Estafeta (mid section 470meters)
El Encierro , the Running of the Bulls, is the best known aspect of the festival and the one which has brought ¡t worldwide fame. The story is simple: in the old days, when the herdsmen brought their bulls across country from their pastures to fight in the bullring, they used to spend the night just outside the city and at dawn on the day of the bullfight, they would run through the town accompanied by oxen or tame bulls and people who on horseback or running alongside, helped to drive them into the stalls with shouts and sticks. With time, nobody knows for sure when, people began the tradition of running in front of the bulls, instead of behind or urging them on from the sidelines. Thus, what began as a kind of help took on the character of entertainment until finally ¡t became the peculiar custom which distinguishes the fiestas of San Fermin, the encierro.
When is the bull run?
8 a.m. every morning July 7-14 in Pamplona´s Old Town.
What is the bull run?
The Encierro(bullrun) is the most well known tradition of the San Fermin festival. 12 bulls (6 tame and 6 wild toro bravo bulls) are released from holding corals and charge through the old city’s streets.
Who can run with the bulls?
Anyone older then 18 can run with the bulls in Pamplona.
How long is the bull run?
825 metres & finishing in the Plaza de Toros. The entire run will last 2-3 minutes normally.
How many people actually run with the bulls?
On any given day, between 2500 to 4500 people run with the bulls.
Over 1 million people attend the festival each year.
How many bulls run?
15 in total. The first group consists of 6 tame steer and 6 wild bulls. A second group of 3 bulls is released 1-2 minutes after the first to collect any stray bulls.
Can I take pictures while running with the bulls?
Absolutely NOT as it’s too dangerous and it is illegal, potentially resulting in a €1,000 fine.
Where do the bulls come from?
The wild black bulls are Miuras from Andalucia, the most famous breed of fighting bulls in Spain. Spain breeds the Miuras exclusively for bullfighting.
Why is there a bull run?
The tradition dates back to medieval times when bulls were herded through Pamplona’s streets to the local bullring.
Do I have to pay to run with the bulls?
No as it is free for anyone over 18 years of age.
Is the bull run dangerous?
Yes. You will be competing against 15 bulls weighing over 1 ton per beast & the other competitors also involved in the bullrun. The danger to runners are the "other bull runners" as some trip up & fall to the ground. Since 1924 there have been 15 recorded deaths. The last person killed during the bull run was 22-year old Daniel Jimeno Romero on July 10th 2009.
View San Fermin 2012 bullrun map route in a larger map
At 8 AM the 1st rocket indicates the opening of the gate of the enclosure and a second announces that all the bulls have left and are running up the steep slope of the Cuesta de Santo Domingo, on their way to the square in front of the City Hall. Having passed through there the bulls go into Mercaderes street and then on into Estafeta. From this point ¡t is normal for a bull to break away from the group, increasing the danger of someone being hurt.
Estafeta is straight, slightly uphill and over 300 meters long; at the end the section named; De la Telefónica, crossing in front of the telephone exchange, begins the downhill slope leading to the passageway into the bull ring. This is a very dangerous stretch, protected by two rows of fencing and inside the passage way, alcoves where people can take refuge if they fall. Finally, after the funnel of the passageway the run breaks into a thousand pieces escaping in the shape of a fan, away from the bulls which, if they are not distracted by the colourful human sea in front of their eyes, will go towards the door of the corrals, helped by the hearty cries of the dobladores beckoning them with their bullfighting capes. When all the bulls are in the ring a third rocket is fired and, once they are through the door of the pens, a fourth announces that the encierro is over.