How to Run With the Bulls: Town Hall

Timing is everything

Jun 25, 2012
Outside Magazine
Pamplona Town Hall

A fighting bull from the ranch of Marques de Domecq gores a runner in the upper back after breaking away from the pack of bulls in front of the 'Ayuntamiento,' or Town Hall.    Photo: Jim Hollander

Fallen runner in Pamplona

A runner falls as the pack of fighting bulls and steers take a sharp corner on the bull running course in Pamplona, Spain on July 13, 2009.

Town Hall is a technical section but tends to be fairly quiet. That said, a bull gored Mathew Peter Tasio to death here in 1995 after he fell and stood up in the path of the herd. The bull gored him in the heart and threw him 20 yards. He bled to death within seconds.

Beginners: Start before Town Hall. Stick to the left side of the street and stay an arms length from the barricades. Wait until the cameramen on the balconies above start to take photos and pan, following the herd. The ground will begin to rumble with the tremendous weight of the stampede. Then run. Keep your head on a swivel and if you fall down, stay down (that rule goes for anywhere on the course).

Intermediates: Running either side is fine, though sometimes the herd swings wide-right and hits the barricades. When the herd is close, the street opens up. Stay away from the beginners on the left as they will suck you into the barricades and ruin your run. When it opens-up, go for it.

Experts: Wait it out. Your entry can be from either side but needs to be timed perfectly. This is a fast section. A 30-yard run on the horns here is an accomplishment.

Filed To: Adventure, Events, Culture, Spain