With the memory fresh in everyone’s minds of Víctor Barrio, the bullfighter who was killed on Saturday in the ring in Teruel, the presence of the bulls from the Pedraza de Yeltes stockbreeder in the streets of Pamplona on Sunday drew great respect from the runners, although the risk that these animals posed did not stop the crowds from packing out the streets, something that is usually seen during the weekend of the fiestas of San Fermín.
In the end, the run was fast, lasting just 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and relatively clean. Despite the arresting images seen from the cameras stationed along the streets of the northern Spanish city, early medical reports suggested just three runners with injuries, one to the head in the Ayuntamiento area. The young runner that was clearly seen to be injured had been right in front of one of the fighting bulls, which caught up with him, flipped him up in the air, sending him crashing down on to the cobbled streets face up – it hurt just watching it.
But later on it emerged that two runners were seriously injured from gorings. Both were operated on at the surgeries in the bull ring, before being taken to a nearby hospital. One had a 12 centimeter laceration in the neck, which had dissected the trachea and the thyroid cartilage.
When they came racing out of the corral, the fighting bulls and tame bullocks were almost immediately faced by the huge crowds of runners waiting for them on the streets. Three of the bulls took the lead, ready to lay waste to whatever they found ahead of them. Such was their momentum that one forgot that he was no longer on the grass of the countryside, and lost his footing, coming crashing down to the ground.
The speed of the herd saw the lead bull crash into the fence at the Estafeta bend, where a runner wearing a striped shirt was waiting. As you would expect, he was knocked sideways by the animal, and only thanks to the grace of San Fermín did he escape a serious concussion.
During the straight street of Estafeta, the herd was closely bunched together, but as the number of runners grew, both the animals and the human beings found themselves falling to the ground.
With great difficulty, the runners and the bulls arrived in the Telefónica area, one of the animals saw fit to clear the fence of the runners perched there, while other runners, who were piled up on the ground, found out what it felt like to be trampled by a 600-kilo animal.
In the end, it was a fast and clean run, with little more danger than that you would associate with six fighting bulls trying to get through the packed out streets of Pamplona.
And in the memory of all, the image of the dead bullfighter, which sums up in the most tragic way the great dangers of stepping into the ring.