Running of the Bulls

Sanfermines in numbers: 10 facts you need to know

EL PAÍS looks at the staggering figures behind Pamplona’s world-famous bull-running fiestas

Running of the bulls in 2016.
Running of the bulls in 2016.REUTERS
Daniel Muela

The Sanfermines fiestas kick off on July 6 with the much-anticipated “Chupinazo” ceremony, which sees the launching of a rocket to mark the start of the event, which will run until July 14. For the first time this year, authorities in Pamplona have banned the sale of souvenirs with sexist messages in an effort to create a “festival free of sexual abuses.”

The San Fermín fiestas continue to be a major crowd-puller, with more than 1.45 million people attending last year’s fiestas, which included 425 different activities.

But that’s not the only impressive figure. Ahead of the landmark celebrations, EL PAÍS has crunched the numbers to show the scope and impact of Spain’s most popular taurine event.

Reports of sexual abuse in 2017

According to a study by the Public University of Navarre, 22 reports of sexual abuse were filed last year. This number has increased significantly. In 2006 and 2007, there were no reports of sexual harassment. 

Millions of euros in investment

Pamplona City Hall has allotted 6% more funding to this year’s festival than last. The total amount is over 2.24 million, taking into account the money needed to hire extra staff and rent portable bathrooms.

Officers in the streets

Nearly 3,000 police officers will be patrolling the streets at the Sanfermines celebrations. The strong police presence is made up of officers from the Civil Guard (796), National Police (950), regional police (720) and local police (400).

The first year of the ‘Chupinazo’

This was the first year a rocket was launched to mark the opening of the Sanfermines fiestas. The tradition is known as the ‘Chupinazo,’ a name  coined by Txupin Etxepare, a tobacconist from Pamplona. The custom continued up until 1936, the year the Spanish Civil War began and the same year Etxepare was killed. The tradition was brought back in 1939.

Posts on the running route

Along the route of the run, which is 848.6 meters long, are almost 1,000  posts, 2,700 wooden boards and 4,000 wedges that separate the track from the rest of the city. There are 70 doors that provide an escape from the route, and six more that are progressively closed behind the bulls as the run gets underway to prevent them from turning back.

Promotional posters

Every year, Pamplona City Hall holds a competition for the best Sanfermines promotional poster. This year the winning design was entitled Pamplona, city of lights, and received 33% of the vote: 2,200 of the 6,511 votes. Fewer designs were submitted this year compared to the last two. There were 327 national entries and five from other countries.

Miura bull runs

The Miura line of Spanish fighting bulls has taken part in more runs at Sanfermines than any other bull breed. Miura bulls have left 16 people with goring injuries and another 184 with bruises. On Saturday, July 14, the breed will be ready to once again run the streets of Pamplona.

Longest Sanfermines bull run

The record for the longest Sanfermines bull run is 30 minutes. It took place on July 11, 1959 when a Miura bull lagged behind the herd. Authorities needed to get a dog to bite the bull to force it into the pen.

Number of times Sanfermines has been canceled

Sanfermines has only ever been canceled for political reasons. This happened in 1937 and 1938 during the Spanish Civil War. It was canceled a third time in 1978, when a student died after being shot in the head in clashes between police and protesters, and in 1997 when politician Miguel Ángel Blanco was murdered by Basque terror group ETA.

Deaths since 1910

Of the 16 people who have died at Sanfermines, two have been foreigners – a Mexican who was killed in 1935 and an American who lost his life in 1995. The most recent death took place on July 10, 2009 when Daniel Jimeno Romero was gored in the neck.

English version by John Clarke.

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS