Published on June 27th, 2012 | by Adrian Simpson0
Pamplona – what a load of bullocks
Being chased is fun. There’s a real thrill as you struggle for grip, heart beating, legs aching, hearing the clamour of footsteps behind you desperately trying to put distance between you and your pursuer. However, when that pursuer, or more accurately pursuers, happens to be several tonnes of Spanish bull, looking quite shirty and up for a scrap, then thrill may verge on sheer terror and you definitely know your at Pamplona.
And so The Running of the Bulls, in Spain, is annual event which is clearly for thrill seekers looking to push a few boundaries, or sometimes looking to get pushed into a few boundaries themselves. Since 1924 there have been 16 deaths and every year around 250 people are injured.
It started back in the 14th Century as cattle was herded to market, some of the herders used to hurrying tactics to get them there more quickly and then a race developed whereby locals began running in front of the bulls. Nowadays, as part of the San Fermin festival, it’s one of the main events in the global travel calendar and something of a must do for the gap year generation. Organisers are keen to point out that all participants must be alcohol free, must not incite the bulls, they must run in the same direction as the bulls and must be over 18 years old. Apart from that you just have to rock up dressed in white, with a red neck scarf and run like your life depends on it.
Never mind the bullocks
Hundreds of people line up to race the bulls each morning between the 7th and 14th July with thousands more lining the streets to cheer, wince and scream. Runners gather early to chant prayers to the statue of San Fermin for protection and at 8 am every morning a fire cracker is lit to announce the release of the bulls.
The enclosed distance is around 825 metres and leads to the bull fighting ring where some of the bulls would then compete later in the day. There are six fighting bulls that are released along with six steers to guide the group and then three more steers that are released afterwards as a follow up group. It passes through 4 streets of the Old City, with the quickest section being the San Domingo and the average pace being around 15mph.
Off your bullocks?
This is a phenomenally popular event with thousands of people descending on the city each year so it’s essential to book accommodation and travel well in advance. Also it’s important to remember that if you’re planning on doing it you have to be at the City Hall Square by 7.30 am, as after this entry is closed. However, if you can’t afford the trip and still fancy being chased through the streets then why not make your way down to any UK provincial town of a Saturday night and simply wait for the pitter patter of Nike Airmax.