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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
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

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes