Skip to main content

Crazy? Brave? Drunk? What drives Pamplona's bull runners?

By Diana Chan, CNN
July 9, 2013 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Running of the Bulls in Pamplona has attracted more tourists in recent years
  • Event generates enormous publicity for Pamplona
  • Four people injured on first day of this year's bull run

(CNN) -- Some call it courage, others madness.

Still others attribute it just to excessive alcohol.

Whatever their motivation, thousands of daredevils from across the globe were on the streets of Pamplona, Spain, on Sunday testing their nerve by sprinting through the city streets in front of six huge, charging bulls.

Risking injury at the horns of a frantic, three-quarter-ton creature may not sound like everyone's idea of a pleasant vacation.

At 8 a.m. sharp, rockets are fired to signal the start of the Bull Run. Six fighting bulls are released from their pen. Humans and bulls then begin a mad race through the cobbled streets of Pamplona, ending up in the central bull ring. At 8 a.m. sharp, rockets are fired to signal the start of the Bull Run. Six fighting bulls are released from their pen. Humans and bulls then begin a mad race through the cobbled streets of Pamplona, ending up in the central bull ring.
Race starts with rockets
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
La Pamplona Gallery La Pamplona Gallery

Yet the legendary, centuries-old Running of the Bulls in Pamplona -- part of the annual San Fermín Festival -- has attracted more and more tourists to this small, northern Spanish city in recent years.

What's the attraction?

There's no longer a practical need to herd the bulls through the city streets to the bull ring in the center of town.

The frenetic race is maintained because it's fantastic publicity for Pamplona, as well as one of the world's most memorable tests of bravery and agility.

Amazing and scary

So, what's your chance of injury?

Not as high as the fearful-looking contest might suggest.

On the first day of this year's bull run, among the thousands of runners, only four were treated for injuries.

But maybe they're counting themselves lucky, showing off their bruises as a mark of courage.

After all, it's a sign they almost certainly weren't hiding in a doorway as the bulls thundered past.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Based on the votes of over 330 industry experts, the 2014 winners include bars from 27 cities in 14 countries.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT)
Careening down an active volcano at 95 kph on a thin board? It happens only at Cerro Negro in Nicaragua.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1337 GMT (2137 HKT)
Tips and techniques for those who want to turn their vacation into a rewarding family history lesson.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1953 GMT (0353 HKT)
From savory power snacks to beloved Indian ice cream, here's how to do Delhi street food right.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
La Chaux de Fonds, Avenue Léopold Robert. Neuchâtel: Phototypie Co., Postmark 16.6.1919
Long before our traveling friends had Facebook and Instagram to taunt us, they had postcards.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
After slurping down noodles in 1,000 stores, the "ramen guy" untangles the complex flavors of Japan's diverse dish
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
A visitor lies down to take a selfie on the new glass floor at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Mayor of Paris says 125-year-old landmark's new attraction will prove to critics the city still has some magic.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 0244 GMT (1044 HKT)
These days, some of the best running trails can be found in the world's busiest places.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
A 1939 Bugatti 57C in the Cite de l'Automobile in Mulhouse France.
Midlife crisis males have nothing on Bugatti-obsessed brothers behind vast sports car collection.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
When it comes to air travel, courtesy and common sense are often the first two things to fly out the departure gates.
ADVERTISEMENT