Putting the Fun Into Fundraising

Vulcan Material Co.’s Quarry Crusher Run Series has raised more than $500,000 for its local communities.

What is now one of Vulcan Materials Co.’s signature community relations programs, the Quarry Crusher Run Series, began nearly a decade ago when race director Jaime Lomas was scouting a race planned near Vulcan’s quarry in Columbia, S.C. “Even being a long-time resident, I wasn’t aware that Vulcan Materials Company had a large quarry in downtown Columbia,” Lomas said. “I was completely overwhelmed by the vastness and true beauty of the quarry itself.”

As a runner, Lomas knows the appeal of challenging and unique race experiences so she asked the plant manager if the race could go through the operation. By 2012, the first race – which was limited to 200 registrants – was held. Since then, the Quarry Crusher Run has expanded to nine sites. Its most recent race, held in February at the Norcross Quarry, drew a record-breaking 952 runners.

“Being a good neighbor is important at Vulcan Materials, so a lot of the other divisions see it as an opportunity to build their relationship with the community,” said Carol Landrum, manager community and government relations, Southeast Division, Vulcan Materials Company. “The Quarry Crusher Run gives people an opportunity to run in a working crushed stone quarry and see what we do on a day-to-day basis while, at the same time, challenging them with perhaps the toughest physical run any of them will ever try. A lot of people run or walk just to come out to a quarry and see what’s behind those gates.”

Setting up for Success

Once the operation shuts down the night before each event, race set up begins. Strategically placed equipment provides photo ops that lure even hardcore runners into taking a quick selfie break.

Before the race, the site host has the opportunity for a little industry education. For example, prior to the Norcross event, Landrum shared a welcome and safety message with participants. She provided background on the quarry including how long it had been operating, the products it makes, and some of the projects it has supplied.

The race route is set along haul roads with quarry employees and volunteers ensuring that race participants stay safely along it. “We encourage our employees to answer questions and share what they do with participants as well as just cheer them on and be good hosts for our neighbors,” Landrum said. “This is their home away from home, and the Quarry Crusher Run gives them an opportunity to share it with the community.”

“One of my favorite things is the pride that the Vulcan employees put into the race, and the pride that they feel,” Lomas added. “One of the highest compliments we get from participants is about the Vulcan employees and their engagement that day.”

Newer race participants can learn from race veterans. This year, the Norcross team hosted leadership from the North Carolina team. The team observed race planning and execution the day before and of the event. It will host its first race on Nov. 21 in Concord, N.C.

Partnering with Communities

Each state host selects a community group that is both the event’s beneficiary and promotions partner. “We rely heavily on our community partners and their network,” Lomas explained. For the recent Atlanta event, Vulcan partnered with Gwinett County Public School, Georgia’s largest school district. Vulcan works with its partners to promote the event, primarily via social media where the Quarry Crusher Run Series has a strong following. “We keep our marketing dollars small because we want to be able to have a large impact in those local markets,” Lomas said.

“We’re running for a reason. At the end of the day, while we’re educating people about the critical necessity of our business and having fun with exercise, we’re also raising money for our community partners,” Landrum said. “We’re very proud that the whole series has raised more than half a million dollars to support community organizations around the country.”

Therese Dunphy has covered the aggregates industry for nearly 30 years, while also serving multiple roles as a public official. As the owner of Stone Age Communications, she provides communications consulting services to help aggregate producers build stronger relationships within the communities they serve. She can be reached at [email protected].

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