A massive fighting bull broke away from the pack at Spain's Pamplona bull run Sunday, parting crowds of runners and landing two in hospital with bad cuts and bruises.
The 640-kilogramme Navajito sped ahead of a pack of six bulls charging through the northern city, where daredevils dressed in white with red neck scarves fought for space to escape the horns.
Two Spanish men were injured in the run: one 29-year-old suffered cuts and bruises to his face and a 35-year-old badly bruised his back, the regional Navarra government said.
They were taken to hospital and discharged a few hours later.
The Red Cross said it also treated 80 others for minor injuries at the scene.
At the outset, the bulls burst out of the holding pen and thundered down Pamplona's narrow, cobbled streets.
Very quickly, Navajito broke ahead of the pack, a dangerous development, parting crowds of runners who cowered by the side or ran along with the bull, some even trying to touch its sides.
As the beast tried to swerve into one corner, it smashed against runners huddling along the side of the wall.
Moments later a runner fell over and was left sprawling on the ground in its path. The bull lowered its horns as it charged past, but the sharp tips just missed him.
At the entrance to the bullring, with the rest of the pack chasing behind, the bull charged over another half a dozen men who tumbled over each other in a scramble to escape.
The bulls took just two minutes and 27 seconds to cover the 850-metre course.
"It was incredible. You really feel alive. Time goes by really quickly, you are so concentrated in staying ahead of the bulls," said Carlos Saiz (27) from Madrid who like many others carried a rolled-up newspaper used to tap the bulls.
People clung to street lights and sat on window ledges along the route to get a better view of the run, the centrepiece of the San Fermin festival, which wraps up on 14 July.
Some wore colourful wigs or large plastic sunglasses as they swilled back sangria and beer from plastic cups.
"The bulls raced by much faster than I expected," said 23-year-old Spaniard Victor Batres, who watched the run behind a wooden barrier near the city's bullring where the course ends.
"I could never take part in a run, I would be too scared."
A 73-year-old retired architect, Victor Arrecivita Calvet, was gored in his left leg on Saturday during the first bull run of this year's festival.
He underwent surgery to treat a 25-centimetre long gash which missed major arteries and remains in hospital.
"These things happen and, this time, it happened to me," the Pamplona native told local newspaper Diario de Navarra.
"What bothers me the most is that it happened precisely on the opening day. Now I will have to watch the rest of the runs on television and I know I will miss being there."
Calvet has taken part in bull runs in Pamplona for the past 30 years. He was gored once before, in 1993.
Five others, including an Australian and a Japanese man, suffered cuts and bruises in slips along the route but were treated and released from the hospital on the same day.
Last year 20 500 people took part in the festival's eight bull runs, nearly half of them coming from abroad, mostly the United States, Australia and Britain.
Three years ago a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard to death, piercing his neck, heart and lungs with its horns in front of hordes of tourists.
Pamplona officials expect about half a million people will flock to the city of 200 000 residents during the festival, which dates back to medieval times.