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Weird things to do on holiday: The Pamplona Bull Run

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If you fancy doing something a little strange on your next holiday, there's plenty that you can do when you're abroad to give you stories that will shock and amaze your friends and family for years to come. You could streak through Vatican City, for instance. But we wouldn't recommend that (the police in Rome can get a little agitated about that sort of thing - especially if you're waggling your stuff a little too close to the Pope...!). So we've decided to come up with a series of blogs giving you some snazzy ideas for weird and wonderful things to do on holiday that hopefully won't get you arrested.Our first suggestion... The Pamplona Bull Run!

San Fermn festival

Pamplona is a Spanish city found in the Navarre region in the north of the country. In early July (the 6th until the 14th to be precise), the city plays host to the San Fermn festival, the most renowned of all Spanish fiestas. The most famous event during the festival is the 'Encierro' or 'The Running of the Bulls'.

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The Bull Run

You may well have heard of the bull run. It's certainly difficult to forget it once you have! It's utterly insane. It's a tradition which has been going on in Spain since as early as the 14th Century. Essentially, it's a a load of big scary bulls running down some streets after a big group of panicking thrill-seekers (who may or may not be a bit mental).

The Purpose?

The traditional purpose of the run was to transport bull from their pens, across the city to the bullring, where they were to take part in bullfights a huge spectator sport in Spain. The process got more and more aggressive and elaborate as the years went by until it became a firm tradition to attempt to outrun the horned beasts.

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The Running Begins...

The running begins on the 7th of July every year at 8am and runs daily until the end of the festival. The mad event is so popular on the Iberian continent that it's televised on two separate TV networks. The only two rules are 1) You must be over 18 years old and 2) You mustn't be drunk (which, even on holiday, you really shouldn't be at 8am!).

How dangerous is it?

Well, it's not without its risks (obviously). Though considering the set-up, it's not as bad as you might think. True, almost 300 people are injured every year; it's mostly just knocks and bruises. The number of fatalities is surprisingly low. Only 12 people have died during the Pamplona bull run during the last hundred years.

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Tradition

Bull runs, as with bull fights, are a much-loved tradition in Spain, but both are quite controversial. If you've ever seen bull-fighting, you'll know how shocking the slaughter of the bulls can be. The bulls in the run are on their way to the sword, so this experience isn't for everyone...

But if you're okay with the potential cruelty of the event, here's what you need to know: there are six bulls on each run, the run is 825 metres, it goes through four different streets in the city, the average speed of the bulls is 15mph and if you decide to do it you're off your rocker!

What do you think of entering the Pampplona bull run? Something you'd be keen on? Let us know below...