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Pamplona Bull Runner Safety

Safety at the Running of the Bulls®

We use the word “safe” loosely, because running with the bulls in Pamplona is not safe.  It is really important that everyone who steps inside the barriers understands this point. By entering the bull run route, you risk injury or death and all of the responsibility for that decision rests on you. The City of Pamplona, Region of Navarra, and national government are clear that full liability rests with the runner and with no other entity, institution, company or person.

The City

The City of Pamplona goes to great lengths to educate and inform runners, including audio announcements in multiple languages just before each morning bull run. They also publish Official Rules for the Running of the Bulls to be sure everyone has a chance to learn the ropes ahead of time. The city also hosts an ongoing working group of all interested parties to get advice and make decisions to minimize risks during the bull run. They will issue regular press releases about the decisions of this group. Finally, the city has an Advice page that will help you learn some “do’s” instead of just the “don’ts”.

Death at the Pamplona Bull Run

15 people have died since record-keeping began in 1910.  There is little evidence that anyone died before that.  There have been two deaths this century with the last occurring in 2009.  If you are considering running, it is important that you study how injuries occur.  The most common mistake that people make is trying to get up after being knocked down by bulls or runners.  Getting back up just makes you a target, and if you’re already injured, means you are likely to be injured even more severely.  You can see the logic of this advice play out in this 2013 goring, where standing up again only attracted more attention from the bull.

Sobering Thoughts

The most important preparation for the Pamplona bull run is mental.  You must be prepared and focused and realize that your life is on the line.  Your blood alcohol content should be 0.0% to ensure that you can focus 100% of your attention on staying alive.  This tribute to the only American to have died in the Running of the Bulls is a sobering reminder of how serious it is when you step inside the barrier.