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Thursday, July 10, 2014 (read 525 times)

New Rules for the Running of the Bulls

by David

The Sanfermines

For those lucky enough to go to Pamplona over the next two weeks to participate in the Sanfermines, there will be some changes to the way the famous running of the bulls is held. Although most will not notice any of these changes, this is an excellent reminder of how the local authorities are always contemplating changes and anticipating issues that could lead to greater problems in the future. For the first time ever, infractions will have a cost associated to them ranging from €200 to €60,000 or almost $100,000!

Considering that until now there haven't been any kind of formal regulations in place is pretty amazing and is testimony as to how the Spanish manage to auto-regulate themselves during these kinds of festivals. But in Pamplona, with its increasing popularity (still!), and international appeal it was probably time to formalize some rules and procedures.

No longer will the route be open to everyone—kind of.  At the entrances to the streets where the bulls run, visibly intoxicated participants will not be allowed to enter as well as anyone under 18 years of age. This last rule has been in place for some time and is the law in all of Spain. For those people that have had a little too much to drink and are found within the recorrido, they will be removed and fined. It is also prohibited to distract, touch or play with the bulls while they are running—except, of course if it is to avoid getting gored.

Curiously, a very serious infraction is the use of any kind of mechanical method of transportation along the route. This means that skateboards, scooters, bicycles etc… are  all prohibited from being used along the way. I've never seen anyone use a skateboard or rollerblades, but you never know…

Other minor offenses that will get you in hot water and up to a $1000 fine are things like wearing inadequate clothing or shoes for the running, carrying bottles or cans, using a camera (video or photo) and anything else that can endanger or distract you or your fellow runners. And remember, the fines are paid directly to the police officer. If you don't have the money on hand, they will gladly escort you to the nearest ATM machine.

Other actions or behaviors that will be subject to scrutiny will be placing any physical impediment in or above the streets where the running will take place. It will also be prohibited to stop in the middle of the running or stand in front of or sit on the fencing in a way that prevents others from  using it while the bulls are running loose.

Other aspects of the running of the bulls that are regulated in this municpal Bando are certain hours and procedures. For example, everything must be closed up (stores, cafes, apartment accesses etc.) and all music turned off along the route by 7:00am and the course should be clear of non-runners by 7:30am. The running of the bulls will continue to start at its traditional time of 8:00am sharp.

Don't forget about the use of bottle rockets to signal to the public key moments during the running of the bulls:

  • First rocket: The bulls are leaving the corral: the start of the running of the bulls.
  • Second rocket: All the bulls have left the corral.
  • Third rocket: All of the bulls are in the bull ring. (this is different this year)
  • Fourth rocket: All of the bulls have entered the corral of the bull ring. All clear.



In the end, these rules aren't so bad if you consider that when you run with the bulls you are putting your life on the line along with the thousands running with you. With all the parties and good times it is easy to forget that six 1200lb. bulls and another five or six steers are plowing down the street at 20 mph.

As always, have a great time and "Viva San Fermín!"

Keywords: running of the bulls pamplona,pamplona spain,running of the bulls spain,spanish festivals,festivals in spain,running of the bulls,pamplona,sanfermines

Posted In: Culture


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