Crowded, quick, full of scary moments, with pushing and shoving, falls on the slippery pavement, and with a provisional list of one goring and three light injuries. That’s the summary of the first Running of the Bulls this morning at the San Fermín 2018 fiestas, which featured animals from the Puerto de San Lorenzo stockbreeder.
The run took place on wet pavement, after an early morning rain shower, adding danger for both the two-legged and four-legged runners. The tame bullocks, which accompany the fighting bulls every morning on the runs, took the lead today, as soon as the rocket was fired and the doors to their pen were flung open.
One of the fighting bulls, the one who stuck close to the tame bullocks throughout, crossed the finish line and entered the pen at the two-minute, 30-second mark
They ran with such speed toward the assembled crowds, many wearing the traditional white-and-red colors of Sanfermines, that the pack soon broke up, a process helped along as the animals lost their footing on the wet surface. Two of the black fighting bulls fell to the ground before reaching Ayuntamiento square, leaving them straggling behind the rest, frightened by the loss of their brothers.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the herd continued thundering toward their destination. Three of the tame bullocks were the first to reach the dangerous Mercaderes bend, and one of them lost its footing next to the wooden barriers that line that part of the route. All of them made it around the corner, however, and started down Estafeta street, surrounded by a mass of runners, all of whom were looking to emerge from their heroic runs unscathed.
That 306-meter straight on the route turned into a seething mass of humans and animals, who jostled for position against walls that appear to give way in the face of the colossal forces generated by fear, falls, pile-ups, pushes and the horns that were grazing the runners’ backs.
But without any apparent serious incidents, the tame bullocks – which led the run throughout – arrived at the Telefónica section of the route, which was also packed with runners – the first day of the runs, July 7, always guarantees one of the biggest crowds.
On the entry to the bullring itself a number of falls led to a small human pile-up, but it was quickly cleared. One of the fighting bulls, the one who stuck close to the tame bullocks throughout, crossed the finish line and entered the pen at the two-minute, 30-second mark.
With most of the herd now breathing easily in their pens, the two bulls that had fallen behind the rest on the Cuesta de Santo Domingo arrived in the ring. The happy reunion with their lost brothers can only be imagined. The clock stopped on Saturday morning after two minutes and 37 seconds.
English version by Simon Hunter.