We’ve done some pretty amazing things in our travels around the world but this ranks as the stupidest… and definitely the most dangerous. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and we happened to be in Europe when the San Fermin festival was taking place in Pamplona. Before we knew it we were running down the street with some massive bulls hot on our tail.
It did take some planning to go running with the bulls but with the help of Mark from PamplonaBalconies.com we made it happen. Mark suggested that we watch the running of the bulls from a balcony before you actually go running. This was very good advice. If you don’t plan your run you can kicked off the street by the police or worse yet you can get very injured. My favorite quote from Mark was, “Running with the bulls is like playing russian roulette with a thousands chambers and one bullet”.
Here are some steps to make sure you have an enjoyable and safe run
- Line up before the gate at the Plaza del Mercado. This is very important. Anyone lined up on the street after the gate will get cleared off the street by the police.
- You have to wear proper San Fermin costume. You don’t have to crazy like these guys… unless you want.
- Don’t bring a camera. They don’t allow pictures to be taken on the street. They say its for safety but I also think its for the local shops to sell there own pictures. You can easily get around this by hiding a camera and only bring it out after they released the first bull (as I did with my gopro). The police are gone once the first bull is released.
- Watch out for other people more than the bulls. Most injuries occur from getting pushed, stepped on, punched, etc by the other runners NOT the bulls.
- If it’s your first time running it’s best to line up after dead man’s corner. 2 reasons: 1) getting stuck in dead man’s corner is not good. 2) You want to get into the stadium for “play time” before they close the gate just after the last bull.