The running of the bulls involves hundreds of people running in front of six bulls and another six steers down an 825-metre (0.51 mile) stretch of narrow streets of a section of the old town of Pamplona. The event begins at 8 a.m. when a first firecracker is lit to announce the release of the bulls from their corral. It is held between the 7th and the 14th.
Runners gather earlier at the beginning of the itinerary to ask for the protection of the Saint by singing a chant three times before a small statue of San Fermin which has been placed in a raised niche in a wall. A second cracker signals that the last bull has left the corral. There are six fighting bulls accompained by eight not fighting bulls (often white and brown coloured) that guide them to the “plaza” and followed by three more not fighting bulls, the “brush group”. There are also some sheppers guiding the bulls, wearing green T-shirts and long poles. The run ends in the Pamplona’s bullring taking a mean time of around 3 minutes where the bulls would be held until the afternoons bullfight when they would be killed. Once all of the bulls have entered the arena, a third rocket is released while a fourth firecracker indicates that the bulls are in their bullpens and the run has concluded. The event is dangerous. Since 1925, 15 people have been killed during the event –– most recently on 10 July 2009 — and every year between 200 and 300 people are injured during the run although most injuries are contusions due to falls and are not serious. There are several basic rules to respect if you want to run: – Don’t try to touch the bulls. You take the risk of getting his attention over yourself. – If you fall down, don’t try to raise. Protect your head and ly in fetal position until the group passes. – Notice that a bull runs faster than you and that a single bull is more dangerous than the group. -Take the bend of “Mercaderes” from the interior side, as the bulls often hit or even fall in the exterior side and can squash on the walls. -Don’t carry photocameras or backpacks. After the end of the run young cows with wrapped horns are released in the bullring and toss the participants, to the amusement of the crowd.
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