How to Run With the Bulls: After the Run

You survived! Now what?

Jun 25, 2012
Outside Magazine
Fiesta de San Fermin

A wild cow leaps over revelers in the bullring at the Fiesta de San Fermin. People gather and block the way into the ring so the wild cow with protective caps on her horns is forced to jump into the ring.    Photo: Jim Hollander

Bar Txoko

Geraldo Rivera serves a tray-full of Kaiku con cognacs to bull runners at the Bar Txoko, after a morning's bull run in 1985.

Plaza de Toros

A lone Miura bull enters the Plaza de Toros in Pamplona as the sun rises as runner sprint on both sides.

This is a time of unparalleled euphoria. Hemingway said that the most exhilarating feeling a man could experience was being shot at and missed. That is the joy of running with the bulls.

Beginners: The herd has passed you by. Go for it! Run toward the arena. Beware, there may be a suelto; but if there is, you now know what to do. Run into the arena and get out over the bullring wall. Once the final rocket goes off and the arena starts singing, climb back in. They release vaca (wild Spanish fighting cows) into the ring after the run. Hemingway used to pass vaca with a cape here. Go to the corral gate and kneel with the other maniacs. The vaca will leap over you—hopefully. Then run around like a lunatic. Don’t pull the vaca’s tail or the Spaniards will lump you up.

Intermediates: Get over to Bar Txoco and figure out if your friends have all made it out safely. Talk about what happened and try to contemplate how to get better. Ask the experts questions—most accept drinks as payment. Have a beer or two. You earned it.

Experts: Stroll to Bar Txoco and spread the wealth of your knowledge and experience. Don’t be cocky. It’s bad karma and will mess up your next morning’s run. If you’re lucky and someone invites you, go to the Runners Breakfast. It’s one hell of an honor.

Filed To: Adventure, Events, Culture, Spain