Pamplona bull run: Author of 'How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona' guide gets gored

Jonathan Brown explains how he survived at the controversial Spanish event

Ernest Hemingway knew a thing or two about taking risks. War correspondent, big game hunter, boozer, traveller – he was the very embodiment of the 20th-century adventurer.

But when it came to the annual bull run at Pamplona in Spain – an event he immortalised in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises – the author realised this was one experience it was better to observe and write about rather than participate in.

In the annual contest between man and beast this year it has been beast that has snatched the headlines.

The daily statement from the Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra revealed today that eight runners remained in hospital where they were recovering from serious injuries after taking part.

A further two had been kept in for observation– an American and a Scot, both in their late 40s – who were among seven people injured as they fled through the wet cobbled streets in the fifth daily running of the bulls at Spain’s week-long San Fermin festival.

 

They are reported to have suffered head wounds and are currently under observation. But it is the goring earlier this week of “Buffalo” Bill Hillman that has shone a new light on the dangers of participation in the encierro – the terrifying 850-metre dash which draws hundreds of thousands of Hemingway devotees, thrill-seekers and daredevils to the Basque city each summer.

 

The irony, not lost on observers and critics of the event, is that Hillman is the co-author of Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona, which claims to provide tips to those wishing to emerge unscathed from their encounter with more than six tonnes of charging beef flesh.

The American was gored through the leg after falling during the chase. The bull’s horn missed his artery and he is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery.

His friend and co-author Alexander Fiske-Harrison described how he too was forced to dive for safety to avoid being gored – a course of action he described as “ignominious, bruising but safe”.

Bill Hillman, the co-author of a book on surviving the bull run, in hospital after being gored Bill Hillman, the co-author of a book on surviving the bull run, in hospital after being gored (EPA)

“It was that same bull which found my brother-in-arms Bill a few metres further down the street. It was a bloody day out there – another man in a far worse condition than Bill was gored in the chest,” he added.

Fifteen people have died taking part in the run since record-keeping began in 1924, the most recent in 2009. It was not the prospect of possible death that drew me to Spain in 1988 when, clutching a tattered second-hand copy of Hemingway’s book, I took my chances against the rampaging herd, albeit cautiously.

Although the event seems to have been made even more treacherous by the advent of the smartphone selfie-taking during the sprint, it is not the plight of humans which evokes the anger of campaigners.

Bill Hillman is the co-author of this book Bill Hillman is the co-author of this book
Rather, it is that of the bulls which elicits much of the world’s sympathy, as all 48 are put to death in the ring during the course of the festival.

This year, more than 100 activists protested in the central square in a demonstration organised by international animal rights activists dressed in the traditional running garb of red bandana, cummerbund and white suit but with their faces made up like the grim reaper. The pop star Morrissey was among those to denounce the spectacle as “systematic torture”. 

Recovering yesterday was Tom Hadfield, a 23-year-old record company manager from Nottingham who is expecting to stay in hospital for a further two weeks after being trampled.

“I did it last year and it was the best feeling in the world. This year I guess I just pushed my luck. I have four broken ribs, two of which have punctured my right lung. I feel like hell but glad to be alive. I probably won’t take part again next year,” he said.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
People walk through Autumn leaves in St James's Park yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits