4) Arrive at 7 a.m. and Stand in the Right Place

Spanish riot police

A line of Spanish riot police direct would-be 'runners' off the street.     Photo: Copyright Jim Hollander, not to be reproduced in any form

The run starts at 8 a.m., but you'll want to get there early. You must wait in the "good zone" (see map). Police lines form at both ends of the good zone. At 7:30 a.m. another police line forms just past Town Hall, and this line begins a slow methodical walk along the course to the Bullfighting Arena. They pick their biggest, craziest, and most sadistic police officers for this task. There’s always around a thousand bozo tourists standing in the "bad zone," foolishly expecting to run. The police push all of these would-be runners back with their huge, glossy black nightsticks. Any big mouthed tourist who protests gets an abrupt wake up crack to the skull. Those who continue to resist get beaten exponentially harder and then dragged off the course by their ankles. A gate swings open at the two intersections along Estafeta Street and every single bozo tourist gets pushed off the course. How do I know? This happened to me in ‘05, my rookie year. The police line breaks at ten to eight, and you can walk up the course to any starting position you want.

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