How to Run With the Bulls: Sueltos

One is the most dangerous number

Jun 25, 2012
Outside Magazine

A suelto in Telefonos.   

Pamplona bull

A fighting bull from the ranch of Victoriano del Rio leaves the toril (chute) in a flurry as his bullfight begins in the Fiesta de San Fermin.

A suelto is a lone bull that has separated from the herd. The bull loses his herding instinct. It looks around and sees all runners as predators. Just like a Cape Buffalo attacking a pack of lions in Africa, the bull goes in to kill.

Beginners: This one is simple. If you see a lone bull on the street, run. Not further down the course, but to immediate safety. Run as fast as you can to a barricade and dive under the bottom rung. If you try to climb over you will be a slow and easy target for the suelto.

Intermediates: You know how dangerous it is but this is one of the places where you can gain incredible experience. Wade in slowly. Keep your distance. Be sure not to trip anyone up. Aim your shoulder at the animal and keep your hand feeling for runners behind you. This is a team action. Wade as close as you dare but know if you get too close it might be the last thing you do.

Experts: Attract the animal with your newspaper or hand. Remember that the bull sees better broadside. If he is facing you, make your motions low where his vision is OK. If a suelto is goring a fallen runner, dash up behind the animal and grab hold of his tail. Do not yank but apply a steady, heavy pressure. The animal should stop. Try to turn him with low or peripheral motion. Then lead him toward the arena.

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