Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How to Run with the Bulls - Part 2

So, you have decided to run with the bulls and now know that you do not need to sign up, per the last post. So far so good. Here is what you can expect next.

Since you read the last post, you know that all runners gather in the town square, the ayuntamiento, at least an hour before the run. Thus, you are now packed into a small area between the wood barricades with about 3,000 other runners. There is so little room that everyone is standing up as there is no where to sit down. In addition to the Spanish and Basque languages, you will hear conversations of all type going on around you in about every language. At this point, everyone is calm but there is a nervous edge to the chilly air. You can feel the building anticipation underneath the calm at this point.

Don't be surprised to see policeman, at this point, wandering through and scoping out the crowd. They are looking for unsuitable runners. As I mentioned in the last post, while this is insanity and all hell is about to break lose in an hour, it is organized insanity and there are rules.

If you appear drunk, the police will eject you immediately. They are also looking for people carrying cameras or wearing 'helmet' cams on their hats. If they find that you have either, you will be ejected without question. If you have open-toed shoes or other inapproriate dress, you will be ejected immediately. If you are ejected, it is suggested that you not put up a fight or make any dispute with the police - they are very serious about their job and will not listen to any appeal. If you are selected for rejection, you are rejected - it is just that simple.

Remember, these are their prized bulls that the city pays handsomely for, their priority is the safety of the animals from the corral to the plaza. Next, we will talk about the last few minutes before the event begins.