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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Day 8: finally, some fun 
14th-Jul-2009 11:32 am
Gredos4

In this the last running of the bulls in 2009, relatively few runners filled the streets of Pamplona, and the encierro went fast and smooth, only 2 minutes 20 seconds. The bulls from the Nuñez de Cuvilla Ranch were small but strong. One broke away from the pack and charged down the street, shoving runners out of the way, and arrived at the ring in only 1 minute 50 seconds, almost record time.

No gorings or major injuries marred the run, and I laughed to see experienced runners get tossed aside. They know how to fall and they expect to fall, so they had a good time, too.

La Cuatro has a nice slow-motion video of today's run that ends with the dismantling of the fences for the year, a tribute to the runner who died, and the statue of San Fermín that presides over the run:
http://www.cuatro.com/sanfermines/videos/octavo-encierro-camara-lenta/20090714ctoultpro_7/

Here's the video from TVE, with the always intelligent and educational commentary by Javier Solano:
http://www.rtve.es/mediateca/videos/20090714/ultimo-encierro-san-fermin-2009/543793.shtml

If you want to run in an encierro, or just witness one, I recommend the fiestas at San Sebastian de los Reyes, a suburb of Madrid, which will be held August 26 to 31 this year. It's known as "Little Pamplona" for its careful organization and attention to safety. Not every encierro is like that. In El Pilón, the course runs down a mountain, so if you fall down, it might be a long way down.

"Sanse" attracts many of the same skilled runners you've seen in the videos from Pamplona, and it has all the adventure without the insane crowds. The Madrid subway will get you there conveniently, with a station right next to the bullring.

More information (in Spanish):
http://www.el-encierro.com/

Here's my blog entry after attending an encierro at Sanse in 2007:
http://mount-oregano.livejournal.com/16123.html

At midnight tonight, the Fiestas de San Fermín end with fireworks and the "Pobre de mí," a candlelight gathering in front of City Hall. Everyone sings, "Pobre de mí, pobre de mí, que se han acabado the fiestas of San Fermín. (Poor me, poor me, the fiesta of San Fermín is over.)" Then Pamplona immediately begins the countdown to next year.

— Sue Burke

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