdown, he was once again out there making big strides.

The boardwalk there is closed to the public but thanks to a doctor’s prescription for pains in his back, the former-aspiring musician is able to continue with his run granted via a local permit.

His runs have become somewhat of a tourist attraction, such has the regularity and longevity of them been. And while normally he runs alone, there have been occasions when others have joined him, to the point that in the 1980s he created the 'Raven' running club, which has seen a group follow in his footsteps, literally. Picture Forrest Gump but with slightly less beard and without leaving the city limits. He and NBA star LeBron James featured together in a 2013 Nike ad, such was the legend of his runs. And there's a documentary about him if you want to know more.

Robert "Raven" Kraft runs alone on the closed beach after being granted special permission by city officials on April 2, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.

"I want to give people hope,” the 69-year-old announced. “To show them that there is something that has not changed despite the world being turned upside down.”

"The only footprints that I see now on the beach are those of the birds and mine from previous days. I will continue, every day, God willing, if the ocean does not rise and the coronavirus does not catch me," he added.

Miami still allows for some exercise to be done during the restrictive measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus. They are close to reaching 8,000 cases in the city and nearly 150 people have already died.