Thousands take part in Great Bull Run

25 photos

Darkroom contributors Kaitlin Newman and Gabrielle LePore take you inside America’s first ever Great Bull Run.

Thousands attended the first ever Great Bull Run that was held Saturday at the Virginia Motorsports Park, just outside Petersburg, Va.

The event is inspired by the running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain.

Nick Gounaris, 23, and his friends, students at James Madison University, were planning an adrenaline-seeking trip to Spain to attend the real event when they heard about the Great Bull Run in Virginia. “I’m not trying to get hurt,” Gounaris said. “But sometimes you got to grab life by the horns.”

Three runs were scheduled at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They were split into a total of seven waves to reduce the number of runners to prevent the bulls from being intimidated. Each wave had about 500 runners and 12 bulls, with the exception of the final wave that had 600 to 700 runners and 24 bulls.

Participants traveled from all over the country, and many wore costumes or matching outfits to represent their teams. A couple came dressed as Dr. Seuss’ Thing ‘1’ and Thing ‘2’, while another group wore all white and red bandanas tied around their necks, similar to the outfit worn during the event in Spain.

Other activities included a tomato food fight called the Tomato Royale. Debbie Cohen, 60, from Virginia, walked out of the tomato fight, wearing remnants of broken tomatoes and a child-like grin.

“When my brother and I were little, we used to go into the garden, gather the rotten tomatoes and throw them at each other,” Cohen said. “I just wanted to do it again.”

Upcoming runs will be held in other cities including Atlanta, Houston, Florida and Chicago.