The Great Bull Run brought a Spanish tradition to America on Saturday. In Richmond, Va., thousands of thrill-seekers descended upon Virginia Motorsports Park to run with the bulls.
Running with the bulls can be a dangerous event but the organizers made sure that, while there was some element of risk, the safety of those running the quarter-mile track was always stressed. Prior to each run, organizers discussed the rules of the run, including what to do in case you fall do. Despite the risk, the runners were quite relaxed, with many individuals drinking beer as they waited for their turn.
There is some element of strategy, as runners closer towards the center of the track were more likely to get up close with a bull whereas runners closer to the sides could easily jump over the fence and escape any danger. Runs were scheduled for every half hour and hundreds of runners would begin to line up, picking their preferred spot along the track. Organizers would make sure there was a clear path in the center for the bulls to run through.
With spots secured and a path cleared, the countdown began and soon 10 bulls were released onto the dirt track. In a ripple effect, the first runners began to move, signaling to those further down the track to be prepared as thousands of pounds of animal were on their way down the track. As hundred of runners began to run, there was some chaos and several falls throughout the day but no serious injuries were reported before the last race of the day.
To cap off a historic day, the organizers of the Great Bull Run let the 600 individuals who signed up to run with the bulls onto the track, along with 24 bulls. The last race of the day fit the mental image, for many, of what running with the bulls must be like. Hundreds of people and 24 bulls competed for the same space and the element of dangerous increased significantly. Several larger falls and accidents occurred during the last race, including three runners who had to be sent to the hospital, two for concussion-like symptoms while the third runner suffered more severe injuries.