Sunday, January 18, 2009

Run with the Bulls - Do I have to sign up?

The first question I get asked about running with the bulls is, do you have to sign up ahead of time to run? The simple answer is no, you do not sign up for the run but there are rules to follow. Here are the basics:

During the Festival, the bulls run every morning from July 7 - July 14. This is done in order to move the bulls from the corral at the edge of the old city to the bullring where they will fight that night. Since there is a bullfight every night of the SanFermines, then there is a bull run every morning.

Each morning, the police allow anyone interested in running to enter into the Plaza Consistorial, or town square in front of the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento). This is the only place that runners can gather before the run. All the rest of the unknowledgeable tourists spread themselves up and down the route of the bull run and are sadly disappointed when the police force them from the streets before the run begins.

The other runners are forced from the street so that the city can clean the streets before the bull run begins. This is done more for the safety and security of the bulls than it is for the runners. The city pays big dollars for these fighting bulls, and they do not want any bull to get injured during the run. If a bull were injured during the run, then that bull would not be eligible for a fight that night.

Next, we will explore what happens once all the runners gather in the Town Hall Square.