Iñaki Gonzalez began attending the running of the bulls 27 years ago. In this interview he shares his significant experience for those that are interested in participating by running or by watching this dangerous and traditional event that takes place every year in Pamplona from July 7 to July 14.
Since you are an experienced runner, we would like to hear more about your background so our customers will learn about the run and how the locals experience the running of the bulls.
Could you explain us when and why did you decided to run the bulls?
Although I began running when I was 18, I had wanted to run since my mother took me to watch the run when I was a child every year during the Festival. Watching the footage of the run on tv and pictures in the newspapers always made me anxious to try it myself. I told myself I would run someday, and after my 18th birthday I decided to run!
How would you describe the moment before you start running?
The truth is that are many moments of tension, but also the understanding that you have to take responsibility. It is very important that you help everything work well as smoothly as possible and not let anything bad happen.
Although you are surrounded by other people the moment before the run, there is still a solitary experience to the moment before you run. It is difficult to express my feelings about that moment because each race it is different, but no matter how odd each moment may be, each one requires a significant amount of concentration.
We know that running in front of 6 animals brave, loose in the streets requires preparation. How do you prepare to run?
There is no specific preparation for the race, but the serious runners train all year using a variety of methods. These methods include racing, lifting weights, attending classes at the gym, and in the weeks leading up to the race I practice more specific sporting events like sprints.
Do you think that runners are aware of the dangers of the running of the bulls?
Of course, most runners do know and all runners should know that running with the bulls involve risks. You can die if you are not careful. This is a very real and serious possibility.
The issue is, people that have never run before don’t think that anything will happen to them. I would caution people that the highest risk is always in the street when the bulls are loose.
In your opinion, are the bulls are the runners more dangerous?
There is no question that the bulls are more dangerous and can present more hazards than runners. However, you have to be careful around other runners, especially inexperienced runners because you don’t know how other runners will react when they see the bulls.
What advice would you give new runners?
It’s hard give advice to new runners, but I would recommend that you get to know as much as you can about the race and traditions in Pamplona, that you respect the bulls and other runners, experience every moment and enjoy yourself. Above all, rest and don’t drink!
Besides the running of the bulls, there are many other things to do in Pamplona during the Festival of San Fermín. Tell us how you would spend a day in Pamplona during the Festival…
I prefer to enjoy the party and various events in the city during the day because there are so many things to do.
After the Run, I go with my friends to have breakfast, a drink (usually of vermouth). I walk around town, go to the apartado, I also spend time at the bullfights, or enjoy cocktails at the bar. I always make sure to get home early to be ready to rest up for the next days’ run!
What do you like most about the Festival?
There are many things… but of course I always will choose the Encierro.
And the least?
The people who don’t respect the city, the other tourists or runners and the Encierro. These people thinks that they can do whatever they want without considering other people. This ruins the Festival for everyone.
In conclusion, as an experienced runner, what do you recommend to our clients, who will either run or watch the Running of the Bulls?
if you really want to run, do it! Always remember to respect other runners and the bulls. This is an incredible tradition. If you really want to run then follow your heart (and keep your feet moving fast). I know you will want to repeat the experience!
However, But if you are not completly sure, you will love the tradition just as much if you enjoy the running of the bulls from a balcony.