Sunday, January 25, 2009

How to Run with the Bulls - Part 3

If you have read parts 1 & 2 and are still interested then you may well be a candidate for a run with the bulls in Pamplona!  But before you decide to run, it is highly recommended that you watch at least one run first before you participate. Consider renting a balcony for the day before you plan to run.

Here is the next myth to dispel - you cannot run the entire course with the bulls.  Bulls run at over 35 mph and you cannot hope to keep up with the bulls for the entire course of the run.  So, you must pick your desired leg to run.  About 15 minutes before the bulls are released, the police break their lines and allow the runners to spread out along the course.  By now, you should have picked your desired spot and proceed to where you plan to run.

At this point, the loudspeakers of the town begin to broadcast messages to the runners.  You can feel the hair begin to raise on everyone's neck as the realization hits that yes, you are in the street, yes, bulls will be heading your way shortly and you are in a very narrow street and yes, this is really going to happen.  As the runners begin to disperse from town square there is more breathing room now on the streets and you can look around and see the different running styles that are about to take place.

There are those who head straight for the walls and have no plans to run.  They plan to just watch the bulls go by and say they were there.  Some stand in the middle of the road and begin to jump and stretch to get ready.  These are the lane runners who, once they hear the rocket, will pick a lane and run until the bulls catch them, then they will move to the side and allow the bulls to pass.  And, there are those who look totally bewildered and obviously have no clue what they are doing and have not done any research or preparation for this event.

Then it happens.  A rocket bursts loudly overhead signaling that the bulls are now out of the corral and heading your way.  Ah, the moment you have been waiting for is finally here - and total panic takes over the crowd.  People begin to run wildly or scramble for the fences with all color drained from their faces.  Now is the time to implement your running strategy - don't panic, just stick to your plan.


Anonymous said...

The police lines tend to break a lot later than 15 mins before the off. It does vary from day to day and year to year. Last year they seemed to break earlier but the year before it was only a minute or two before the rocket.

Maria said...

You are right. Last year, on the first day, the police line broke really late due to the mayor walking the course, etc. But as the week went on, the police line broker earlier. I agree that the standard is probably less than 10 minutes prior to the run.