US stages Pamplona-style running of bulls

US stages Pamplona-style running of bulls
The US-based Great Bull Run will feature less aggressive animals than those used in Pamplona (above). Photo: Pedro Armestre/AFP
Americans who don't fancy making the long trip to Spain can now enjoy the thrill of being chased down the street by dangerous livestock in several US cities.

Up to now, Americans wanting to test their bravery by running with bulls have been forced to deal with all the hassle of international travel.

Now though, thanks to an event known as The Great Bull Run™, people living in the US enjoy Pamplona-style thrills on their own doorstep.

More than 5,000 people have already signed up for the first US bull run in Richmond, Virginia, organizers say.

Others similar events will take place in states including Texas, Florida and California. 

Planners for the events with the slogan 'Grab Life by the Horns' are at pains to take out that running with the bulls is not without its risks. 

"By participating in the run, you accept the risk that you might be trampled, gored, rammed or tossed in the air by a bull, or bumped, jostled, tripped or trampled by your fellow runners," the event website states.

The organizers are keen to stress, though, that there have been "only fifteen deaths in the Pamplona running of the bulls in the past 102 years!".

To reduce risks, the US bull runs will also feature "less aggressive animals" than those used in Spain, and there will places where people can take refuge from the stampeding animals.

"But you could still do," organizers warn.

If being charged by livestock is not cup of tea, don't worry. The US event also includes its own version of Spain's tomato-flinging Tomatina festival.

Known as the Tomato Royale, the US version of the Tomatina is "an insane tomato food fight".

Check out The Local's top ten images from Spain's running of the bulls 2013

"When the music starts, participants sprint to crates of tomatoes stationed around the arena and the free-for-all begins!" the US Bull Run website informs readers.

"Hurl tomatoes at your family, friends and fellow participants without guilt, inhibition or remorse!"

There are rules to this free-for-all though. Only people aged 14 and over can participate, and protective eyewear must be worn at all times.

Participants are also warned that the throwing of anything but tomatoes will result in their being ejected not only "from the Tomato Royale arena, but the entire Great Bull Run venue".

Those wishing to run with bulls, meanwhile, must sign a legal waiver stating they recognize the risks of injuries resulting from "contact or collision with live animals, including, but not limited to, bulls, steers, cattle or horses".

They must also sign up to accepting the risks of injuries including "broken bones, torn ligaments, deep lacerations or puncture wounds, exposure, heat-related illness, damage to internal organs, mental stress or exhaustion, infection and concussions".

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