Five injured in running of the bulls

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Five revellers were injured but there were no gorings at a danger-filled and crowded weekend running of the bulls at Spain's San Fermin festival today.

Red Cross spokesman Jose Aldaba said several people were treated by mobile units along the 850 metre course from a holding pen on the edge of town to Pamplona's central bull ring.



Morning dew on the cobblestone surface of the course and large crowds, many of whom had partied all night, had increased the likelihood of runners slipping or tripping up as the bulls raced down narrow passageways.



The particularly long-horned, all-black bulls today were from the Dolores Aguirre breeding ranch and included Burgalito, a 1,300lb muscular specimen.



Navarra Hospital doctor Fernando Boneta said three men had been taken to hospital, one with head injuries, another with a face wound and one with a back injury.



The government of Navarra, the province which encompasses Pamplona, later said in a statement that five people were taken to the hospital. One of the injured, identified only by the initials M.R., from Palma de Mallorca, was to remain under observation in hospital.



The statement said the other four injured included an Irish national identified as D.F. and three more Spaniards, two of whom had already left the hospital after receiving treatment for slight injuries.



Pamplona swells each year at the weekend with people arriving from other parts of Spain to enjoy the festival atmosphere.



The run was quite fast, lasting two minutes, 53 seconds, and danger arose when three of the six bulls became separated at the back of the pack.



Lone bulls become disoriented and can begin to charge at moving objects, especially red-garlanded runners, often causing mayhem within the medieval streets at this age-old nine-day festival.



The annual San Fermin feast is renowned internationally for its round-the-clock drinking that attracts tens of thousands of young people eager to mix alcohol with the early-morning adrenaline of daredevil runs that sometimes end in tragedy. Last year's festival saw the first fatal goring in nearly 15 years.



Each afternoon the bulls from the morning run face matadors in the bullring and, once killed, their meat is served up as a delicacy in Pamplona's restaurants, accompanied by red wine from the neighbouring region of Rioja.

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