Jennifer Yerrick, Quarry Challenge participant wrote, “Amazing place, friendly volunteers, extremely well organized, and AWESOME signs for encouragement!! Will be doing it again next year!!” Jim O’Callahan, participant and volunteer said, “Great event, far exceeded expectations! I would definitely do again.” “By far the most unique, most organized and most fun run / walk yet! A HUGE Kudos to all involved who made it happen and allowed us the opportunity to be a part of such a great event! Can’t wait to do it again next year.” “I look forward to next year.” And on, and on.
On September 24, 2017, in South Rockwood, Michigan, Sylvania Minerals, LLC (subsidiary of Great Lakes Aggregates), hosted 350 runners, volunteers, and walkers ages zero to 85 in the most unique 5K experience in southeast Michigan. What took months of preparation and hard work from Sylvania Minerals employees, Village of South Rockwood staff, and Friends of the South Rockwood Library volunteers, culminated in a well-organized, groundbreaking event that profited the local library and community just over $13,000.
Riding over from the library (where event parking took place) on a rented yellow school bus, a little boy exclaimed, “Look at those BIG TRUCKS!” As they rolled into Sylvania Minerals’ parking lot, there was an air of wonder and excitement at what was to come. Participants flocked out of the bus and immediately walked to the safety wall to look at the spectacular view of the quarry, many experiencing this view for the very first time in their lives. Who needs entertainment when you have views like that?
Lining up for the race, the runners were excited, antsy, and… ready. As they took off, the kids who were there to walk the “Fossil Walk”, a 1-mile Fun Run/fossil excavation in shale, pointed and followed the runners’ tiny t-shirt specs as they ran deep into the quarry. And then, the Fossil Walk started! Kids and families had a wonderful time walking, running and digging to look for fossils.
Finally, the moment we had all worked so hard to see: Todd Kelly, overall male and first place finisher of the inaugural Quarry Challenge, crossed the finish line with a time of 20:35, a 6:38 minute mile. Wow! Runners started crossing quickly, fossil walkers made their way back to the finish line with pails full of their finds, and everyone was jovial and happy with their accomplishments, including the volunteers who painstakingly planned out every last detail of this amazingly successful 5K family event.
The Friends of the South Rockwood Library would personally like to thank Sylvania Minerals and Great Lakes Aggregates for their unwavering support of the South Rockwood community and library. We wouldn’t be as successful without your support and commitment to making our community a better place!
Oh, and save the date for Quarry Challenge 2018: September 23, 2018. See you there!
Written by Kerry Guiliano, President of the Friends of the South Rockwood Library