Dickens said about 3,000 people ran with the bulls — at $60 to $75 each — and that there were two injuries, including a possible concussion and laceration to the face for one runner that required a trip to the hospital.
Dickens says that the danger is the reason the event has caught on. The Great Bull Run has already been staged in Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas, and plans to visit Southern California in the fall.
There were four runs on Saturday, with the bulls released from a pen to race down a quarter-mile section of the fairgrounds track for horse racing. Before each run, Dickens told runners to stay toward the fences on either side of the track, where the bulls would be less likely to gore them.
The bulls raced by in a cloud of dust. Runners sprinted alongside them, as the bulls came in waves of eight to 10. Many runners documented the event with their cellphones and GoPro cameras mounted on heads, hands and chests.
“You could hear them coming, and then you could feel the panic in the crowd as they started coming closer,” said Amy Anderson, who came from Santa Cruz for the event.
“All of a sudden you get this rush of hot beast running past you. And you remember you’re alive and you don’t want to die,” she said, laughing.
Albert Gomez came from San Jose to run with bulls, which he called “big and fast, faster than I thought.” He added, “I’m going to call my mom later and let her know that I’m OK.”
Not everyone came to run with the bulls. Spectators watched their loved ones sprint alongside or away from live bulls, and others came for a tomato fight later in the day.
A couple dozen people came to protest, too, chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Animal abuse has got to go!” in a fenced-in “free speech zone” outside the entrance. Jacinda Virgin was among the protesters, representing the group Direct Action Everywhere.