The Basque city Pamplona is just 80 kilometers south-east from San Sebastián. The ceremony el Chupinazo on the 6th of July is the official start of the San Fermin Festival 2015.
The festival starts at midday every year and takes place on the balcony of the Casa Consistorial in Pamplona. Thousands of people congregate in the square awaiting the mayor’s official announcement that sets the starting signal for the upcoming fiestas. Over many years San Fermin was mainly a religious festival diluted by music, dancing, bullfights and markets and was mainly celebrated in October. The whole event was moved to July 7th, because the weather is far more conducive.
On the 7th of July, the day after the opening ceremony, San Fermin starts every year with a bullrun at 8am. The running of the bulls in Pamplona has a high tradition in the Basque city and it turns the whole city into a huge Bull arena until the 14th of July.
During this week thousands of tourists and locals from the Basque regions come to Pamplona to celebrate and run with the bulls. However, running with the bulls is dangerous and not recommended. Each year dozens of people get injured by the bulls and require medical help.
That is the reason why it is important to to get tips from people who have run before, if you are really planning on running with the bulls.
Here are some tips how you stay safe running of the bulls in Pamplona:
1) If it is your first time, you should avoid running on the first day and leave this day to experiences runners. It is possible that you won’t be allowed to run. The first day is the most popular and more and more people come to the city on this day to run with the bulls. As a result the police is getting stricter and try to pull away people who seem to be inexperienced.
2) If you run, you shouldn’t be to much afraid of the bulls. Be aware of other runners, because they can fall or tip in front of you
3) If you go down, stay down. Try to cover your face, keep calm and make yourself as flat as possible. It is like that you get bruises but it is safer then getting up. The spectators will tip you on the shoulder to inform you when it is safe to get up.
4) Try to take the corners as tight as possible. It can help you to safe time, because the bulls are too massive and big. So they have to sheer out of course.
5) Try to avoid drinking alcohol before you run or try to avoid drinking too much. You can overestimate yourself, it makes you inattentive and results in injuries.
6) Only start in the area 300 meters from the end. It is called “dead man’s corner”
7) Don’t run to close behind the bulls, they are unpredictable. However, if you want to get into the arena, don’t get to far behind the bulls. They will close the gates shortly after the bulls have arrived. So you could start to run just close to the arena after the bulls have passed your location. Once you are in the arena, you can climb the wall and watch the bulls safety from the spectators area.
8) Running with the bulls is similar to a high performance sport competition. In order to be aware of danger, get enough sleep and rest before you run.
Anyway, these suggestions can never guarantee 100 % safety. Bulls are unpredictable and there are hundreds of people running in front and behind them. If you want to attend the running of the bulls in Pamplona, we wish you good luck!