Anyone Want to Run With the Bulls?

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These Bulls Will Chase You!

Early this summer, July 7 to July 14, the famous “Running of the Bulls” is scheduled to take place in Pamplona, Spain. However, with the coronavirus, it may be rescheduled. When it takes place, the event will start at the Corrales de Santo Domingo and end at Pamplona’s Plaza de Toros (bullfight arena). During the event, more than one million people watch the runners attempt to escape the wrath of the bulls. During the eight days, thousands of runners participate in the San Fermin Festival.

Follow The Rules

The run has rules just like any other sporting activity. Those failing to follow the rules are eliminated from participating. Men and women who are 18 and older can make the run. They must be sober, no alcohol, and no drugs. The runners are not allowed to take photos while inside the barriers of the run. Although the running of the bulls was once limited to male participants this changed in 1974 when women were allowed to participate. 

One Big Party

Large crowds pack the plaza. They are greeted by the Mayor and members of the council. An announcement is made, “People of Pamplona, long live San Fermin!” The crowd then responds, yelling, “Viva,” and “Gora!” Like an explosion, the square erupts while hundreds of bottles of champagne are uncorked. The champagne is then sprayed all over the crowd. Throughout the day, people enjoy singing, dancing, and a lot of sangria combined with non-stop partying in the streets. There is also an official San Fermin costume which spectators wear. The outfit consists of a white shirt, white pants/shirt, a red sash, and a red neck scarf. 

The Run Begins

Those running must congregate at 7:30 am. The actual run begins 30 minutes later. The run is quite short, with a distance of 8.25 meters. The average time of the run from beginning to end is about three minutes. The streets through the old town area, where the event is held, are walled off. This is to make sure the bulls cannot escape. Usually, six fighting bulls are chasing the runners along the route as well as six steers, which are castrated bulls. Tension rises as the most dangerous part of the run happens at a closed curve. It is the longest stretch of the run. The last stretch is also risky as it leads into a dead-end street and then provides access to the bullring. Once the bulls enter the bullpen, the run has finished. The running of the bulls is considered to be an extremely dangerous sport. In recent times 15 people have died, and more than 200 have been seriously injured.

Participating in the running of the bulls is not for everyone – it’s certainly not for me!