With the population of a little over 198,000 people sits a quiet city in Northern Spain by the name of Pamplona. A fun place to visit and see the sites, and like most it is filled with history that dates back to 74 B.C.

Should you happen to make it there say around the 6th of July, one of the most famous festivals takes place. Allow me to introduce you to one of the most important elements of Spanish Tradition, The Running Of The Bulls. The dates of the Festival and running are the same every year the 6th thru the 14th of July.

I had a chance to be involved in the festivities back in the summer of 1978 and what a rush. The running of the bulls actually starts at 8 O’clock in the morning on the 7th of July and it starts at the Santo Domingo corrals to the bull ring where later that afternoon they participate in the daily bullfight, and yes they are killed. On a positive note all parts of the bull are used to feed some of the unfortunate and even distributed to orphanages throughout parts of the city.

The traditional attire is white pants and a white shirt with a red scarf and red beret. You must be 18 years of age to run, no drunks, no hiding in doorways is allowed, you’re not allowed to scale the barriers, don’t try an touch the bulls and by all means don’t try and run with a backpack on.

To alert the runners that the bulls are on their way, one rocket is launched, after the last bull is out of the corral a second rocket is launched so be ready to run like your life depended on it. Now depending how fast you run it could be the longest or shortest three minutes of your life.

Keep your eyes peeled because you’re not only running from the bulls but you’re running in and out of people in hopes to not trip over someone or become the result of a stampede. That can prove to be disastrous and you don’t want to be gored by the beast.

Since about 1924 roughly 15 people have died from the event and some 200 hurt, that hasn’t stopped anyone from participating really so run at your own risk.

Six bulls and six steers run the barricaded streets, once in the bull ring a steer with a cowbell attracts the bulls to the bullpens. Bulls can hear but are pretty much legally blind (color blind as well) and will go after anything that moves, hence the cape used by the bullfighter.

After all the bulls are secure in the pens attendants will put pads on their horns and let them run in the ring so kids can get in the action. That way  if by chance they get gored, the impact is, let’s say; no different than getting hit in a football game. Soon a steer will come back out with the cowbell around its neck and lure the bulls back in the pens, then the bullfights begin.