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Running of the Bulls

July 7, 2010

Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain

As a fan of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, today is always one of my favorite days of the year; the beginning of the Festival of San Fermin – the Running of the Bulls.

AP

Dozens of runners, dressed in the festival’s traditional white shirts and pants with red sashes, sang a chant to a statue of San Fermin at the start of the route seconds before a firecracker rocket blast signaled the release of the bulls from the pen.

Thousands of daredevils dashed through Pamplona’s historic old quarter Wednesday for a goring-free first bull run at the San Fermin fiesta, a raucous event that ushers in Spain’s summer party season.

The thrillseekers raced to keep ahead of six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers tasked with trying to keep the beasts together along the 930-yard (850-meter) course from a holding pen to the bull ring in this northern city.

Several runners were knocked to the ground and some were trampled on by the animals weighing more than 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) but there were no gorings or life-threatening injuries.

An 18-year-old man from Melbourne, Australia, suffered an eye injury and a 20-year old Spaniard suffered multiple contusions, Navarra state government said on its web site. Both were hospitalized but their injuries were not considered serious. They were identified only by their initials.

Last year’s festival saw the first fatal goring in nearly 15 years.

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