Meet Our Team

At Front Runner, our staff are what makes us unique. Each employee equally contribute to the company’s reputation of displaying integrity, a strong customer-first drive, and an overall positive atmosphere. Learn about your Front Runner staff below!

Chad Varga, Owner

Chad, along with his wife Denise, have been the owners of Front Runner since 2001. Chad earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his master’s degree from University of Tennessee in Engineering and was also a part of the Texas Instruments National Running Team. After 21 years of engineering Chad decided to take his love for running one step further and became the store owner of Front Runner.

In addition to his community involvement, Chad is also a proud father of two. He enjoys serving as a Scout Leader for his son’s Boy Scout group and supporting his daughter at University of Tennessee.

“I enjoy everything about owning the business. The relationships with the customers, employees and suppliers, to helping people live a healthier lifestyle.” – Chad

Andrew Dorn, Manager

Andrew highly contributes to the success at Front Runner as the manager. He is responsible for the majority of product ordering and anything else the day may bring. He has been involved in the industry for over 15 years and has served as the manager at Front Runner since 2010. Andrew grew up in Portland, OR and earned his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Bryan College in 2009.

Andrew fell in love with distance running when he started running track in 9th grade and continued his running career in college.

Now Andrew still enjoys running but also uses his time to lift weights and private coach too. When he is not at Front Runner you can find Andrew writing, reading, or playing trivia.

Natalie Varga, Fitting Specialist

Natalie is a University of Tennessee student as a member of the chancellor’s honors program. Her parents bought the store when she was a baby, so she grew up in the Chattanooga running community. As an employee now, she’s comfortable with the customers and loves to hear everyone’s story. Natalie enjoys fashion and picking out colors and styles that people will like. She looks forward to the relaxed atmosphere at Front Runner and how much fun she has at work.

“I love working at Front Runner mostly because I get to meet new people and visit with those I already know. I’m also proud to be around someone like my dad, who is respected and loved by many for all that he has done for others and  accomplished as a runner and person.” – Natalie

Zach Varga, Fitting Specialist

Zach is a Senior at Notre Dame High School, with a passion for both running and soccer. He grew up playing with shoes in the store, and now is working on filling his dad's. Zach is entering his fourth year of cross country and soccer and has also earned his Eagle Scout.

"I love working at Front runner because you never know who is going to walk in the door and what new people you're going to meet." - Zach

Wendy Ransom, Fitting Specialist

Wendy, founder of Emily’s Power for a Cure, a foundation in memory of her daughter Emily’s fight against Stage IV Neuroblastoma, uses running and triathlons to raise awareness and funds to find the cure of Neuroblastoma. Wendy has completed 3 full marathons, 3 Ironman 70.3 distances, and numerous half marathons/5K’s. Wendy is also a devoted wife to her husband Jonathon and four children (Jon Pat, Max, Molly, and Emily). 

When it comes to swimwear at Front Runner, Wendy knows best! As a mother to three swimmers, one who swims at Drexel University and another whom was recently signed at Southern Illinois University, Wendy has been consistently involved in the swim community for years and can help any swimmer find exactly what they need.

“My favorite part about working at Front Runner is meeting new people and seeing old friends that come into the store!” – Wendy

Dennis Call, Fitting Specialist

Dennis is a long time employee at Front Runner, officially retired in 2019 but still helps out on occasion! He started when Chad opened the store in 2001. Before joining Front Runner, Dennis was a material manager at Mold Tech Electronics.

Dennis is eager to assist anyone who walks through the door and promises they’ll leave with a smile!

Rachel Mason

Rachel is an avid runner for over 25 years that you've probably seen humbly take the podium at local races a time or two (three, or four...).

She is a mother to three girls while juggling training and helping at the store. Rachel helps customers in all walks of life, but can relate to moms the most. "Having three kids makes life extremely busy, so I have to be creative with my training days." she says. Pictured is Rachel running the Boston Marathon in 2022 just 5 months postpartum in a time of 3 hours and 22 minutes.

Rachel says her kids motivate her to keep running her best, "I enjoy pushing my body to its limits and setting a healthy example for my daughters".