As the popular annual running of the bulls kicked off Tuesday, two American runners and one British runner were gored, and eight others were injured.
The runners were dashing ahead of six half-ton bulls in the first bull run of this year’s festival. The first bull run of the annual San Fermin Festival, to give the correct title to the running of the bulls, lasted slightly over two minutes, with the six Jandilla bulls and their accompanying steers running through the streets of Pamplona, chasing after hundreds of daring runners, knocking several to the ground.
According to the regional Navarra government, of the two American runners, one was Mike Webster, a 38-year-old occupational therapist from Gainesville, Florida, who suffered injuries to his right armpit. This was apparently Webster’s 38th running of the bulls in 11 years, and he’s not sure if he will be doing it again. He told Associated Press that he would need to consult with his wife.
The second, a 27-year-old Californian identified only by his initials, D.M.O., was gored in an unspecified spot. The 30-year-old British participant, identified by the initials A.B.O., was reportedly gored in the groin. Apparently, none of the runners’ injuries were considered life-threatening.
According to the Seattle Times, of the eight other men, three were Americans and were treated in a local hospital for scrapes and bruises suffered when they were knocked down by the bulls. Wearing the traditional white clothing and red kerchiefs, the daring, or some might say crazy, runners often tripped and fell as the bulls charged down the winding 925-yard course from an enclosed pen through to the city’s bullring.
The whole thing took two minutes, 23 seconds. As reported in the Local, while some of the participants ran at arm’s length from the huge bulls, one black bull dashed ahead and made several charges at the runners who then scrambled, desperately trying to get out of the way of those dangerous horns.
The San Fermin festival is held every year and was popular with the author Ernest Hemingway, who immortalized the festival in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway is pictured below, enjoying the event back in the day.
The tradition itself dates back to medieval times and besides the running of the bulls followed by the slaughter of the animals, the town celebrates with religious processions, concerts, folks dancing, and a lot of drinking.
The running of the bulls is a dangerous festival, as fifteen people have been killed by bulls since official records started back in 1911. However, many have been gored and injured over the years.
The latest death from the running of the bulls was a 27-year-old Spaniard who died in the running of the bulls back in 2009 after being gored in the neck, lungs, and heart.
Animal activists are against both the running of the bulls and the many bullfights still held in Spain. While many say that these events are part of the “culture” of the country, many others are now turning their backs on the practice, with several towns and cities banning the sport.
Meanwhile, daredevils continue to participate in the running of the bulls every year in Pamplona, often risking life and limb. Rather ironically, as reported on the Inquisitr, last year Bill Hillman, the author of Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona, was also gored in the running of the bulls.
[Photo: San Fermin 2014 Jasper Juinen / Getty Images News]