For Potential Athletes

Finding the right fit is key…

If you are a post-collegiate athlete and are looking for a group to train with, we hope you’ll give us a look. Ragged Mountain Racing is a newly-formed, post-collegiate racing team modeled after such successful organizations as the Hanson’s Distance ProjectTeam USA Minnesota, and ZAP Fitness. We believe that Charlottesville, VA is an outstanding place to train. We also believe that we’ve developed the coaching and training resources that can help you take your career to the next level.

Our Philosophy

We believe that the collegiate training model, with some small modifications, is critical to successful distance training. We believe that a team-atmosphere (both for athletic and social support) is important. The primary disadvantages of the collegiate model are that 1) there is very little room for individuality and 2) it is difficult to focus all one’s energies on athletics.

Our goal is to provide a training environment similar to what you experienced in college (with athletes of various skill sets and ability levels), without the cookie cutter coaching mentality that is so common. You will be coached as an individual, but you will train as a team.

And, we will do everything we can to provide you with flexible, part time employment, as well as help you find affordable housing and possibly free health insurance, so that you will have the time, and energy, to truly focus on running.

How It Works

We do not have any strict athletic criteria for inclusion in our group. In fact, we believe that our group will be most successful if it incorporates athletes who have achieved various levels of success (and bring with them various levels of experience). That said, there are obvious financial considerations that we have to contend with. Acceptance to our group will therefore be done on an individual basis – before we commit to each other, we should have a frank discussion about goals, expectations, and coaching philosophy at the very least.

We have three groups of athletes: Funded, Emerging, and Community. We have developed objective criteria, based on performances that occurred within the last two years, for placement in these groups.

In terms of coaching, finding employment and housing, helping with health insurance, etc., we will do all that we can for every single member of Ragged Mountain Racing. The primary differences between the groups will be in funding and equipment allocation, and this is simply because we rely on our sponsors for these (thus, there is a limited amount of funding).

Injuries can complicate things somewhat, but here too we will be objective and fair. Since we will be basing our group placement on times achieved in the last two years – that means at any point in time, both your current season and last season’s times are eligible. Some might argue that this is an overly simplistic approach to what can be a complicated problem, but we believe that any other method for determining who gets what gives rise to subjectivity and the possibility of favoritism, which we will vigorously oppose.


Your primary point of contact, from a coaching standpoint, depends on your event, your aptitude, and the availability of our coaches. When you apply to our group, the current coaches will decide where you fit best, based on the above and their own abilities to fully commit to you. It is important to note, however, that coaching at Ragged Mountain Racing is a highly collaborative process, and that all three will be involved in your training plan, both in the short and long term. All three coaches will have access to your training logs and will discuss your progress regularly. Learn more about our coaches

Athlete’s Commitment

This is important, so we’ve got it on our website twice. Regardless of our athletes’ level of success, we expect that our athletes will strive to compete on a national or international level.

In addition to that, we expect that our athletes will do the following:

  1. Represent their group with dignity and pride
  2. Treat their fellow athletes and coaches with respect
  3. Become active members of the Charlottesville community
  4. Contribute to our team approach to long term/goal-oriented training

We recognize that running is a very individual sport. However, we are interested in athletes who feel they would benefit by training with a team, who would like to have the social support they found in college without some of the restrictions. We also want our group to provide a positive face for the sport, and demand that our athletes represent their group in such a manner. We also encourage that they contribute to the Charlottesville community through volunteer service projects (for instance, the Rivanna Trail Foundation and Charlottesville Women’s 4-Miler), as well as help out with local races (a certain number of which will be required).

Commitment to Our Athletes

We will do everything we can to provide you (our athletes) with an environment in which you can live and train to your maximal potential.  This includes free coaching and organized workouts, which we can provide for everyone, as well as part time employment opportunities.   Please see “What you Receive” for more on funding and other RMR perks.

What You Receive

Check back often, as what we are able to offer you is continuing to evolve. So far,

  • We have lined up the following for you:
    • Performance-based stipend. This can be used as the athlete wishes (put towards travel, housing, etc.)
    • 12 pairs of running shoes per year, plus gear as received by our sponsors (Asics, Nike, Mizuno, Saucony, Brooks, and New Balance).
    • Significant discounts (more than 50% off of retail) on running shoes that exceed your allotment.
    • Full access to the finest indoor athletic facilities (multiple gyms with extensive weight training and cardiovascular fitness equipment, 50m pool, training studios, etc.) in central Virginia.
    • Access to UVa’s renowned Gait Lab.
    • A dedicated team physician and nutritionist.
    • Weekly stability/core class and yoga class taught by RMR advisory board member, runner, and fitness instructor Heidi Johnson.
    • Massage Therapy at a significant discount
    • Possible flexible, part-time employment at Ragged Mountain Running Shop (20-25 hrs/week). This is NOT a requirement – athletes are free to seek their own employment opportunities, but we know from experience that the hours you’re needed most in a running store (roughly 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM) are compatible with working out twice a day. And, Ragged Mountain is a great place to work.
  • What we’re finalizing:
    • Sponsorship for health insurance
  • What we’re still working on:
    • Reducing the cost of housing

Where and How We Train

In Charlottesville, VA and the surrounding counties, which in our opinion make for some of the most beautiful running in the country. The majority of our runs are on soft surface (you can run a twenty mile loop around the entire city on single track trails, and there are several dirt roads within 10 minutes of the city center that allow you to run up to 20 miles of uninterrupted soft surface).

Dickwoods Road

Training grounds album

According to Outside magazine Charlottesville is the #2 city in the United States for trail running (behind Bend, OR). We will be posting some pictures and maps of our most common routes – in the meantime, check out Ragged Mountain Running Shop’s list of seven places to run in Charlottesville as well as the Rivanna Trails Foundation website.

Living in Charlottesville

So what is it like to actually live here? From an athlete’s perspective, pretty near perfect. In 2004, Charlottesville was rated by Money Magazine as the best place to live in the entire United States, and for good reason. The cost of living is reasonable. The city is beautiful. Despite its small size, because of the University and the city’s demographics, Charlottesville is overflowing with cultural attractions and things to do. Similar to other “small towns” that have major universities (Chapel Hill, Ann Arbor, Boulder), Charlottesville feels small but is never boring.

We have the following:

UVA Stadium

UVA Stadium


in Charlottesville, sports center around UVa Athletics, which finished 13th in the 2006-2007 Sears Cup. NCAA football and basketball are the major draws, however UVa also has nationally ranked soccer and lacrosse teams, meaning that the NCAA tournament passes through almost annually. Even if you didn’t go to UVa, by the time you leave Charlottesville (or, we should say, if you leave Charlottesville), you will bleed orange and blue.


As you would expect in a college town of this size, Charlottesville has a tremendous amount of culture to offer. The number of musicians who come through the area is breathtaking – a short list of those who played in Charlottesville over the last two years includes the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, Justin Timberlake (is that a good thing?), the Police, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, O.A.R., Ziggy Marley, Randy Travis, Nickel Creek, Fiona Apple, Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, Kings of Leon, Phil Lesh, and Wilco to name just a few.

Downtown Mall

Downtown Mall

Many musicians play at the Charlottesville Pavilion, located right on the Downtown Mall. For larger concerts, check out the John Paul Jones Arena, voted the best new concert venue in the United States for 2006. In the summer, Charlottesville hosts a free, outdoor concert series known as Fridays After Five. Other musical venues/options include The Southern Cafe and Music Hall, the newly renovated Paramount Theatre (a must see), and the Satellite Ballroom (venue closed but they are still putting on shows around Charlottesville).

Like film? Check out the Virginia Film Festival and have a look at Charlottesville’s independent film house, Vinegar Hill. Charlottesville has one of the highest numbers of movie screens per capita of anywhere in the country – but if what you like is theater, you’re still in luck – check out Live Arts to see why (Wednesdays are free).

Eating and Drinking

Being a University town, Charlottesville has all kinds of places to eat and drink, regardless of your favorite cuisine or budget. The Washingon Post just reviewed Charlottesville’s cuisine and raved about it, saying,

across the board, Charlottesville’s food scene is inventive, diverse and brimming with talent

Read the article from the Washington Post.

Additionally, central Virginia is rapidly growing wine country – if you don’t believe us, have a look at this article from CNN. Or better yet, take a look at some of our vineyards – Barboursville, Oakencroft, and King Family are just three of many – Veritas has started hosting monthly tastings/concerts in a beautiful, outdoor setting. And, if you don’t like wine, we even brew our own beer at Starr Hill and Blue Mountain.


If you want to get a better sense of what’s going on in Charlottesville, check out C-ville, the Hook, and the Daily Progress.

Educational Opportunities

For those of you interested in pursuing an advanced degree, or simply taking additional classes, the University of Virginia has many opportunities – check out their Office of Continuing Studies and job listings.

Geographical Proximity

To top it all off, Charlottesville is thirty minutes from two National Parks, less than an hour from two ski resorts, two hours from Washington, DC, and four hours from the Atlantic Ocean.

Still don’t believe us?

See what Wikipedia and the City of Charlottesville (obviously biased, but they speak the truth) have to say. The bottom line is, even if you weren’t interested in running, Charlottesville would be a great place to live. But, since you are interested in running, it’s that much better.

How To Join

Simple. Download our standardized application here, and either mail it to the address provided, or email it to Be sure to include your phone number so we can give you a call. We generally get back to you within a week, but this can vary somewhat as we evaluate everyone on a case-by-case basis.