Writer Tetsuhiko Endo is reporting from Pamplona, Spain, where the running of the bulls continues until Wednesday.
Anyone can run with the bulls during the festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, Spain. Show up at 7:00 a.m. with a pair of running shoes and you can put yourself in front of a couple of tons of bovine fury. But there is running, and then there is running. The former is practiced by hoards of young men who come from all over the world to enjoy this unparalleled street party. They watch the bulls approach, move out of the way, then brag to their friends later. There is risk involved, but it is similar to standing close to a passing train.
There is, however, a group of men mostly composed of native pamplonans who, over the years, have gained fame as knowledgeable and fearless runners elevating the tradition of bull running from street spectacle to craft. They run every day of the festival, every year. In an event that is increasingly packed with neophytes, they help maintain order in the most chaotic of situations. Locally, they are known as los Divinos, “the Divine.”
Jesús Izcue is one of los Divinos. He has run from the bulls every year for the last 20 and has does not plan on stopping any time soon. I tracked him down, through friends, on the Calle Mayor of the old town of Pamplona, where he was taking part in the parade of the giants–massive wood and papermache effigies representing a king and a queen from almost every continent that men place on their shoulders and parade through the streets.
Adventure: How did the run go this morning?
JI: I wasn’t able to run due to a hamstring injury. I injured myself running a month ago and have been recuperating ever since.
Adventure: Running from bulls?
JI: No, just running normally.