COLUMBIA, SC — Matt Talley had never entered a competitive road race before this weekend, so his debut run in Saturday's third Quarry Crusher Run could have been daunting.
But the 24-year-old SCE&G employee navigated the rough terrain with relative ease as he placed first in his age group and 10th overall in the event that attracted more than 500 ambitious runners to the quarry run, held in Olympia as part of the Eighth Annual Olympia Fest.
The race pits runners against the elements as they travel a 3.72-mile route, nearly three-fourths of which features a 400-foot descent through granite cliffs to the quarry floor and then back to the top again.
Talley was competing with a group of co-workers who called themselves the Crushing Life Team.
"This was a team effort," he said. "We all work out together so we wanted to do something competitive together."
Patricia Jordan of Columbia was among some 28 members from Team Beyond Runners - a local training group - competing in Saturday's Crusher Run.
"The whole time I was trying to keep it together," Jordan said, adding it was easily the most challenging of the dozens of races she had competed in to that point.
"I wasn't expecting anything," Jordan said. "I was just expecting it to be tough. My goal was just to not stop."
Runners in Saturday's race got a rare look inside the landscape that is typically prohibited to the general public. The quarry was started in 1880 and is now one of South Carolina’s largest aggregate operations, processing an average of 10,000 tons of rock a day.
In addition to the run, Saturday's Olympia Fest featured family fun activities, arts, crafts, and live music. The Crusher Run is slated to be an annual event, but, only as long as the quarry continues to be operational.