PLEASANTON -- It wasn't the cobblestone streets of Pamplona, Spain, but being able to run with bulls drew more than 2,500 people to the Alameda County Fairgrounds racetrack Saturday.
"That was magnus! I'm about to go do it again," said Andy Greer, of San Francisco, after the first run. "It's all about the adrenaline rush. Dude, look how close that one came!" he said while watching video shot with a smartphone.
About 40 protesters with Direct Action Everywhere stood near the entrance, chanting and holding signs that read, "It's not entertainment, it's violence."
The protest was organized by Jacinda Virgin, of San Leandro.
"Bulls can be hurt, just like people. People sign waivers, but the bulls don't have a choice. We're here to give them a voice," she said.
The Great Bull Run organizer Rob Dickens said the bulls are not mistreated. Between races, they were sprayed with misters to keep them cool, as temperatures in Pleasanton neared 100 degrees.
"We love our bulls," he said.
At least one person was injured during the second run and taken away by ambulance. It was not known what the nature or extent of their injuries were. Fair officials and organizers were unavailable for comment about the incident on Saturday afternoon.
This was the first Running of the Bulls in California and the ninth since the American version of the event began in 2013. The runs were part of an all-day festival that included a Tomato Royale, where people pelt each other with tomatoes.
Alicia Cicairos was planning on both running with the bulls and taking part in the tomato toss.
"I think it will be a fun food fight," the Union City woman said.
Two animal rights group sued to stop the bull runs, but the case was not resolved in time to stop Saturday's event.
The 28 bulls were released in four groups, running down the quarter-mile track in less than a minute.
"It's like in the blink of an eye, they're on top of you," said Shane McCracken, of Tracy, after the first run.
A runner from San Jose said the event was fun, but there were too many people on the track at the same time.
"I'm a fan of professional bull riding. To have a chance to see them up close and see their brute force is amazing," said Michael Barraza.
Team Toro, with 25 members, was led by Esmeralda Hurtado, who said running with the bulls was on her bucket list. "I got everyone to join me," the Oakley resident said. Like other runners, they wore red bandannas, and several of the women in her group wore red tutus.
About 2,000 people watched the run, many of them there to support a friend or family member taking part.
"My son is running. If he gets gored, somebody's got to peel him up," said Shellie Munoz, of Fairfield.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.