Tips For Running While Being Safe At Pamplona’s Great Event
They charge through the streets, running madly through a barricade-lined street surrounded by tens of thousands of screaming people.
We’re not talking about the bulls, of course, but the mozos, the name for those who run with the bulls during the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It takes place each year from July 6-14 in what is one of the world’s great spectacles.
Generally, this is a safe activity but it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing or don’t follow any of the following PubClub.com tips for a safe experience.
Note: Running Of The Bulls Is Not Happening In 2021. Read the full statement here.
RUNNING WITH THE BULLS TOP SAFETY TIPS
• Stay at the head of the pack. Those who get into trouble are actually running with the bulls; you want to be ahead of them when you run.
• Position yourself near the stadium. The bulls are let go at the other end of town and charge toward the stadium, so it’s best to be close to the stadium when they start their run.
• As the bulls approach, run into the stadium AHEAD of the bulls.
• The people who get into trouble are the ones in the streets as the same time of the bulls.
RUNNING OF THE BULLS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME
• You must be lined up by 7:30 a.m.
• Besides beginning near the stadium, other start places are at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (City Hall Square) and the pink cducation building in the Cuesta of Santo Domingo
• There are six bulls in the run; they are accompanied by steers, which are not dangerous.
• The run is quick; it’s over in three to four minutes. Of course, it’s impossible to predict how a bull will react to the mass of people charging through the streets. It could stop, turn, get confused, then look to gore the first thing (such as a person) it encounters.
• The run distance is 825 meters, or about half a mile.
• You can watch from behind barricades; people who run sometimes leap over the barricades as the bulls approach them.
• It is said you can tell the bulls are near you when you feel their breath on your pants!
• The most dangerous portion of the run is when it turns onto La Estafeta Street, which is downhill; sometimes the bulls lose their balance and slide into the barricades.
• There are so-called “bull shepherds” (pastores) who run behind the bulls holding a stick to try and keep the bulls on the move (they also use the sticks to try and keep any fools jumping in from the crowd).
THE START OF RUNNING OF THE BULLS
The Encierro, as it is called, starts at the corral in Calle Santo Domingo when the clock on the church of San Cernin strikes 8 o’clock. This is preceded by a chant and shouts just before 8.
Listen for the words “A San Fermin pedimos, por ser nuestro patron, nos guie en el encierro dandonos su bendicion.” (We ask San Fermin, being our patron saint, to guide us in the bull run and give us his blessing).
This is followed by the a chant, repeated three times, at 7:55, 7:58 and finally at 7:59: “Viva San Fermin!, Gora San Fermin!” Two rockets are then launched and the bulls are released. They charge behind the runners through the streets from the corral to the bullring.
Once the bulls reach the ring, a third rocket is fired from the bullring to indicate the end of that day’s bull run. Then the bullfight beings and whether or not you decide to say and watch is up to you; it’s the kind of thing that will make an animal lover cringe.
This ceremony is repeated each morning during the duration of the festival.