The notorious reputation of the bulls from the Cebada Gago stockbreeder, which have notched up 56 gorings in the 29 times they have appeared at Pamplona’s world-famous Running of the Bulls, saw fewer runners at this morning’s Sanfermines, the third day of the fiestas. The chilling statistics of the animals in the past also saw a fast run – just two minutes, 33 seconds, and a number of falls, tramplings, little pile-ups and very scary moments.
But the real news of the morning from San Fermín 2018 is that, going against tradition, the feared bulls gored no one on the run, and left a minimal number of injuries: two runners with head wounds, and another two with bruises or fractures to the arm and face, according to the first medical reports.
Unlike the first two runs at the weekend, Monday saw dry streets, but the tension and fear was palpable among the runners, given the dangers of a herd that leaves more than a few of the Pamplona faithful with sleepless nights.
One large tame steer – six of which accompany the six fighting bulls every day at the encierro, as the Running of the Bulls is known – was the first to take the Cuesta de Santo Domingo hill, just seconds after the rocket was fired at 8am marking the start of today’s run. With few runners on that first section, the herd soon arrived on Mercaderes street, where a spectacular pile-up left one of the runners with injuries, the severity of which is still yet to be confirmed by the medical services.
Two runners were run down by one of the enormous steers, knocking them into the barriers. The pile-up also saw one of the black fighting bulls lose its footing, and as it stood back up it knocked one of the runners into the rest of the herd, which was arriving on the scene at that precise moment. It all happened in an instant, but there was enough time to see that the runners who had been knocked down were going to need medical assistance.
Once more, it was clear that the anti-skid liquid that is applied to the dangerous Estafeta bend did its job, and the animals made it through the corner without losing their footing.
A few of the runners, however, who were on the risky left side of the bend, fell to the ground as the herd came around, and must have been able to sense the animals’ horns as they passed just inches by their flesh.
By this point, the herd of 12 animals had broken up, with one of the black bulls speeding off, causing small pile-ups, runners crashing onto the ground, and another trip-up of the bulls in the Telefónica section, this time after a runner fell in front of them. Miraculously, the incident came to nothing.
Two minutes had passed when the first animal entered the bullring, which was dry today in contrast to the weekend and with few members of the public on the sand. Seconds later the two bulls that had fallen on Telefónica appeared, both of them confused on arrival in the ring. But soon, with the help of the herdsmen, all of the animals found their way into the pen.
English version by Simon Hunter.