The experience of the Running of the Bulls in San Fermín
The San Fermín festivities captivate thousands of visitors each year, with the Running of the Bulls being one of its main attractions. As discussed in our San Fermín Guide in Pamplona, the city offers a comprehensive program of activities. Below, we delve into the history and characteristics of an event that takes place from 8 in the morning from July 7th to the 14th.
History of the Running of the Bulls in San Fermín
Although the Running of the Bulls has evolved over time, one factor remains constant: the risk. It’s worth noting that the current route has a rich history dating back to the late 18th century. There are regulations that runners must comply with to participate, including a clear age criterion – participants must be of legal age.
Safety in the Running of the Bulls is reinforced not only through compliance with regulations but also through terrain preparation. For example, the course is perfectly delimited and marked by fencing, a measure implemented in 1776. The race route has not always been the same throughout its history, experiencing some variations. Currently, the event takes place in the old town of the Navarrese capital. Calle Estafeta, part of the route, has been a key component since 1856.
Another task carried out daily to prepare the Running of the Bulls route and enhance safety is cleaning. Cleaning efforts eliminate any elements that could increase the risk of falls.
Preparations and Tips for the Running of the Bulls
If you plan to travel to Pamplona to participate in the Running of the Bulls in San Fermín, it’s crucial to consider what goal you wish to achieve. Your way of enjoying the festivities and your schedule should revolve around this point. Take care of your rest and avoid alcohol consumption. It’s essential to understand that risk is a constant factor throughout the race.
The danger not only lies in running in front of the bulls but also in the conditions of the race: many other people participate in a route mainly composed of narrow streets. Each runner must concentrate on their goal, moving along the route in a straight line without obstructing the passage of other participants.
The entire route covers a distance of 848 meters. However, participating in the Running of the Bulls mainly involves covering a specific section. To grasp the significant physical, mental, and emotional preparation required for participation, you can learn more from the experiences of seasoned runners who have faced the challenge multiple times.
Various publications provide information on this topic. “El Encierro de Pamplona y sus primeros corredores” is a book written by Koldo Larrea. One of the most experienced runners is Jokin Zuasti, with a 50-year trajectory. As discussed in our comprehensive guide on San Fermín in Pamplona, he is the author of the book “Julios Intensos.” The testimony of the most veteran runners highlights commitment, responsibility, preparation, and recognition of one’s own limits.
Excitement and Risks in the Running of the Bulls in San Fermín
Often, the Pamplona runnings occur without very serious incidents. However, the risk is present throughout the entire race. In the most tragic cases, death can even occur. There are points that are particularly challenging, with one of the best-known being the curve of Estafeta. Nevertheless, the experience of participating in the Running of the Bulls also has an emotional dimension. Excitement can be experienced from different perspectives.
Many spectators witness the magic of the route from their homes since the event is broadcast live on television. Others have a unique perspective by observing the participants’ passage from a balcony. In short, excellent physical preparation and a high level of concentration are essential for running: it is not a challenge suitable for everyone.
Numerous safety measures are in place during the route, supervised by the Municipal Police. It’s crucial to appreciate the work of healthcare personnel. However, safety involves each participant implementing the guidelines provided by the Pamplona City Council through clear regulations. Among the points outlined in the rules, the following recommendations stand out.
The runner should wear very comfortable clothing and footwear. There is a schedule that establishes a time limit for access to the area that makes up the route. The schedule is set at 7:30 or 7:15, depending on the day of the event. Generally, the schedule ends earlier during the weekend. In our Complete Guide to San Fermín in Pamplona, you can learn all the keys to fully enjoy the festivities.