How dangerous are the bull runs in Spain?

How dangerous are the bull runs in Spain?

If you're planning to run with the bulls in Spain, or if your loved one is planning to run, you may be wondering just how dangerous the bull runs really are. 

While some days are bloodier than others, the vast majority of people who run with the bulls don't experience any injuries at all. Very few people get gored each year, and only a small fraction of people who do get gored die from their wounds. Millions of people have run with the bulls in Pamplona since record-keeping began in 1910; since then, fifteen people have died in the runs. 

The likelihood of getting injured increases depending on how close you run in front of or alongside the bulls. You don't need to get a picture of yourself running "on the horns" to say that you've run with the bulls or to experience the incredible adrenaline rush of the encierro; you can keep a distance and still have bragging rights!

The likelihood of getting injured also increases depending on the street you choose to run. If you plan on running on a safer, wider street like Calle Mercaderes, you will be less likely to get serious injuries. For beginner runners, your decision of exactly where you will wait to run with the bulls should be made in advance, and safety should be your number one priority. Keep in mind that no matter where you plan on starting, you will need to line up in the Plaza Consistorial by 7:10am; at 7:45am, the police barricade will disperse and you will be able to walk or jog to your starting position.

Most people don't realize that the crowds of people are one of the most dangerous elements of the bull runs. In certain places along the run, such as the callejón or bullring passageway, the crowds get so dense that - if someone trips and falls - there can be human pile-ups of 30 or more people. In this event, you will be unable to get out from underneath the weight of other people, and bulls will continuously ram into the crowd - potentially goring dozens of people. It's recommended that you choose a generally less-dense area of the run, such as Calle Mercaderes, if you are a beginner bull-runner. 

Serious injuries during the bull-runs are rare, but they are very much possible. One of the most important tips for runners to remember is if you fall down while running, do not get up. Bulls sense movement, so they will be more likely to ignore you if you stop moving. If you fall down, cover your head with your hands and, if possible, curl up into a fetal position to protect your vital organs. 

If you'd prefer to experience this tradition from the safe distance of a balcony, you can rent a balcony space here at BullBalcony. 


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