July 9th, 2008


Why don't women run with the bulls?

Today in Pamplona, bulls from the Fuente Ymbro ranch ran. Things started well, but by the end of the run, there were plenty of problems. The last bull had become separated and had to be coaxed to run the right way. You can watch it, either the TVE or Cuatro television live transmissions, or both, here:

Toward the end, you'll notice a runner with a green and white shirt grabbing a bull's tail to keep it from charging the herdsmen again. Normally, runners should not touch the bull, but in this case, it was the correct maneuver to try to control the bull. The man in the green and white shirt is from Madrid and is a very experienced runner who always wears that shirt -- it's lucky, I guess.

Less lucky was a 22-year-old Californian who you can see being gored in the abdomen in Estafeta Street just past the Mercaderas corner, the sharpest turn in the route. He was one of two runners taken to the hospital today, and initial reports said his wound didn't seem serious. The other runner was a Greek with face  injuries.

I saw a few more women than usual in the run, but still, hardly any run, and of those, many are foreigners. Despite rumors, women aren't barred from running, but it remains a guy thing. In Pamplona, it has long been a rite of passage to manhood.

Why don't women run? Perhaps the ordinary day for a woman is already one long run with bulls, dangerous enough by itself. I know I won't run, though I can't fully explain why, even to myself.

Last year, however, some women proposed a women-only "run with the cows" for parity. The idea didn't get very far, and it was only meant as humor, anyway.

In fact, fighting-breed cows have horns and can be as fierce as their sons the bulls. Young cows are released into the Pamplona bullring after the run to entertain the crowd as they charge the runners who have gathered inside. Young cows are also used to train would-be bullfighters, and they're plenty dangerous. One recently killed an experienced matador giving a class.

It's something that the news reports and commentary about "The Running of the Cows" didn't seem to know:

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    horny not running scared
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