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Pamplona thrill-seekers chased by raging bulls set pace in first run after COVID ban

The atmosphere in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona’s was electric on Thursday (July 7) as the first bull run kicked off following a two-year hiatus due to COVID restrictions.

Sporting white clothing with red neckerchiefs, hundreds of runners armed with adrenaline were chased through the narrow city-centre streets by steers and specially-bred fighting bulls to Pamplona’s bullring where the 800 metre course ends.

Thursday’s run lasted 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Three runners were taken to hospital due to injuries caused by falls, but nobody was gored, emergency services reported.

At least 16 runners have lost their lives since records began, the last casualty being a man gored by a bull in 2009.

The San Fermin festival dates back to the Middle Ages and has religious origins. Participants still chant to an image of the saint and ask for his blessing before the run, which starts at 8 o’clock.

Popularised by Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun also Rises, Pamplona’s fiesta attracts thousands of thrill-seekers and revellers from around the world who come to witness the morning bull runs over the week-long festival as well as to enjoy the wine-fuelled festivities.


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