Photography: José Luis Abadía
The first running of the bulls of the 2009 Sanfermin fiestas, with bulls from the Alcurrucén bull-ranch (Toledo) turned out to be a very fast one, taking only 2 min. 30 sec. There were no injuries from gorings and only four people were taken to the hospitals of Pamplona with bruises. In their fourth ever participation in the Sanfermin fiestas, the Alcurrucén bull-breed performed nobly and, although the course was packed with runners and there were a lots of falls and trip-ups, the only injuries seem to have been bruises.
The pack of bulls came out of the pens in Santo Domingo at a fast pace tucked closely in behind the bell-oxen as they raced up the slope. No attempts were made by the bulls to charge at the great number of runners who surrounded them all along this stretch.
At the end of Santo Domingo a black bull started to move ahead and lead the pack and some runners managed to get in close in front of the horns of this bull across they came out of Santo Domingo and ran across the City Hall square and into Mercaderes.
At the beginning of the Mercaderes stretch there were a few moments of danger when the black bulls slipped up and a couple of runners were caught trapped between them. Luckily, the runners stayed down on the ground without moving and the bulls ignored them. The pack continued to race ahead at a fast pace and there was no slipping up or sliding as they crossed Mercaderes and into the bend of Estafeta Street.
On this longest section of the course, some good close running in front of the horns could be appreciated, particularly as the pack began to stretch out somewhat, leaving space for the runners to get in front of the horns. Here, one of the bulls slipped up and knocked over a runner. This bull was now separated from the rest of the pack. Some meters ahead, another bull also caused a moment of panic when it charged one of the runners, but without using its horns. In general, the running was fast and clean all along this stretch.
The pack of bulls raced past Telefónica at a fast pace and down into the stretch leading into the bullring with some runners still finding space to show some spectacular running in front of the bulls.
The first four bulls entered the bullring still running tightly together and they were soon followed by the two remaining bulls coming up behind. With some good work from the "dobladores" with their capes, the bulls were quickly lead towards the pens without producing any further danger.