3) Don’t be a Vallente (Brave One)

Jun 23, 2011
Outside Magazine
Running into Bullring

Spanish riot police on the "vallados" just at the entrance to the bullring as they keep the "valientes" running into the ring.    Photo: Copyright Jim Hollander, not to be reproduced in any form

If you really want to run with the bulls, you need to look at a map and pick your starting position. They have four legs. They’re faster than you. If you do run, you'll only keep up for a short distance. Arrive at your spot (see number 4). At 8 a.m. there are two stick-rocket-bursts. After the second, you know all the bulls are in the street. Now, wait. Depending on where you are along the course it could take up to two minutes for the herd to reach you. When you see the flicker of camera flashes up along the balconies and feel the rampaging crackle of hooves rattling the ground beneath you, then run. May God be with you. Run too early and you’ll end up entering the white sand arena minutes ahead of the herd, where you'll get pelted with hunks of bread and vegetables and showered with mocking laughter by everyone in the 20,000 seat arena. As the crowd chants Vallente, you'll understand that the Spanish have a wry sense of humor.

Filed To: Culture, Travel, Spain