A response to the death of Daniel Jimeno Romero, in the Pamplona Bull Run

July 11, 2009

Published: Belfast Newsletter, 11 July 2009, page 3, in entirety

When I heard the news that Daniel Jimeno Romero had been fatally gored running with the bulls in Pamplona, I listened with interest.  A year ago, that could have been me.

Last summer, I fulfilled a dream by participating in the pinnacle of the ancient San Fermin festival.  Swamped by tourists now, it grows increasingly dangerous, as with no limit on participants, crowds of people clamber over each other in search of safety.  The bulls are vicious beasts.  The name Capuchino, which was given to the bull that gored Daniel to death, betrays the destruction that is locked up in these tonne weight animals, a characteristic usually hidden if the bulls stay in a pack and continue forwards along the course.  Unfortunately yesterday [Friday] that didn’t happen, and the unpredictable nature of a frightened yet fierce animal was unleashed on whatever would move.  Separated from the pack, the bull feels vulnerable and pretty soon the foolhardy participants do too.  The bull will react to any sudden movement, and unfortunately Daniel was one of the runners who couldn’t get himself stopped quickly enough.

It is a dangerous game, but tremendous fun.  The most exciting things in life come with a risk attached, be that starting up your own business, or bungee jumping.  Given the chance, I’d run again, and one day before I get too old to be wise, I plan to.  Yesterday [Friday] was a sober reminder though, that risks should be calculated, or the consequences can be tragic.