Half-ton fighting bulls knocked down thrill-seekers in the first bull run since 2019 at Spain’s San Fermin festival in Pamplona on Thursday, sending five people to hospital.
No one was gored, but several daredevils were trampled or knocked onto the cobblestones of the medieval northern town during the first of the festival’s eight early-morning bull runs.
Of those who were taken to hospital, one was being treated for a leg injury, while another suffered a blow to the head in the fall and a teenager sustained an arm injury, a Red Cross spokesman said.
Six bulls, led by six tame oxen to keep the herd together, made their way through a sea of hundreds of runners, mostly dressed in traditional white clothing with red scarves.
The bulls raced the roughly 850-meter route from a corral to the city’s bullring in two minutes and 35 seconds.
They will be killed in bullfights later on Thursday.
“The cops stayed tight, they rolled through, so it was over very quickly,” said Gordon MacDonald, a 46-year-old IT worker from Glasgow who took part in the run.
“It’s been a long time since we ran here so everyone was a little nervous, we couldn’t remember exactly how it was going to go,” he told AFP.
People from all over the world flock to the city of around 200,000 to test their mettle and enjoy the 24-hour mix of parties, religious processions and concerts.
The annual festival, made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, was last held in 2019.
Officials canceled the hugely popular event in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the first time the festival has been canceled since the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War.
Sixteen people have died in the bull races since 1910. The last death occurred in 2009.
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