The 500kg fighting bull hit around 12 runners during the hour-long event. :: A. B.
Thousands of people took to the streets for San Roque’s annual Toro del Aguardiente bull run last Monday morning.
The historic event saw a 500kg fighting bull chase around 200 locals through the town’s centre towards the bull ring at 7am.
Dating back at least 365 years, the bull run signals the end of the town’s Royal Feria and saw more than 100 men run into the ring with the animal for an hour of “bullfighting”.
Inside the ring they attempted to get close to the bull without getting hit.
However, during the course of the hour long run approximately 12 people were hit by the rampaging bull, with two men knocked unconscious carried out of the venue by fellow runners.
A third man was gored repeatedly by the bull and was also carried out for medical attention.
A spokesman for the town hall later confirmed that two young people were taken to hospital in La Línea after suffering concussions due to the force of the blows
Another was taken to the health centre in San Roque to treat a number of wounds after he was gored several times.
Scotsman Ali Syme, 24, who lives in La Línea and ran the bull run for the first time, said: “I had a lot of sympathy for the bull once I saw it looking scared and confused. It’s weird to think that two people from Monday morning are wearing their hospital admission as a badge of honour.
“It was confusing and although I enjoyed the experience, it wasn’t my cup of tea. Participating means you’re likely to get hurt and as a spectator you’re only encouraging more madness. The next time, at 7am, I’ll happily sleep through it.”
The bull run dates back to 1649 when the original Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar would go to the old Shrine of Saint Roque (built in 1508) in pilgrimage and hold a bull run.
The tradition continued after the Spanish population founded the new town in 1704 when the British and Dutch forces took the Rock.
During the run no one is allowed to touch or hurt the bull and members of a local association runs alongside the animal to make sure nobody hurts it. Afterwards the bulls (two younger bulls are also put in the ring after the main bull is removed) are sent back to the stockbreeder’s estate in the countryside.
Local bull runs are also held in Los Barrios and Gaucín at Easter - although this is the only bull run in the area held early in the morning.