Pamplona's police clear out potential runners on the streets too early. Each morning the police clear out at least 1,000 people who are not familiar with the run and try to start too far up the 900-meter course.
This is a long straightaway. James Michener said that if you’re in Paris and someone is trying to tell you how to run bulls in Pamplona, tell them you always run Estafeta and the conversation with end.
Beginners: There are four exits on Estafeta—at the two intersections. Use them if you need to, but note that you are probably safest on the street while running toward the arena. Start about halfway up Estafeta. Get an arm’s length away from the wall. It is vital that you wait until after the second rocket. It will take over a minute for the herd to reach you. A series of waves of panicked runners will flood past. Don’t run with them. Wait until the cameras on the balconies start to flash and pan with the herd. Then run.
Intermediates: The stones on Estafeta are very smooth and slippery. It’s like sprinting on a slip-and-slide. You can’t accelerate quickly or cut side to side. Start running early and fight for the center of the street. Do whatever you must to stay on your feet.
Experts: The legendary David Rodriguez dominates this section. He does it with iron will and courage. That said, even he still falls from time to time. Start running early and hold the center of the street. As the herd gets close to you, the crowd will thin. There is a bubble of space before the herd. Sprint full speed inside that small bubble. They’re fast here, so you better move quickly or they’ll use you for traction.