July 11th, 2008


What you don't hear from Pamplona

On July 12, 2004, the bulls from Jandilla Ranch set a record in Pamplona, goring 8 runners in a single day. Many of them occurred in a pile-up in the entrance to the bullring. A bull gored Julen Madina, an experienced local runner, five times, picking him up twice by the gluteus and shaking him.

Today, the Jandilla bulls, much feared for their speed and fierceness, were a pleasant disappointment. No injuries, besides two falls, and no gorings -- even though, as you can see in the videos, the bulls had plenty of chances. They simply chose not to attack.

You will also see Julen running again, as he does every day, now reportedly with impressive scars. He runs in Estafeta Street, wearing white, with a shaved head and a blue brace on his elbow.
http://www.encierrodesanfermin.tv/ TVE has the most careful analysis.

Although the television broadcast captures the screams and shouts and a lot of other noise during the run, some sounds you can hear only if you're there. Perhaps their pitch is too low to be picked up by television microphones.

One is the rumble made by thousands of feet in sturdy running shoes that pound the stone pavement as runners pass.

But another sound is even more emblematic of a bull run. Even before the bulls arrive, and above all the other noise, you can hear the thunderous thumping of their hooves. The sound may be too low to be emitted by your television speakers, but in person, it is strikingly loud.

And if you are a runner and have managed to insert yourself in the prize place for running, directly ahead of the horns, you can hear the huffing of the bull's breathing and feel the hot breath on your back. You will be very aware that no human can outrun a bull, so soon you'll have to hurl yourself off to the side to let him pass. You might be too excited to realize until you're at the sidelines that you have realized Pamplona's highest and most beautiful feat, and Hemingway would raise his glass to you. ¡A tu salud, valiente! ¡Viva San Fermín!

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