A Montón and the Running of the Bulls

One of the constant dangers when running with the bulls is a montón, when a runner falls and others trip over him, with runners piling one on top of another until they block the way.  The real danger here is being crushed under the weigh of the other runners or the hones of a bull as they scramble over the pileup.  There have been several major montóns over the years including the one on the first day in the new Plaza de Tores de Pamplona, July 7, 1922, when around a hundred runners were injured as they began to jam up in the entrance to the plaza as the Pastores, the shepards, drove the fighting bulls into the arena over the pile on runners.

Another major pileup happened on July 7, 1957, when the Guardiola bulls ran that morning.  The montón was one of the history of the encierro, but luckily no one was gored or seriously injured, but many where nearly crushed under the weight and had to be treated.  This was followed on July 7, 1960, when 20 runners where injured in a pileup on Calle Estafeta, and on July 8, 1970, when 40 runners were injured, one seriously, in a montón in the entrance to the plaza. Among the runners caught in the pileup that morning was the American matador John Fulton and his friend, the food and wine writer Gerry Dawes. Both excaped injury.

There were two major pileups during the encierros in 1972, the first on the 7th and the second on the 13th.  Luckly I managed to miss them both during my first fiesta, but 40 other runners didn’t, but only one received a horn wound and the rest of the injuries were minor.

One runner died from a goring on July 8, 1977 in a pileup at the entrance to the plaza, while 35 others were injured.

On July 12, 2004, there was a pileup in the Callejon, the narrow corridor, more like a funnel, entrance to the plaza.  Four runners were gored, including one of the local runners, Julen Madina, who suffered several horn wounds as he was attacked repeatly by a bull.

The last major montón happened the morning of  July 13, 2013, when a gate leading into the arena partly closed, narrowing the entrance and blocking the runners who like to enter the plaza ahead of the bulls.  But this morning they were trapped as the bulls arrived moments later and began to piled up against them, leaving 21 of them injured, 2 in serious condition.

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The Bulls of Sanfermines 2020

The bulls for Sanfermines 2020 will be announced at the end of the year, until then we present you with a guild to running with the bulls in Pamplona, which takes place at 8:00 am each morning from the 7th of July until the final run the morning of the 14th along the narrow streets of city’s historic quarter, giving us eight days of the encierro, eight days in which to join Navarra in its annual festival of the bull, the Feria del Toro, which dates from the 14th century.

Exclusive Travel Planning Services by Iberian Traveler & Maribel’s Guides.  Contact Maribel to arrange a custom itinerary for your trip to Spain, Portugal, or France.


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