Running with the bulls Palmer style, much different than in Pamplona

Race participants at the Running with the Bulls event will have a view of musk ox in their pastures as they run one of the three options available, Photo credit: Jay Guzman


The Musk Ox Farm is hosting its 15th Annual Running with the Bulls race on Aug. 6, starting at 1 p.m. The kids fun run 1k opens the event and is followed by a 10k run and a 5k run/walk. Executive Director at the farm, Mark Austin, said the race offers a beautiful trail and a unique course experience.

“[When] people think pastures they think just running around, but it can be a pretty — for people who are trail runners — challenging course,” Austin said. “We make the most of our terrain to make it interesting. It’s a beautiful, challenging course. It’s more than people typically expect on a farm.”

Unlike the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, Austin stresses that runners will be in close proximity to the musk ox but that they will only ever run adjacent to their pastures saying that, “Running with the bulls in Pamplona is very different than running with the musk ox.”

All proceeds from the race go towards the Musk Ox Farm, which has three main goals in its operation.

“There’s basically three pillars of our mission: to domesticate… to educated and to create positive economic opportunities for Alaska Natives,” Austin said.

Dani Biersteker is the education coordinator for the Musk Ox Farm, and she said the run offers people a chance to see musk ox in a different way.

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“You have people who come back and all of a sudden they are wondering why an animal did what they did when they walked by,” Biersteker said. “Why did they get up and start running towards them or why did they not even get up and care one bit? It’s always fun to have people come back and be like, ‘Oh I saw this group do this and they were running around in circles. These ones didn’t even notice we ran by them,’ and to be able to use that as a platform to talk to people more about why our animals are the way they are.”

Wolfgang Olsson graduated from UAA last spring with a degree in English and currently works at the farm giving tours. He sees this run as a new way to approach educating people who are less interested in lecture driven tours.

“It’s a physical way of interacting with the animals,” Olsson said. “Something I notice on tours is that not everybody is interested in the lecture format, hearing all about just the facts so it’s a different way of interacting with the animals.”

Bradie Tucker, UAA justice major and employee of the Musk Ox Farm encourages her Anchorage friends to run the event and enjoy live music and food vendors after the race.

“It’s an original race. You get to go race with the musk ox,” Tucker said. “We also have live bands and food vendors that come out too so there are things to do after the race, which is a lot of fun as well.”

Early registration for adults in the 5K and 10k cost $30 and for kids 12 and under the cost is $15. Early registration ends July 30 and after that date, registration will include an additional $5 fee. Registration includes a shirt, official race time, water and entry into a raffle for door prizes. There will also be medals for winners in the juniors, adults and seniors categories.