5 Facts About the Running of the Bulls

Absolutely No Bull Crap Here

You probably get the gist of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. Every year the Spanish town is overtaken by dare devils/idiots/aspiring human pin cushions (delete as appropriate) who wilfully try to outrun a herd of pissed off bulls through the streets.

Yeah, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Let’s see if we can straighten things out with a few quick facts.The Statue of Encierros in Pamplona (Spain)

The festival has been celebrated since 1592

So, when a few Spaniards decided being chased by some bulls was their idea of excellent fun, Elizabeth I was Queen of England, only one English-speaking colony had been founded (and lost) in the nascent USA, and Galileo was inventing the thermometer.

At least somebody was doing something intelligent.

There are only six bulls in the chase

That doesn’t sound like a lot, right? But you also have to factor in the nine steer (castrated bulls) that come along for the ride.

Let’s do some rudimentary maths: an adult bull weighs about a ton, so altogether that’s around 15 tons of angry beef – heavier than a London double-decker bus. You’ll definitely want to run as quickly as you can.

Unsurprisingly, people get killed

11 people have been killed in the Pamplona Running of the Bulls since 1924, most of them from a bull’s horn opening up a new orifice or two in their bodies.

Every year, over the course of the week, some 50-100 people are injured. Considering an average of 208 people were injured in their workplace every day in 2014/15, maybe the bulls aren’t so dangerous after all.

The course is 875m long

That’s a little over two laps of a competitive running track. The men’s 800m world record is 1:40.91, held by Olympic champion David Rudisha. We reckon with a few bulls on his tail he could probably do better.

It takes non-Olympians around three minutes, so the whole thing is quite a bit shorter than you might think.

It’s actually more than one run

We often think of the Running of the Bulls as a single moment of orchestrated chaos, but it actually happens throughout the week. After the festival kicks off on July 7, the bulls are unleashed every morning at 8am until the festival ends on July 14.

So if you don’t get gored the first time, there are plenty of opportunities to try again!