10 facts about the Running of the bulls that you should know as a journalist

The city of Pamplona-Iruña is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, which is held annually from July 6 to July 14. The most famous event is the running of the bulls, which begins at 8 am. each day on 7–14 July, but the festival involves many other traditional and folkloric events such as 24 hours of live music in the streets. 

The Running of the Bulls of Pamplona-Iruña has been well documented since the 14th century until today. These festivities in honor of Saint Fermin have been celebrated with no interruption —except for the Civil War in the 30s or the Covid Pandemic— since the Middle Ages. The running of the bulls is not an exclusive tradition of Pamplona, it is also held in other places such as towns and villages across North of Spain, Southern France, Portugal and Mexico.

ORIGINS AND TRADITION: 

This event has its origins in the old practice made by cattle herders of transporting bulls from the fields outside the city for the festivities. After years, the transportation  and hurrying of the bulls turn into a competition, as young adults would attempt to race in front of the bulls to enjoy and prove their bravery and experience fear and excitement. In Pamplona and other places, the six bulls that run are also in that afternoon’s bullfight. 

Key points about the Running of the Bulls for journalists:

  1. The running of the bulls is held every day at 8:00 am in the morning from the 7th to the 14th of July. 
  1. The whole route is only about 850 meters long and includes an uphill run in the beginning. 
  1. The Running of the Bulls usually takes about 2 minutes or two minutes and a half, depending on the speed of the bulls to cover the path or the unexpected events. 
  1. The bulls run at an average speed of 24 km/h but can sprint much faster at times. 
  1. On any particular day of the festival, there are 2,000 – 3,500 runners, with many more festival-goers watching the centuries-old tradition. 
  1. The running ends when all six bulls reach the bullfighting ring at the end of the route.
  1. The race is held at the core of the old part of the city, which is daily closed from 6:00 am to 8:30 am to organize the running of the bulls. 
  1. The Running of the Bulls is a very exciting adventure, but it is very risky. Since the year 1900, at least 16 people have died in the running of the bulls injured by the animals or tragically gored. 
  1. Many of the risks in Running of the Bulls are related to minor injuries. According to the City Hall of Pamplona, there are between 200 and 300 injuries each year, most of which are not serious. Many of these injuries are caused by falls or are related to overcrowding of runners on the street. 
  1. The emergency device is made up of 16 medicalizable ambulances along the route of the bull run, 9 health care posts at the foot of the fence and other 8 support points with lifeguards, it means nearly a rescue point approximately every 50 meters. 

    Care on the route is provided by 8 medical professionals and 8 nurses from the Public Navarrese Health Department, 21 transportation technicians, 47 lifeguards, 9 communication operators, 8 post coordinators and 78 volunteers from Red Cross specialized in First Aid assistance and another 30 volunteers. A total of 162 professionals, technicians and volunteers take part in the emergency device.

DO’S AND DON’TS FOR MEDIA

  • It is NOT allowed to pilot any drone over the city’s sky during the Festival and even neither during the running of the bulls. The National Police and Local Police are armed with anti-drone shooters. 
  • It is completely prohibited to carry any camera, go-Pro or even mobile phone during the running of the bulls. If any runner is carrying any of this gear it will be put off the track by the Police corps. 
  • There is no way to install fixed or automatic cameras across the path of the running. 
  • PRESS PASS: The City Council of Pamplona-Iruña is the institution who officially approves the requests of local and international media to get press passes for covering the Running of the Bulls, which brings you the opportunity to film or shoot photos from the fences and the allowed points along the path.   
  • The media companies and/or freelancers interested in coming to the San Fermín festival for the first time should send an email to sfacreditaciones@pamplona.es BETWEEN 15 MAY and 15 JUNE with a brief explanation of their project.
  • The Press Pass or accreditation does not imply the reservation of a space at the posts on the route of the Running of the bulls.
  • Those journalists accredited should take up position at the upright posts that mark out the route of the Running of the bulls in the sections enabled for this purpose.

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