While it will never become a Summer Olympic event, Spain’s Running of the Bulls should be on the bucket lists of any extreme sport lover. The event happens every year in Pamplona Spain from July 7th through July 14th. The event itself is part of the annual Fermin Festival and for those who have participated, it’s an event that they’ll remember for a lifetime! If you’ve ever considered participating in the run, here’s everything you need to know.
On the first day of the run, six bulls and six oxen are released into the streets along a pre-determined route. The entire route is right around 800 meters long and a portion is uphill so you’re going to need to work in some endurance training prior to participating! You can expect to be jogging alongside anywhere from 2,000-3,500 other people on any given day of the event.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that there is a certain risk involved with participating in the Running of the Bulls. In fact, each year 200-300 people are injured, though most of them aren’t too serious. Authorities report that the majority of those injuries are a result of falls and overcrowding in the streets. In the last 100+ years, only 15 people have actually been killed during the event. The two situations you should try to avoid are crowds of people “piling” up and bulls that are on their own.
Most of the time, the bulls will remain together as a herd, and the oxen are trained to “lead” them to the arena at the end of the route. However, when a bull gets separated it can become agitated and the likelihood of it targeting and charging individual people is much higher.
The best thing you can do to remain safe is to stay on your feet. If you fall you could be trampled by animals OR people. If you DO happen to fall and you’re near a bull, DON’T GET UP. You’re better off staying down and protecting your head with your hands. In most cases, the bulls will actually jump over you.
Finally, if you’re going to participate in the Running of the Bulls, do it sober! While the San Fermin Festival is a fantastic party, you’re going to want all of your wits in tip-top shape before running in front of thousands of pounds of animals charging at you at more than 15 miles per hour!