J-BAY BULL RUN


Once a year in Pampolona normal, albeit slightly demented, individuals pit their strength and stamina against a mob of frustrated, albeit slightly demented, bulls.

A more unknown, but just as dangerous annual event is held in Jeffreys Bay where in the town normal, albeit slightly demented, parents pit their strength and stamina against a mob of hungry and definitely demented School Kids – the event is the CLASS CAKE SALE.
The structure for both events is very similar.

At Pampolona the runners must be in the running area at 7.30 am. The actual run stretches from the corral at Santo Domingo where the bulls are kept to the bullring where they will fight on the same afternoon. The length of the run is about 825 meters and the average time of the run from start to finish is about 3 minutes. Six fighting bulls run the route as well as 2 heards of bullocks.

At Jeffreys Bay the Parents must enter the Cake Sale area by 8.30 am. Gates are then locked to ensure that no parents or children manage to escape before the event. The actual event stretches from each of the childs classroom to the Cake Sale area – where they will fight for the best goodies on the table. The length of the run differs from cake sale to cake sale because the location of the table is a highly guarded secret leading up to the event. The average length of the run is about 100 meters and the strict time of the run is 30 minutes. 1000 hungry children run the route as well as 25 teachers.

The tension builds as the release of the bulls approaches and at 8.00 am on the dot a rocket is fired to confirm that the gate has been opened at the Santo Domingo Corral. Runners dressed in white with red scarves pray to San Fermin then a second rocket confirms that the bulls have left. The bulls and the runners then proceed along the route.

In Jeffreys Bay the tension builds as break approaches – hotdogs are made, the table is set up groaning with cakes, fudge, sweeties, popcorn, donuts and other delectable goodies – and at 10.00 am on the dot the SCHOOL SECRETARY (remember her) – rings a bell to confirm that it is break time. Parents dressed in aprons do not have time to pray, there is no second bell to confirm that the children have left.

At Pampolona the bulls and runners climb Santo Domingo go accross the square continuing down the c/Mercaderes , the most dangerous part of the bullrun approaches as there is a close curve leading into c/Esterfeta which is the longest stretch of the run. Next comes a small section of road known as the Telefonica stretch. The last stretch is also very risky as it leads into a dead end street providing access into the Bull Ring.
At Jeffreys the children and teachers dash out of their classrooms, this is a very risky stage as each class only has one exit door and 35 children and teachers have to get out of each class quickly in order to get the best food, the next risky stage is when all the runners converge outside their classes and dash to the Cake Sale table – athletic ability, mental prowness and sheer willpower is a must at this stage. At no time is the Parent allowed to leave their post from behind the flimsy cake sale table. The last stage of the actual running part of the race is when the 1000 odd beings collide with the table and the grappling for the yummiest goodies begin. Goodies are despatched, money changes hands and happy customers leave the table. But …. they have one more hurdle before the end of the run – they must get past their friends who have forgotten their cake sale money. Friendships are forged and lost at this stage and finally the successful cake sale buyer can sit down and enjoy his (sometimes squashed) prize.
The parents are a frazzled mess.
A third rocket is set off once all the bulls arrive in the bullring, and a forth, and final, rocket is fired to signify the bulls are in the bullpen and the bullrun is finished.
The runners celebrate with high spirits.
After 30 minutes the second, and final, bell is rung to entice the children back into their classrooms and the cakesale is finished.
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