A fortnight ago I accepted a prize from the most ancient encierros, ‘bull-runs’, in all of Spain, those of the town of Cuéllar.
Earlier that morning I nearly died while running them. The bull in the photo-detail below was suelto – ‘loose’, alone – and faced away from me when I seized what I thought was a chance and tried to run past it in the narrow street.
At the same moment, another runner tried to do exactly the same from the other direction. When we collided, both of us with eyes only on the bull, he was bounced clear to safety while I lost my footing on the slippery street at the very instant the bull caught our movement in its peripheral vision and charged me as I struggled to get upright with my back against the fence.
In this moment – which lasted as infinitely long as all the novelists, journalists and diarists of near-death say it does – I stood so still as to render myself invisible to the bull whose horn points were paused either side of my chest. Read on at The Last Arena here.