Not long to go ...
The moment captured in this photo is an opportunity. No, it is more than that. It is an invitation. In the eight runs I have been in, from 2009 on, I have never seen a moment like this. All the bulls are together in a herd, being led by the cabestros, the oxen, who run the course every day, year after year, guiding and calming - to some extent- the fighting bulls who have never been in this environment before. Unlike these gentle giants, the bulls have no idea who or what the runners are but tend to follow the precautionary principle of taking a swipe at anything in their path, and that can end badly in a number of ways. There is the obvious: they gore you. And there is the not so obvious, like when their
horn gets hooked in a belt, and then they carry you along the street, bouncing your head on the pavement as they go.
When the herd is all together like this, the bulls are far less likely to indulge in anything more than an exploratory jab or a side swipe to knock you out of the way. So, should you find yourself in a moment like this, with clear tarmac in front of you, horns behind, then run like the wind and revel in the mass thundering behind you. You are now part of the true run, the wild hunt, whose base rhythm and massive force you ride like an animal wave for as long as your legs will hold you. Then take the leap of faith - not the meaningless and dangerous jump the tourists make from the fountain - but the Navarrese dive, which is sideways and out of the herd you no longer have the strength or honour to be part of.
Alexander Fiske-Harrison is an English writer and actor. His book Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight is published by Profile Books and was shortlisted for the Sports Book of the Year Award 2011.