The Running of the Bulls, takes place in Spain, the day after the San Fermín festival. These fiestas are celebrated in the region of Navarra from July 6th to July 14th. The origin of the event actually comes from the need to move the bulls from the fields, outside the city from where they were bred to the bullring, where they would eventually be slain in the evening. Spanish tradition says that the true beginning of this event was originally done as a quicker method to get the cattle to move, by using fear and excitement. This then became a competition to who can get their cattle in the pens in the shortest amount of time. Once other cities became aware of this event that was going on and how popular it was, they also began to participate. This led to the yearly tradition that we now know of today.
Now that you know where the running of the bulls came from, there will be nothing but tips on how to run with the bulls in Spain!
Tip 1: Getting to Pamplona, Spain
Surprisingly enough, Spain’s infrastructure allows easy travel to get to Pamplona. You can either take the train or fly there. Spain’s high-speed train, the Renfe, runs from Barcelona to Pamplona or from Madrid to Pamplona. The train ride will last a whopping three to three and a half hours. The tickets aren’t that expensive either. A one-way ticket will normally cost between $65 and $85 . Train tickets to Pamplona normally will go on sale around late May or early June. There is also the fly option which will take you from Madrid to Pamplona in about an hour max. Your trip to get there will be a breeze.
Tip 2: Watching the Bull Run
As you can imagine, running with the bulls is not recommended for those that are faint of heart. It can be very dangerous; some people have died participating in the event. Before having the glorious idea of running it, maybe try watching other more experienced runners do it first. Watching from the streets is very unlikely because of how big the crowds are. Your next best bet is going to be watching it from a balcony. A good spot, or balcony will cost you between $120 to $150 dollars a person. If you thought that was the worst part, think again. Keep in mind, this prime balcony seating will only get you eight to ten seconds of the event because of the speed of the cattle is running and how long the course is.
Tip 3: Make sure to know the course (this tip is for participants only)
Many bull runners are known to make the same mistake every year. They either enter the wrong place or stand too far along the bull run. The gate at Santo Domingo street is close to the start of the run. The police will clear the crowds and the cattle emerge , allowing you enough space between you and the bulls to run.
Tip 4: DON’T DIE
The bull run is an iconic and important part of Spain’s history. There is a chant that is yelled three times by the crowd before the beginning of every run. “A San Fermin pedimos, por ser nuestro patron, nos guie en el encierro dandonos su bendicion.” Or in English: “We ask San Fermin, being our patron saint, to guide us in the bull run and give us his blessing.” When they finish they shout “Viva San Fermin!, Gora San Fermin.”
Brush up on your Spanish before taking your run to the next level at the Running of the Bulls!
Want a less intimidating Bull Run? Try Running of the Bulldogs.