The Bull Run is the most international and recognised part of the San Fermin Festivities. It is the only moment of the day in which the party stops, heartbeats quicken and tension enshrouds the Bull Run. It is, according to Hemingway, “a spectacle that is capable of making one get out of bed at half past five in the morning 8 days in a row”. We could add: “And to travel for thousands of kilometres just to take part”.
And each day between 7th and 14th July at 8 o´clock in the morning, after the runners sing before the image of the Saint asking for his protection, 2 rockets are fired, exploding in the hearts of all Pamplona locals, announcing the opening of the Santo Domingo pens.
At this point, 6 bulls accompanied by 6 steers speed in a herd after the runners along the 825 metres that separate them from the Pamplona bull ring in an average time of between three and four minutes. Excitement, challenges, tradition, promises, devotion… are just some of the feelings that drive the runners to participating in the risky cobble-stoned run, in some cases, each morning for the whole 8 days.
The Santo Domingo hill, the Estafeta curve or “the bottleneck” entrance to the bull ring are some of the most dangerous parts of the route, where throughout history breath-taking situations have occurred. Most of the time this tension is replaced with a sigh of relief as the door of the bull ring pen closes behind the last bull. This is the moment in which all that can be heard is the excited applause of the 20,000 people that have come to the bull ring watch the final moments of the Pamplona Bull Run.