Now you see them, now you don’t. That was how Day 4 of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona went this morning, with bulls from the Fuente Ymbro stockbreeder taking to the streets of Pamplona for the 14th time in the history of the world-famous fiestas in northern Spain.
It was a lightning-fast run, lasting just two minutes and 15 seconds, a new record for the stockbreeder, shaving two seconds off last year’s time.
It was a clean run too, with the first medical reports from the emergency services suggesting that there were no gorings, with ambulance crews attending to just three runners, all male, with bumps and bruises to various parts of their body, albeit with no broken bones or fractures.
It was clear for all to see that the Fuente Ymbro bulls are the elite athletes of their field, thanks no doubt to the fact that the Cádiz dehesa where they live, in San José del Valle, has a place for them to run free.
This morning, as the rocket was fired and the doors of the pen flung open, the six steers that accompany the fighting bulls on the route every morning took the lead, taking the hill at full speed. One of the bulls inched ahead of the herd for a second, but fell back allowing the steers to lead the way.
Ambulance crews attended to just three runners
Bunched tightly together, the animals arrived in the Ayuntamiento section of the run, where there were fewer people in the street than there had been so far this week, but plenty of spectators perched on the fences. Once more, the effect of the anti-slip liquid that is applied to the cobblestones was clear for all to see. Despite the complaints of many veteran runners, the falls and tumbles of the bulls and steers on the Estafeta bend are a thing of the past, denying spectators and photographers the sight of the spectacular tumbles of both animals and runners.
The herd stuck together as it thundered up the 300 meters of the busiest part of the route, and, as is the case every morning, there were plenty of beautiful runs, not to mention falls, bumps and tramplings given the extremely high speed of the bulls, the large number of runners, and the imprudence of more than a few.
The falls of a number of runners saw one of the bulls lose his footing too, leaving him temporarily straggling, but he soon got back on his feet and caught up with his brothers.
Strangely enough, the last animal to enter the pen in the bullring was “Libertador,” a chestnut-colored fighting bull, weighing 560 kilos, and the most lackadaisical of the six fighting animals. No record-breaking times for this bull. No doubt he was disappointed to find that his final destination was not the green fields of San José del Valle, commenting to his brothers: “See? I told you… All that running, and for what?!”
English version by Simon Hunter.