By Vincent West
“Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves.”
- George Mallory, mountaineer.
“I think about my mother,” says bullrunner Deirdre Carney.
“I don’t think a lot of men think about that. It might be a woman thing… Women think about the loved ones that will be harmed by them being harmed.”
Carney is talking about her thoughts before running with the bulls at Pamplona’s famous San Fermin festival, where being harmed is a definite possibility.
Several people were hospitalised during the event this year, one after being badly gored in the thigh by the 600 kg (1,323 lb) Victoriano del Rio fighting bull “Brevito”.
Fourteen people have died over the course of the last century at San Fermin and it is commonplace for runners to be hurt by being trampled, gored or crushed.
“I wake up terrified,” says Carney. “You have to control your panic and your fear and then you get down there and do it and the pay-off is quite incredible.”