The hour before the run is a tense time for any runner. The run starts at 8 a.m. sharp. The first stick-rocket signifies the corral gates are open. The second rocket signals the last bull has left the pen.
Beginners: Be at Town Hall by 7 a.m. If you are standing anywhere between the police line on Mercederes and the arena, a line of officers will push you off the course. Trust me, it’s real. They did it to me my first Fiesta.
Intermediates: Grab a newspaper at Carmelo’s Bookshop (36 Estafeta Street) and look for photos of your friends and yourself from the run the morning before. Don’t be a sardine at Town Hall. Go down to Santo Domingo to sing the blessing to San Fermin and hang back in the less-crowded stretches of Santo Domingo until the police line breaks at about 10-‘til.
Experts: You’ve been around long enough to know people. Find an apartment with a door that opens onto the run. Relax on a couch. Take a nap. Watch the previous day’s run on TV. Then at 10 minutes to 8 a.m. and the beginning of the run, walk down and enter the mass of soon-to-be runners on the street. If you are a true elite they’ll invite you to the runners mass.