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 leader in his son's boy scout troop and supporting his daughter at the 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

Zach Varga, Fitting Specialist

Zach is a student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Zach’s parents bought the store when he was a baby, so he grew up in the Chattanooga running community. Zach is a sophomore at UT but loves to help out at the store when he’s back in town. He looks forward to the relaxed atmosphere at Front Runner and loves to hear everyone’s stories.

"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

Mathis young, Fitting Specialist

Mathis is a shoe fitting specialist who has been with the store since 2022. Mathis has a passion for exercise and the outdoors and has completed many half-marathons and one triathlon. He's looking forward to completing an Ironman 70.3 and his first marathon in 2024.

"I love working at Front Runner and getting to help people whether they are getting into running, or have been running for years.” - Mathis

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

Rachel Mason, Fitting Specialist

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".