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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Running with the bulls in Pamplona 
7th-Jul-2008 11:37 am
Let me see..

It's time again! The bulls ran through the streets of Pamplona, Spain, this morning. The bulls came from the Conde de la Corte ranch, black and beautiful, with unusually big horns. According to initial reports, one runner was gored in the foot, and six or seven were injured in falls or were trampled.

The run lasted 4 minutes 21 seconds, and you can probably see the video in a million places, but the two official ones are here:
http://www.encierrodesanfermin.tv/
TVE is Television de España, the public station. Cuatro is a private television network. Both are in Spanish, como Dios manda. TVE has better commentary (the main announcer ran often in his youth) but Cuatro has a nice map on the bottom of the screen. You may especially enjoy the final couple of minutes when runners have to coax a bull to run the right way. The videos load slow, so be patient.

The final bull arrived at the ring with a scrap of black cloth hanging from a horn. He won the trophy in a dust-up at the corner of Santo Domingo and Mercaderas streets, which didn't happen to get filmed. It looked to me like the hem of the sleeve of a tee-shirt.

You can find out more about the fiesta at the Pamplona municipal website (in English):
http://www.pamplona.es/verPagina.asp?idPag=1&idioma=5

Tomorrow's bulls will come from the Cebada Gago ranch and have a reputation for being big and bad.

A few facts about running with the bulls:

The running of the bulls in Pamplona is part of the larger San Fermin Fiesta. The bulls run every morning at 8 a.m. for a week. Meanwhile, more than 50 other events such as music, fireworks, and children's activities go on each day. People of all ages and from all over the world are welcome, but you must be 18 (and sober) to run with the bulls.

Some people run each year, every day. I watch the live television coverage each year, every day.

On average, a run takes  3 minutes 55 seconds. It covers a distance of 849 meters through the stone-paved streets of the historic center of Pamplona. A team of six steers (which are bigger than bulls) accompanies the bulls; they run every day and act as guides. In a good run, the people and the animals run as a single herd, and no one gets hurt. However, if a bull feels threatened or annoyed, he will attack. The Spanish fighting bull weighs up to a ton is bred to be aggressive.

About 2000 people run each day during weekdays, 3500 on weekends, and most of these run so far ahead of or behind the bulls that they are in no danger. In fact, more people die at the fiesta by getting drunk and falling off the city wall or into the river than are killed by bulls. A man died by falling off the wall just yesterday after the opening celebrations.

Many other Spanish cities and towns also organize runnings of the bulls as part of their summer fiestas, and because they have fewer participants, they are less crazy. I recommend running in "little Pamplona," held in San Sebastian de los Reyes, a suburb of Madrid, at the end of August.

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