The fifth bull run of this year’s San Fermin festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona featured one goring and a handful of hard knocks. Despite the injuries, revelers are complaining that the traditional festivity is in danger of losing its heart-stopping thrills.
Yesterday, a small number of “runners” sat on the street before the releasing of the bulls. They say this year’s runs lack the usual excitement because the bulls mostly stay behind large steers. The steers quickly guide the bulls through the narrow, twisting streets to Pamplona’s bullring, where the bulls will be killed in bullfights later in the day.
Also protecting the runners is an sticky substance that has been applied for over a decade to the cobblestoned streets. The material helps prevent the animals from slipping and being separated from the pack—so a lone bull can’t terrorize the runners.
Reggie Gooden, a 60-year-old native of New York, says, “What they have done protects the bulls, and it also protects the runners, because nobody is going to get out in front of them now. . . . It is just the evolution of bull running.”
Even with these “safety measures,” a total of seven people needed to be taken to hospitals yesterday for treatment, along with another 67 people who were attended to by medics on site. A 27-year-old man was gored in the arm. Other injuries were from blows received in falls as runners tumbled out of the way of bulls along the 930-yard cobbled-street.
The nine-day San Fermin fiesta attracts about 1 million spectators. Hundreds of runners test their speed and daring against the bulls each morning.
(Revelers run next to fighting bulls during the running of the bulls at the San Fermin Festival, in Pamplona, Spain on Thursday, July, 11, 2019. AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)