Each morning, from the 7th to the 14th July, when the clock strikes eight, six bulls and a horde of people of many different nationalities, run 825 metres through the narrow streets in the old part of Pamplona. A flood of excitement, fear, courage and devotion.
The ENCIERRO or running of the bulls, is an ancestral tradition involving, each morning, 3,000 runners, 600 workers, 20,000 spectators in the street and at the bull ring and a further 2,5 million people viewing the event on TV.
Although the bull running does not generally last for more than three minutes, on occasions a bull has been known to turn round and go in the direction of the pen or to stop altogether. These are the longest and most dangerous runs.
Along this route going through the old part of the city of Pamplona, there are a number of key points: the “Cuesta de Santo Domingo” where the steep slope makes the runners slower whilst the bulls, with their shorter front legs, can run even faster; the “Plaza del Ayuntamiento” square, where the route widens out and gives the runners a break; the “Calle Mercaderes” street and its famous bend where the bulls tend to skid and fall over, creating the most dangerous moments; the “Curva de Telefónica” bend, which is more open and makes it easier to identify the runners; the “Callejón” or passageway into the bull ring where the famous “montones” or pile ups occur, with bottlenecks of runners and bulls blocking the entrance to the ring; and finally the entrance to the “Plaza de Toros” or bull ring, where the runners fan out as they enter the ring. However, although the running may appear to be over, until the bulls have actually crossed the ring and entered the pens, danger is ever present.
It is an ancient tradition. It is EL ENCIERRO from Pamplona.