A fighting bull stands alone surrounded by a crowd of runners on the second day of the San Fermin Running Of The Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain (photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez). Four people have been injured so far in the nine day festival that takes over the whole town.

The idea for the event came to Rob Dickens and his business partner as they were looking for ways to expand their 20-employee Boston business beyond its Rugged Maniac obstacle course, a five-kilometer run-slide-climb-slip-stumble-swim trek that has expanded to 20 markets nationwide.

We wanted to do something unique that nobody else was doing

Since records began in 1924, 13 people have been killed during Pamplona’s bull run. Many of those who run are full of bravado (and/or drink), and have little idea of what they’re doing.

The Running of the Bulls

El Encierro, the running of the bulls from their corrals to the bullring for the afternoon bullfight, takes place in Pamplona, every morning during Sanfermines. Six bulls are let loose from the Coralillos de Santo Domingo to charge across the square of the same name (a good vantage point).

People on balconies watch runners Pedro Armestre/AFP
People on balconies watch runners – Pedro Armestre/AFP

Every year, the Festival of San Fermin, including the “Running of the Bulls”, attracts thousands of visitors to Pamplona, Spain. Lasting nine days, the festival kicks off with massive crowds at the Chupinazo in Pamplona town square, followed by a carnival, fireworks, the running of the bulls, and many bullfights. Held since 1591, San Fermin remains a popular, if also dangerous and controversial, event — dozens of people were injured this year.

The Big Picture

A fighting bull stands alone surrounded by a crowd of runners on the second day of the San Fermin Running Of The Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain (photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez). Four people have been injured so far in the nine day festival that takes over the whole town.

  1. A third rocket goes off when all the bulls have made it to the ring, and a final one when they have been rounded up in the stalls.
  2. They can become isolated from the herd and are then always dangerous.
  3. A very treacherous stretch comes towards the end, where Calle de la Estafeta slopes down into the final turn to Plaza de Toros.

The 2006 event passed without serious injury to any of the runners, but with even greater demands on the authorities, including 145 fire alarm call outs and four stray cats collected; no stray bulls reported. For dedicated Encierro news check out www.sanfermin.com

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