Extreme tourism usually requires some fairly expensive equipment, or at least loads of preparation, but the Spaniards have invented one of the most dangerous tourist attractions in the world and all you need for it is – well, you actually need nothing. You especially don’t need common sense or even the instinct for survival. Apparently, in Pamplona, during the Feria de San Fermin, you can run with the bulls at 8:00 am from July 7th to July 14th.
What is it?
Now, some of you that are a bit more romantic might think that running with the bulls is something fairly controlled and somewhat safe, like swimming with the dolphins. Well, no. Running with the bulls is actually running AWAY FROM the bulls. While the angry 1000 lbs beasts at full speed charge towards you, what you need to do is – survive. That’s it. There are no cages to keep you safe, but scared, like there are when swimming with the sharks; no helpers that a matador has. Just an angry 1000 lbs heavy pile of muscles and horns against your trembling legs. Oh, yes, not one angry 1000 lbs heavy pile, but about a dozen of them.
The whole thing is a part of a festival that lasts eight days and is filled with activities all over Pamplona that include sports, singing, live music and various competitions. Oh, yes, and loads of drinking, which might explain why there are so many people running in front of the sharp and speeding horns. The festival itself is actually fairly cheerful and interesting to tourists and definitely worth checking out.
This race developed slowly. In the 14th century the merchants who transported their cattle tried to speed things up, which turned into a competition with young men who were increasing their adrenaline levels by running in front of the bulls. Pretty soon, instead of preventing these youngsters from doing this, other people decided this was a great idea and the race became popular even outside Spain.
The race and safety
No one under the age of 18 can enter. The average speed is about 15 mph. The average means that, at times, they run even faster. The length of the race is 903 yards and it usually lasts about 4 minutes. You can exit the race at many points since there are numerous barricades that are supposed to steer the competitors. Now, those barricades have gaps in them that are wide enough for a man to go through, but not wide enough for the bulls. The record keeping regarding this race began a bit over a hundred years ago, and here are the results so far. On average, about 250 people get injured every year, most of the injuries not being very serious, but also some of them being fairly disgusting with horns piercing limbs. 15 people have died and, not surprisingly, 13 of them died due to goring.
So, there you go. A great opportunity for some adrenaline rush while enjoying an exciting festival. On the other hand, just watching the race can up the adrenaline level.