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PAMPLONA, Spain (AFP) – Hundreds of daredevils tested their bravery Thursday by fleeing half-tonne fighting bulls through the winding streets of Pamplona in northern Spain in a run that sent two men to hospital.
No one was gored but a 20-year-old Spaniard and a 42-year-old American were taken to hospital with injuries after falling in the fifth bull run of the famed San Fermin festival, regional health officials said.
Six bulls and six steers, castrated bulls that keep the herd together, charged through the narrow, cobbled streets of the city, clearing a path through a sea of runners mostly dressed in white with red handkerchiefs around their necks.
"I was scared because the bulls ran quickly and it is hard to get in front of the horns," said 26-year-old Jaime Silvestre who came from the eastern Spanish city of Castellon with a group of friends to take part in the festival for the first time.
The bulls from the Torrestrella ranch in the southern province of Cadiz completed the 848.6-metre (928-yard) course from a holding pen to the city bull ring in two minutes and 47 seconds.
People from around the world flock to the city of 200,000 residents to test their bravery and enjoy the festival's mix of round-the-clock parties, religious processions and concerts.
Fifteen people have been killed in the bull runs since records started in 1911.
The most recent death took place four years ago when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard in the neck, heart and lungs.
The nine-day fiesta, which dates back to medieval times and was immortalised in Nobel prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises", ends on July 14.