(CBS) — Thousands of runners are taking part in The Great Bull Run at the Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero on Saturday.

More than 4,000 runners were participating in the American version of Spain’s running of the bulls, ranging in age from 18-60. WBBM’S Kimberly Easton reports most of the runners were wearing white with accents of red while others were bolder, wearing all red.

“It was really exciting when they first came down the track at you,” said Jeff Walter. “You don’t realize how big and fast they are.”

Some of the runners had Bill Hillman on their mind. Hillman is the Chicagoan recently gored by a bull on the streets of Pamplona, Spain.

“The only one I was worried about was my wife because she saw it on TV. I wasn’t worried, because if I go, my life insurance is paid up, I don’t have to worry about a thing,” said Ron Cournaya.

Others were not as excited about this event.

“A lot of people are looking at this as entertainment they don’t realize that these bulls are tortured and tormented, they’re really kind of altered into this state of mind to make them run like this,” said Jim Glackin, a PETA volunteer.

Event COO Rob Dickens says they don’t whip or shock the bulls or do anything to make them run.

“We have two cowboys to follow behind to make sure that if a bull does stop or get turned around, they can lead it into the corral safely,” said Dickens.

There were six runs scheduled with 600-800 people running each time. The bulls, weighing as much as 1500 pounds each, were released 12 to 20 at a time.

This is the first time the bull run has taken place in the Chicago area.

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