Bull Session

Bull-Running Advice from a Hemingway

None When you want advice on being famous for no reason, you ask a Kardashian. When you want advice on surviving the running of the bulls, you ask a Hemingway. So we talked to John (Ernest’s grandson, author of the family memoir Strange Tribe, two-time runner of the bulls) for a few pointers in advance of next month’s run.

The whole week’s a nonstop party.
“You meet friends, you make friends, if they don’t show up, you meet someone else,” he says. “People always ask, ‘How many hours of sleep did you get last night?’ ‘Oh, three. That’s not bad.’”

Well, except the running itself. “If you partied all night, you better be able to wake up and be in some sort of condition to run.”

There are a few simple rules: “You have to be 18. Don’t touch the bull. You can’t be drunk. And if you get knocked down, stay down.”

Leave the running shoes at home. “I just wear Converse.”

It’s over before you know it. “It’s two and a half, three minutes at the max.”

“Whether you’re a good runner or a bad runner, you could have bad luck. But that’s like crossing the street in NYC—you [could] get hit by a car.”

The people are more dangerous than the bulls. “You’ll get knocked down. You’re gonna get scraped, you may break a bone. It gets kind of crazy, with everyone pushing and everything.”

Beware of a bull separated from the herd. “If a bull becomes separated from the herd, it immediately stakes out a territory—anything within striking distance of its horns, he goes for. If he’s got you there, he will keep coming until he kills you.”

His grandfather ran. Or maybe he didn’t. “I see no proof that he did run, but there’s no proof that he didn’t. People have said forever that he used to run—that he ran like mad.”


John Hemingway
on the Running of the Bulls
Pamplona, Spain
official website 

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