For those of you who have seen multiple re-runs of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, this particular adventure sport needs no introduction. Encierro or Running with the bulls may be banned in a lot of places, but in Spain it’s a sport that is certainly celebrated with much enthusiasm and joy, with over 1500 participants turning up every year. If you are one of those daredevil souls who wish to participate in this thrilling activity, then do read on to know more about this absolutely crazy event!
So, What Exactly is it About?
Encierro is an event that covers a run of about 850 metres around the narrow streets of Pamplona. Now this isn’t a marathon, although you may have to run faster than in a marathon. There are about 6 bulls and 6 oxen that run along the path covered for the run. Your aim? To run and reach the Plaza del Toros without getting injured by the bulls. This isn’t a sport for the faint-hearted, so it’s advisable that you think through before participating, as injuries are pretty common.
Where & When?
Running with the bulls is a yearly event that takes place in Pamplona during the San Fermino festival in July. The event itself doesn’t run for more than 4-5 minutes, but that duration is enough to keep your adrenaline pumping for hours!
So, I just Run?
Well, no, not really. Gates open for all participants at about 6:30 a.m. and the race begins at about 8:00 a.m. You need to gather around the Cathedral, the point from where the race begins, and wait until you hear the two gunshots. The first one signals the release of the bulls and the second one means that the bulls have started running, which is your cue to run too. It is advisable that you maintain a certain distance from the bulls, and if you do get close, just make way for the bulls to pass by hopping to the side and hugging the wall or the fence.
Are There any Risks?
Unfortunately, yes, although there aren’t as many deaths as it may seem so, but there still remain some injuries that can be serious. Do visit the official website and read through all the procedures carefully.
Eligibility & Instructions
The race is free of charge for anyone above the age of 18 and as dangerous and frisky as it sounds, it does have certain rules. In fact, the police are pretty strict about certain rules, so its best that you follow them diligently. These include-:
- The presence of minors under the age of 18 on the route is forbidden; minors are absolutely excluded from taking part
- It is forbidden to go beyond the police barriers which those in charge consider advisable to put up for the smooth running of the race.
- Before the bulls are released, waiting in corners, blind spots, doorways or premises located along the route is not allowed.
- Keeping doors of shops or doorways of houses along the route open isn’t allowed, with the owners or tenants of the premises concerned being responsible for ensuring this.
- Remaining on the route in a state of drunkenness, under the effect of drugs or engaging in any other improper behavior is condemned.
- Provoking the bulls or attracting their attention in any way and for any reason along the route or around the edge of the bullring is forbidden.
- Running towards the bulls or running behind them is forbidden.
Although an unconventional adventure sport to take part in, but it’s definitely the most thrilling of them all! Imagine having the power to control your fate in your own hands, well it definitely doesn’t get more exciting and scarier than that, does it now?