Ragged Mountain Family
40 Years of Milestones
~In 1979 Mark and Cynthia met on a college field trip at Michigan State and were married a year later in 1980.
~In 1981, Cynthia won the Marine Corps Marathon and qualified for the first ever Women's Olympic Marathon Trials (1984).
~In the fall of 1981, Natalie Heyward, Cynthia’s friend and running partner, offered to help us open the shop. Then her father, Henderson, came up with the Ragged Mountain name. His reason: “that’s the beautiful mountain range we live in!”
~In January, 1982, Cynthia and Mark opened the Ragged Mountain Running Shop in a tiny 500 square foot space upstairs in an old house at the end of tree lined Elliewood Avenue, with the goal of providing the best service to runners of all abilities.
~In 1982, our graphic artist, Neal Gropen, after thumbing through a pile of our photos, chose a picture of UVa runner Vince Draddy to use as our shop t-shirt logo. Vince had just become the first Cavalier in school history to break the 4 minute mile and during the next 40 years his silhouetted shirt has been worn by over 100,000 folks!
~Demographics of our first customers in 1982: 100% were runners, 80% were male, their average age was 25 and they all came from within Central Virginia.
~In the summer of 1982, Mark and Cynthia, along with the help of dear friends, Bill and Ellen Kelso, directed their first footrace: The Chicken Run Five Miler in North Garden. The event, which attracted over 100 racers, raised over $1000 for the local Volunteer Fire Department. In 2021, the Lorenzoni family, directed their 900th race and along the way, thanks to the help of countless Charlottesville Track Club (CTC) volunteers, those events raised over $10 million for local causes.
~In 1983, Cynthia's brother and lifelong running buddy, Jim Wadsworth, came to work with us for a few years.
~In 1983, Cynthia and Mark, on behalf of the CTC, persuaded the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to close a section of Garth Road to auto traffic (for 45 minutes) for the first ever Charlottesville Women's Four Miler.
~In the spring of 1984, Mark and his longtime friend, Dave Murphy, began co-directing, for the CTC, the Charlottesville 10 Miler on its new "city course" (one they had designed along with the help of a dozen other running buddies). They directed the race together for 12 years, and it has grown from 350 to 2500 runners.
~In the summer of 1984, Ragged Mountain moved down the street to a much bigger location at #9 Elliewood Ave (still upstairs).
~In the fall of 1984, Mark was flattered to be asked to serve on his first community board of directors (Camp Holiday Trails). Since then, Mark and Cynthia (and subsequently their two oldest children, Alec and Audrey) have proudly served on over 30 not-for-profit boards and task forces, like the Virginia Institute of Autism (Harry and Georgia Webb pictured).
~In March of 1985, Cynthia and Mark had their first child (Alec). Audrey (1987), Adrian (1989) and Annie (1997) would follow.
~In 1986, we hosted the first Ragged Mountain Cup, in an effort to bring our local high schools, both large and small, public and private, together in one meet. The first Cup, with four schools, was held at Pen Park, then moved to Towe Park, and is now in it's beautiful current home at Panorama, with 17 schools participating.
~In the winter of 1987, Mark helped the CTC kick off its first ever community training program: The 10 Miler Training Program. That program, which Mark continues to coach and remains popular today, has grown tremendously, thanks to the volunteer help of countless CTC Captains, who have guided 10,000 out-of-shape folks safely to the finish line of the 10 Miler!
~In May of 1988, Margaret Groos, Ragged Mountain's first employee and Cynthia's training partner, won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
~In May of 1990, Mark co-directed, for the VDM, The Discovery Dash, Central Virginia's first ever all-kids footrace.
~In June of 1991, we debuted the Bruce Barnes Mile, in memory of our beloved longtime employee. The race is still held annually in Bruce's memory and has grown from 50 to 125 runners over the years.
~In the summer of 1996, Mark had the honor of riding with Sgt. Ronnie Roberts in the lead vehicle, just a few feet ahead of the Olympic Torch bearers, as they ran through the streets of Charlottesville en route to Atlanta for the Games.
~In 1997, Mark was honored to be named the Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Person of the Year.
~In the winter of 1999 Ragged moved again (still upstairs and still on Elliewood) to a location over twice the size...~3500 square feet) to #3 Elliewood.
~In the summer of 1999, Ragged hired our first full time manager, Neal Rioux (in navy shirt), a beloved and trusted employee.
~In 2000, Ragged Mountain helped start the QCC group Walks (now Cville Walks), which ultimately, over the years, has helped countless neighbors get healthy exercise into their lives.
~In 2004, Cynthia became the second woman to be inducted into the Marine Corps Marathon Hall of Fame.
~In the Spring of 2005, Alec won the Charlottesville 10 Miler, making him and Cynthia the first ever mother/son duo to share that honor.
~In 2006, we hired our first female managers: longtime Ragged Mountain family members Julia Bellis and Melissa McDowell.
~In the fall of 2006, Ragged moved downstairs (a first) at #3, after their longtime Eljo's neighbors and friends moved off The Corner.
~In the winter of 2007, over 60 current and former employees, under the secret leadership of Scott Jackson and Anthony Holbrook, surprised Mark and Cynthia with a big 25th Ragged Mountain celebration.
~In the winter of 2008, Mark formed and began coaching Boston Bound...a dozen like minded folks, including Heidi Johnson, our first "Captain", who wanted to train together for the Boston Marathon. Over the years, that group has grown to over 300 community runners, including folks like Harry Landers, who is currently training for his 14th straight, and Linda Scandore, who finished 4th in the 70-74 age division in 2021!
~In the summer of 2008, Mark and Cynthia, along with longtime friends, Dr. Robert Wilder and the Thieles, formed and fully funded Ragged Mountain Racing (RMR), a team for post collegiate athletes wanting to pursue their Olympic Trials dreams. Over the years, several of those athletes would make it to the Trials.
~In 2011 Ryan Cox, a rising freshman at CHS, came to work at Ragged, making him our first ever "legacy" (his mother Kara had worked for us in the late 80's). Since then, we've had several "offsprings" work at Ragged.
~In 2012 Carolyn Chapman brought in her granddaughters to buy shoes and, in the same year, Al McLearen brought in his grandson to do the same. This represented the first time a third generation from families, who had been shopping at Ragged since we opened, bought shoes from us.
~In March of 2013, Ragged Mountain hosted, along with Dr. Wilder and the UVa Runners Clinic, our 10th Virginia Festival of the Book talk. This time was our largest, as over 1000 folks packed the Paramount to come listen to two American Icons: Congressman John Lewis and Olympic Bronze Medalist John Carlos, who Mark had the honor of introducing.
~In 2014, Cynthia was asked to be the honorary chair for the Manchester Road Race, America's oldest Turkey Trot, on the 40th Anniversary of her being the first female winner.
~In 2014, thanks to our customer's generosity over the years, we donated our 100,000th pair of shoes to those in need.
~In the fall of 2014, Mark and Cynthia were honored as the MS Society's Dinner of Champions recipients. Future UVa President and close family friend, Jim Ryan served as the emcee.
~In August of 2015, Mark and Cynthia, thanks to Lawren and Alec, had their first grandchild (James). Emme was to follow in 2018.
~In 2016, Cynthia was honored, along with 6 other community neighbor leaders, like Jaffray Woodriff, with the Founding Cville Award.
~In 2017, Nathan Tumperi came to UVa from Atlanta and started working with us, making him the third Tumperi sibling (Lindsey and Marshall had preceded their brother) to be employed at Ragged...a first!
~In 2017, we changed our name to the Ragged Mountain Running and Walking Shop to reflect the evolving demographics of our customers. Over half of our patrons now use walking as their primary form of exercise. The other demographics that have shifted dramatically since we opened in 1982: average age is now 50, over half are women and 25% come from outside Central Virginia!
~In the fall of 2018, co-Women's Four Miler directors Audrey and Cynthia, on behalf of the CTC, were able to donate $270,000 from the race proceeds, to the UVa Cancer Center, which brought the running total over the $4 million mark.
~In the summer of 2019, our beloved Rachel Rose Ward, after 12 wonderful years of amazing dedication, worked her last shift at Ragged. She is to this day our longest serving employee.
~In September of 2019, Cynthia and Mark walked across England along the 200 mile Coast to Coast path. Their passion for walking, along side that of the community, led to us starting a monthly group walking club called Ragged Walks.
~In 2019, we celebrated longtime Ragged Mountain family friend, Dr. Bob Wilder’s (and his crew’s) 20th year of helping us as our Race Medical Director…over 250 races total and all on a volunteer basis!
~In January of 2020, Mark and Cynthia turned the ownership of Ragged Mountain over to their two oldest children, Alec and Audrey, who had each been working at the shop for over 20 years and had wanted to continue the mission of the family business for many years.
~In January of 2020, Ragged was thrilled to start leasing the upstairs space to our new neighbors, the UVa School of Data Science.
~In May of 2020, due to the pandemic, Ragged moved totally outdoors to serve our hearty customers, and thanks to their patience, flexibility and unending support, we were able to stay in business through 100 degree temps, driving rain and sub freezing temps over the next 14 months!
~In August of 2020, Audrey married Stewart Sackson, a former Ragged Mountain employee, making them the 10th "Ragged Mountain Marriage"
~In 2020, thanks to the incredible generosity of longtime Ragged Mountain friend Rick Perrault, were able to distribute over 20,000 N95 masks to our neighbors in need.
~In 2021, Mark celebrated 40 years of coaching community athletes and groups, like the Wednesday “Speedsters”
~In the fall of 2021, we hired our 1000th employee. How lucky we have been to have so many wonderful Ragged Mountain "Kids" over the years!
~In 2022, as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we take stock of just how truly grateful we are for the countless memories and friendships we've had since we opened. We truly cherish them. And we also wanted to take a moment to thank all of our wonderful 40 year customers, who have been supporting us since we opened. Everyone's ongoing loyalty means the world to our family!