Running with the (Derby) Bulls

Lily Woodard, who goes by the derby name Slang Blade, chases a group of runners during the Bull Run 5K.

Nina Cusmano / Alligator

Allie Munch’s New Year’s resolution was to run a 5K race every month for the entire year.

The 29-year-old inspired her sister Audra Burrell and friend Amanda Jamison to participate in the races with her. Unfortunately, Munch was unable to keep her resolution after a car accident at the beginning of July in Jacksonville fractured her pelvis and left her with 12 weeks of physical therapy.

The women originally planned to run the 5K Bull Run together Saturday in Newberry for this month’s race. Instead, Burrell and Jamison ran the 5K in Munch’s honor. Both women raced in T-shirts with “#Running4Allie” scrawled on the back.

Jamison has known the sisters since 2005. She met Munch in a class they had together at UF.

“It was her who started this. She was our main motivator to run,” Jamison said. “Now we will motivate her to recovery.” 

This year was the first time the Bull Run was held. Organized by the Gainesville Roller Rebels and inspired by Spain’s Running of the Bulls, derby women from the Gainesville Roller Rebels, dressed as bulls with horns adorning their helmets, chased race participants in their roller blades. Runners were asked to wear white, and “bulls” marked their shirts with a red permanent marker whenever they caught a runner. By the end of the race, many runners had shirts covered with red marks from the “bulls.”

Jessica Snyder, the race director who’s been involved with the roller derby team for three years, serves as the head referee of the Gainesville Roller Rebels during their competitive matches known as “bouts.” Snyder, whose derby name is Jaded Jester, said last year they hosted a 5K, but it was not the same theme as this year.

“Not everyone can throw on skates and chase people, so we definitely thought it would be something interesting that people would want to do,” she said.

The race was at Tioga Town Center and had about 200 runners and 35 “bulls.”

It raised about $800 for Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, according to Snyder.

Neither Burrell nor Jamison know when Munch will be running again, but they said they’ll be crossing their fingers that it will be soon. By the end of the race, ink from the “bulls’” red markers joined the hashtag in Munch’s honor on their shirts.

[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 7/27/15]