PAMPLONA, Spain – The father of Daniel Jimeno, the last person to die in the running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, was joined Tuesday by Mayor Enrique Maya in honoring all the runners who have lost their lives at the world-famous event.
A bouquet of red and white roses along with a red kerchief, the symbol of the San Fermin festival, were placed at the spot where Daniel, a 27-year-old Spaniard, was gored by a bull on July 10, 2009.
The kerchief bore the names of the 15 runners who have been killed since records began being kept in the early 20th century.
Today “is a tough day” and the idea is to honor the fallen runners since there are no monuments to them in Pamplona, Juan Antonio Jimeno, Daniel’s father, told reporters.
The runs during the nine-day festival are filled with tension and emotion, and occasionally result in tragedy, with some runners getting killed and many others suffering gorings and other injuries.
The run to the bull ring is especially dangerous because some people take part in the event after all-night drinking binges, which makes them reckless and more likely to get too close to animals that weigh in excess of 500 kilos (1,100 pounds).
The running of the bulls is monitored by experts who control the route and try to prevent accidents, but, inevitably, runners fall, suffer cuts and bruises, and are even gored by the animals.
Five runners were hospitalized following Tuesday’s run, which was the fastest so far of the festival, but all of them are out of danger, doctors said.
Bulls from the El Pilar estate were the stars of the fourth running of the bulls at this year’s festival.
The bulls covered the 850-meter (approximately half-mile) run from the Santo Domingo stockyard to the bullring in two minutes and 20 seconds.
No runners were gored, but a number of people stumbled and were trampled by the bulls.
The world-famous San Fermin festival started last Friday with the traditional firing of a rocket in front of Pamplona city hall amid the shouts of thousands of people, many of them visitors from around the world.
As many as 1 million visitors from around the world descend on Pamplona during the festival – many of them Americans but also Frenchmen, Britons, Italians, Germans and Latin Americans.
The festival, begun about 400 years ago, was popularized by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.” EFE