Every serious runner has a bucket list. The New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, or the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington, D.C. all rank high on my list. I even dream about running in London, Tokyo, and Germany. But you will never see me at the Running of the Bulls in Spain.
The Running of the Bulls is a part of the non-stop fiesta of San Fermin, honoring the patron saint of Navarra. The Encierro, or the Running of the Bulls, began out of necessity as a way to get the bulls from outside of town into the bullring. Nowadays, it has become a spectacle of crowd-pleasing gore and suspense to see if the runners can outrun and outmaneuver the 1500 lb. bulls.
The Running of the Bulls begins each morning between July 7th and 14th at 8am to the sound of church bells. Two rockets fly overhead to alert spectators as the runners sprint ahead of the bulls over an 850 meter course full of sharp corners and cobblestones. The bulls cover the half-mile course in about 2:30. Needless to say, the runners have to be fast, nimble, and just a bit crazy.
[bctt tweet=”One race that’s not on my bucket list…”]
A third rocket is fired once all the bulls have entered the bullring. A fourth and final rocket is fired once the bulls have been safely corralled and the race has ended. Runners are not safe until that last rocket fires.
Four runners have been gored since the festival began on Tuesday. Unfortunate for sure, but not nearly as bad a fate as the bulls they ran from suffer. Professional matadors kill the bulls for sport and entertainment that same afternoon.
Not my idea of fun. But, probably a great rocking chair story for those who participate.