PAMPLONA, Spain – Stock from the estate of Juan Pedro Domecq were the attraction at the next-to-last running of the bulls at this year’s San Fermin festival, with a lightning charge through the streets of this northern Spanish city during which none of the runners were gored, though some suffered bumps and bruises.
The animals took only 2 minutes and 23 seconds to complete their stampede through the streets, the second fastest of the seven runnings of the bulls up to now.
The herd left the Santo Domingo corrals in a group led by tame steers, but once in the streets, two of the bulls took a lead of several meters (yards) and kept their distance right to the end.
The two animals made it a speedy run while exciting the crowd by leaving a space between them to allow the runners to get even closer on their way to city hall square, which the daredevils crossed ahead of the horns without mishap.
One of the two bulls leading the charge slipped at the Mercaderes curve and bumped against a fence, but without slowing his pace or getting separated from the other leader of the herd.
Meanwhile the rest of the bulls remained grouped together with the steers, though one of a somewhat orange color went ahead by a few meters (yards), dividing the herd into three over that stretch.
The runners displayed some stylish skills in front of the bulls, without any incidents more endangering than the usual stumbles and falls, which in several cases required the assistance of emergency services.
The world-famous fest 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.
The runs during the nine-day festival are filled with tension and emotion, and occasionally result in tragedy, with 15 runners having been killed since statistics began to be kept in the early 20th century and many others having suffered gorings and other injuries.
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