The possibility of suffering life-threatening wounds are part and parcel of the Running of the Bulls – Spain’s largest and most famous bull running event. The San Fermin Festival runs for nine days in Pamplona every July, and each year dozens of people are seriously hurt as they navigate the twisting cobblestoned streets with six massive bulls that will be fought later that day. This high-adrenaline tradition lures daredevils and thrill-seekers who risk life and limb for a chance to run with Spanish fighting bulls that, with the flick of a horn, can cause crippling injury or even death.
While the majority of runners in the ‘encierros’ hail from Spain, increasing numbers of Aussies, Brits, Americans, and other foreign nationals are taking part. During the half-mile route, the bulls run with fierce speed and take no notice of anyone or anything that gets in their way. Some runners are trapped against walls, others tripped up by novice participants, and others knocked to the ground by 1,200 pounds of hard bovine muscle. Almost every year, a few unfortunate souls will experience the pain – and perhaps pride — of being gored by a bull.
Running of the Bulls – 8 people gored
Not all gorings prove fatal, and this year was no exception. In 2019, Running of the Bulls gorings totaled 8. The victims, according to Navarra authorities, included four Spaniards, two Australians, and two Americans. Most of the men suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the piercing horns, although one American required surgery after being badly gored in the back.
On the final day of the Pamplona bull runs this year, it was one rogue bull that wreaked havoc, after he fell behind the rest of the herd. The lone bull flipped one person over its horns before smashing him to the street, and eventually gored three runners that morning.
2019 Pamplona Bull Run Injuries
The Royal Navarre Hospital reports that a total of 35 people were injured in the 2019 Pamplona bull runs. The majority of the injured were treated onsite by Red Cross responders, and those with more severe injuries were taken to the hospital. Broken bones, head contusions, and abrasions were the most common injuries, often sustained by knocks from the bulls, or tumbles during the run.
Seven of the eight runners gored were hospitalized for their injuries. One 19-year-old woman from Spain, who took a horn in the back, escaped serious harm.