Five injured in superfast Pamplona bull run

Author: By Alvaro Barrientos, Associated Press

The third day of the San Fermin festival saw pile-ups of fallen daredevils and
other dicey situations, although the run was clean for the most part.

Five runners suffered bumps and bruises but were not seriously hurt, Navarra
Hospital spokesman Javier Sesma said.

The six fighting bulls and six accompanying steers covered the 850-meter
(half-mile) route through the old quarter of Pamplona in two minutes and 20
seconds, which is very fast by San Fermin standards. The average is between
3 and 3 1/2 minutes.

The festival features a total of eight runs, and the crowd of sprinters is
expected to swell for the weekend sprints in this northern town.

At one point a chocolate-colored bull fell and half a dozen runners tripped
over it and went down. One man got up, turned back to toward the mass of
oncoming traffic and was promptly run over by a black beast weighing around
645 kilograms (1,400 pounds). It was not immediately clear if this runner
was among the five injured.

The most dangerous incident of the day came at a sharp right turn where the
animals often fall down, or at least slam into a wooden barrier as they try
to negotiate the bend. One runner stayed razor-close to a pack of four or
five bulls as they took the turn, risking getting crushed between the
animals and the wall.

“He got lucky. He got away with it,” a veteran runner, Gorka Azpilicueta, told
Spanish Television later.

People come from all over the world to test their bravery and enjoy nonstop
street parties at this festival made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The
Sun Also Rises.”

So far this year no one has been gored or seriously trampled.

Fourteen people have died at San Fermin since record-keeping began in 1924.
The last fatal goring was in 1995. The victim was Matthew Tassio, a
22-year-old American.

In 2003, Pamplona native Fermin Etxeberri, 63, was trampled in the head by a
bull and died after spending months in a coma.

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