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Running Of The Bulls American-Style
More than 4,000 people, some dressed in superhero costumes, took to the dirt in America's inaugural version of Spain's famous running of the bulls festival.
Adrenaline junkies, many waving red flags, dodged 1,000lb bulls as they sprinted down a dirt track in rural Virginia on Saturday for the Great Bull Run.
It was the first stage of what promoters say will be a national, 10-city bull-running tour based on the annual stampede in Pamplona.
"I just didn't want to die, to get trampled by bulls and die," said Cat Jones, 22, who traveled from New York City for the run.
"It was a rush...a shot of adrenalin," she said.
The first six runs had about 500 runners each, chased by 12 bulls, and the last featured 24 bulls chasing 700 runners.
Some 8,000 people came to watch the stampede, said Great Bull Run co-founder Rob Dickens.
Two runners were taken to hospital with concussion.
Every participant had to sign a legal disclaimer before taking part in the event at Virginia Motorsport Park, a drag strip south of Richmond.
Mr Dickens said it was "doing something dangerous and living to tell the tale" that attracted participants.
Animals rights groups, such as PETA, have criticised the event, saying it puts stress on the bulls. But the organisers said no bulls were harmed.
The next Great Bull Run is scheduled for October 19 in Atlanta. Other cities on the nationwide tour include Houston, Tampa and Los Angeles.
The event had another Spanish twist when 50,000 tomatoes were used in a massive food fight in the Tomato Royale, a homage to La Tomtina held every August in the town of Bunol, near Valencia.