For eight consecutive mornings six half-ton Spanish Fighting Bulls and several bell-oxen rampage through the streets of Pamplona. Whether you’re planning to attend this year—for the first time or the tenth—or just dreaming of participating one day in the ultimate red-blooded adventure, you’ll want to know what you’re doing and how to get the most out of the experience. With that in mind, we’ve put together the ultimate step-by-step guide on how to run right, breaking down our top 10 tips so that they’ll work for you, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert.
The duty of all Mozos (bull-runners) in the Encierro (bull-run, enclosure) is to help transition the herd from the pens at the edge of town to the corrals inside the arena in the swiftest and safest way possible. Runners are meant to lead the herd with their bodies, much like herding dogs with a flock of sheep. The experts do this by running on the horns (running just inches in front of a bull’s horns), but we don’t recommend that if this is your first time out.
The absolute worst thing a bull-runner can do is to interfere with the herd and cause an animal to separate from the pack. As we’ve seen in the past, interference often leads to the severe injury or death of a runner. The Spanish do hold a grudge, even after they’ve beaten you bloody. That word of warning out of the way, know that, done right, running with the bulls can be a whole lot of fun.
- Before the Run
- Santo Domingo
- Town Hall
- La Curva
- After the Run