Thursday, March 31, 2011

Travel Bucket List - Running with the Bulls

First up on my travel bucket list is the running of the bulls in Spain.  Why on earth would I want to do that?!?  Why not!  Don't tell me that 90% of red blooded males haven't thought of running with the bulls made famous due in part to Ernest Hemingway's legendary book, "The Sun Also Rises."

(it's location in Spain)

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What is it?  The running of the bulls is an annual tradition that takes place in Pamplona, Spain each July.  It's part of a festival to honor Saint San Fermin.  The basic purpose of the event it to get the bulls from their corrals to the bull ring where some good old fashion (non-PC) bull fighting will occur.   Officials pre-line up the streets with wooden barricades to keep the bulls on track to the ring.  In most places, daredevil runners can slip thru the wooden fence if need be but the slots are too small for a raging bull.

Try watching this and NOT getting excited

For 7 straight days you can join in on the insanity at 8am so long as you're 18+, sober and crazy enough to do it.  Officials send up a rocket signaling the corral gates are open.  Runners sing a benediction twice, once in Spanish then in Basque, then it's go time.   Once you hear a second rocket, you know that all six bulls and six steers have been released.    Run boy run, you might be getting trampled by them soon...

About the run:  The run itself  is 903 yards (compare to a 100 yard football field Americans) and the speed of the beasts is usually about 15MPH.  Beings a typical runner can hit 15-20 MPH on a good day without inference, you don't stand a good chance of just running ahead of the bulls.    So keep good footing and keep your eyes out for barricades where you can jump thru and save your life (or ass)!

Have people died?   Yes.  Since 1910 15 people have been killed.  In 1995 USA runner, Matthew Tassio was killed by a bull from goring.  Each year about 200 to 300 people are injured but a lot of those are from falls on their own and aren't that serious.

So let's recap:  It's an event where you run with bulls risking injury or even death just to watch the bulls get killed that night just to honor a Saint.   Ok, I'm in!    Why do it?   For me, it's about facing a challenge in life full on.  This event is deep in history and tradition, I just want to do it to feel alive. 

1 comment:

  1. Not sure i agree with this, but there is one festival i would Love to go to - the Tomatino festival. Check it out -


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