How long is The Running of the Bulls route?
After many years of talking to customers who want to travel to Pamplona during The Running of the Bulls, one of the popular questions is “How long is the Running of the Bulls route?” Usually clients who ask me that question, is because they have in mind to run, and need information to know how to do it. If you are one of them, this post is a “must” for you!
Every year, there are more and more people interested in traveling to Pamplona with the idea of participate in El Encierro (The Spanish name that receives the action of running with the bulls), thinking of they will participate in a race where everybody begins at a starting point and ends at the finish line.
Nothing could be further from the truth! The bull run is a tradition that goes back a long time and consists of moving the bulls from the corrals located at Santo Domingo Street to Pamplona’s Bullring, sohat afternoon, 3 bullfighters will fight the 6 bravo bulls during the bullfights.
El Encierro, is the most famous event of the Saint Fermín Festival in Pamplona, and take place every day from July 7th to 14th at 8am.
The bulls route, from start to the end is 875 meters distributed along three streets (Santo Domingo, Mercaderes and Estafeta). It doesn’t look that much, right? The bulls route is not a big distance, but it is impossible to complete it with the bulls, due to its speed and the presence of other runners.
Along with the bulls, in addition to the runners, eleven shepherds, run with the animals and guide them throughout the whole bulls route. These shepherds are a very important and respected at the running of the bulls, as they are in charge of protect bulls and runners.
The bulls that participate in The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, are chosen from the most famous bull farms of Spain, usually their weight is about 500-600 kg and complete the whole bulls route in 2 or 3 minutes. In addition to its speed, every day there are about 2000 runners on the bulls route, which makes run El Encierro much more difficult.
If you want to be one of those 2000 runners, you have to arrive between 06:30 – 7:00 am to the access located at Plaza Consistorial (where Pamplona’s Town Hall is) and stay there until the police open the police line, that allows the runners to get ready to run at the desired place.
Although the Running of the Bulls may seem crazy and super fun experience you have to know that run El Encierro is a very dangerous event. It is not usual, but there have been several deaths in the last decades.
In addition to the danger involved in running on a fenced route with six bulls and six oxen, many accidents are caused by the runners themselves or by falls. Every day the Pamplona’s medical staff attends to many people injured by contusions, traumatism and bull horn.
El Encierro, It is a tradition that Pamplona locals take very seriously. It’s not just about running and trying to get to the bullring. So if you are thinking of traveling to Pamplona, and want to run with the bulls, we recommend that you first be very well informed about the event, about the risks, rules and prohibitions and of course that you are aware of what you are going to do.
If you are not sure about wanting to go through that risk, it is best to enjoy the Running of the Bulls in a different way. Today there are some options to see El Encierro in a much safer way. So if you want to know about it, do not miss our post Best Place to watch The Running of the Bulls.
Picture by: Oscar Montero Photographer.