Dave Connor lives in the small town of Center Harbor, New Hampshire, a town with a population of 1,096 that looks like postcard New England. The houses are about 100 feet apart, the road isn’t much more than a cow path and Dave lives on the steepest part of the steepest hill. 15 years ago, he saw lines and lines of vans going by. Thinking there was an accident, he went out to see. Instead, he saw Reach the Beach runners. So, the next year, he and his friend set up lawn chairs and cheered on the runners. Thus, the Loose Laces were born.
The Loose Laces are a Reebok Ragnar Reach the Beach staple. Every year, Dave Connor invites everyone within a mile radius over. He’s reunited with old neighbors and meets new ones. The group of two has grown to over thirty people cheering. They set up a buffet, tents, signs and the recent addition of a light up palm tree.
“For us it’s a party, for them it’s hard work to get up that hill,” says Dave. “But, they do appreciate it and they let us know that they appreciate it. That makes it all worthwhile and fun.”
The first runner typically passes by his house at 7:30 pm, the last one at 1:30 am. And the Loose Laces are there to cheer on every single runner.
“We live on the worst hill on the entire 200 mile course and despite of that, we have runners that would choose to run this leg just to run past us,” he says. “So, it’s become a thing and we look forward to it every year.”
Dave was a runner in high school. So, he appreciates the effort the runners put in to make it up the hill and loves being able to give them the extra motivation to get to the top.
“I’ll tell you what, I use to run the mile and two-mile when I was in high school,” he says. “But, my running days are long gone. I’m 69, so I’m not running anymore. I can hike till the cows come home, but I don’t run anymore.”
So, he cheers.
This year, he’ll be out, rain or shine, with the lit-up palm tree, the new addition of a dozen plastic flamingos and all of his neighbors.
Read more about the inspiring and awesome people along the Reach the Beach course. Joe Brockway is the 83-year-old who will be completing his tenth Ragnar Reach the Beach.