The first bull run in three years happened on ThursdayIn the Spanish city of Pamplona. No one was shocked as thousands of people reveled in the return of one of Europe’s most famous traditional events, but many runners knocked and fought hard.
Pamplona Hospital said six people had been brought in for treatment. They included a 30-year-old American man who lost part of a finger in his left hand and a 16-year-old Spanish girl in a bullring, where runners piled up at the entrance. Four Spanish men between the ages of 19 and 45 were also injured.
Six bulls, guided by six oxen, charged through the streets of Pamplona for about two minutes and 35 seconds without much carnage among thousands of observers and participants cramming the course.
Many runners were crushed, trampled or pushed onto cobblestone pavements. The horn of an animal struck at least two men on the head, but none were cut.
Ryan Ward, an American tourist from San Diego, Calif., said the risk of running with the bull was well worth it.
After finishing the bull, he said, “I feel like I need to cry. It’s just so many emotions going on with ‘Miss Amigos’ (my friends). I don’t know where they are, I’ve lost everyone.” run in vain
“It felt like two seconds, it was probably like a minute when I really had bulls running, but it felt so quick, like it was gone in the blink of an eye,” Ward continued. “It’s amazing, incredible, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
Thursday morning’s bull run was the first of eight scheduled. The rest of the day usually involves drinking, eating and participating in cultural events on a large scale.
Eight people died during the 2019 festival, which was last held before the coronavirus pandemic. Sixteen people have died in Bull Run since 1910, most recently in 2009.
The bulls running every morning are killed by professional bullfighters in the afternoon. Animal rights activists have campaigned against the slaughter of animals, but bullfights are still popular in segments of Spanish society and an integral part of the San Fermín celebration.
The incredibly popular Pamplona festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Spain’s robust vaccination program has allowed life to return to more or less normal, but a recent surge in cases prompted Pamplona officials to recommend using face masks when necessary. That said, masks were a pretty rare sight among people packing the city square for the party’s official kickoff on Wednesday or earlier during the Bull Run.
Thousands of men, and some women, take part in “enciros,” or bull runs, while trying to avoid the massive bulls and oxen that rumble along the narrow, winding cobblestone streets of Pamplona’s old quarter.
A substance is sprayed over the course of 875 meters (956 yards) to prevent the oxen from slipping over tight corners. The race usually ends in three heart-stopping minutes.
Expert bull runners, mostly locals, try to run at full steam right in front of the bull’s horns before peeling off at the last second. The inexperienced, a group that includes most foreigners, do well enough to get out of the way, often ending up in a pile of fellow runners.
Almost everyone in Pamplona wears traditional white shirts and pants with a red sash and neckerchief for the festival this week.