The Running of the Bulls, Day 4

A collection of sights and quick observations from our man on the ground at the 2012 San Fermin festival, including a conversation with brothers Peter Milligan and Aryeh Deutsch

A lone fighting bull from the ranch of Cebada Gago rounds a corner.     Photo: Jim Hollander

It was a bad morning in Pamplona for two brothers. Peter Milligan of Philadelphia and his brother Aryeh Deutsch of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, have been running with the bulls since 2004. Each has exactly 53 runs under his belt, because they always run together. And in case they get separated during the run, they have a special meeting place. This morning, Aryeh didn’t show up. Peter had a fairly calm look on his face as he paced the Plaza de Castillo, though it masked the unease that was building beneath. "If Aryeh isn’t in the hospital right now, I’m going to kick his butt when I see him," Peter told me.

Peter was worried, but he thought it possible his shorter brother might be having some trouble climbing out of the arena. "Some of us are more challenged with height and need a boost because they don’t let you out and you have to climb over the wall," Peter said.

When Peter went back to his hotel he received a message from the hospital that a bull had gored his brother. "I rushed to the hospital, then they take me to a room with a guy who has an IV in and was about to have emergency surgery started on him," Peter said. "I couldn’t see his face, but then I realized that he was a tall guy and I was relieved because he couldn’t possibly be my brother."

The horn of a black suelto penetrated Aryeh’s right calf in the Callejon section of the run. "I was running when the first pack of bulls passed me and the next thing I know I see this black suelto coming toward the fence," Aryeh said. "I’m running from him then I trip over some people. The next thing I know I’m on the ground. When I hit the ground I was trying to scoot under the barricades. Then I look up and the bull was basically on top of me and I just tucked under and got out of the way."

The bloody wound surprised Aryeh. "I didn’t know he gored me," Aryeh said. "In fact, I thought that he stepped on me."

It was a shallow puncture with plenty of flesh hanging out of it. When asked how bad it hurt, Aryeh laughed and said, "It didn’t hurt until the doctor stuck his finger in it."

The wound hasn’t stopped his urge to run. "The first thing I did is ask if I could run tomorrow," Aryeh said. "They said no, of course not."

But the doctor's orders may be quickly forgotten. "The only way I won’t run tomorrow is if they decide to amputate," Aryeh said. "Running of the bulls is a thrill. I hate roller coasters but I love the running of the bulls."

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