A Modest Proposal: The Running of the Sheep*

You mess with the bull; you get the horns.

The annual running of the bulls, at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, wrapped on July 14, as it does every year. With rockets (!!) exploding in order to startle (!!) cornered bulls into stampeding the most terrifying 825-meter run imaginable, it’s a miracle only eight people were gored over the course of this year’s festivities. That number only accounts for actual impalements by raging bulls, and not the other dozens of people sent to the hospital for other relevant injuries.

Here at Ibex, we propose a kinder, gentler festival. Yes, the Running of the Bulls has history, which we honor. But isn’t there an old saying about history repeating itself? And doesn’t history need a starting point, too? To the people of Pamplona and the world, we propose “The Running of the Sheep.”

Photo: Creative Commons

Excitement. Adrenaline. Fleece. The Running of the Sheep has you sprinting down the cobblestoned streets of an idyllic village, surrounding by a happy-go-lucky herd of Merino sheep.

Don’t let their pastoral appearance fool you, though. This is no walk in the park. (For if there were a park, the organizers couldn’t keep them the sheep focused enough to make the 825-meter trek.) This is a mano-a-hoof footrace to the finish. Yes, running sidelong into a bull pits you against 1600-pounds of pissed off muscle. But sheep come with their own warning label. Brushing against an unshorn sheep at speed is like bouncing against a vertical, mini-trampoline of fluff-filled pillows. This could seriously throw you off your line. No joke. Caveat emptor, mis amigos.

We’ve already been contacted by several municipalities to license Running of the Sheep, so it’s only a matter of time before the latest extreme herding animal event comes to your town. Lace up your shoes, tie on a scarf the color of your favorite shepherding dog, and prepare for the most daring, competitive, and life-affirming jog of your life.

Because unlike when dozens of angry, goaded bulls are chasing you down an ancient alley, running with the sheep means never having to go too fast. Stop for a cappuccino or a nice Chianti, you’ll still have a kickass picture to post to Instagram.

Running of the Sheep 2015. You mess with the sheep; you get a sweater.

*Credit where credit is due: Those fun-loving Kiwis from New Zealand have orchestrated Running of the Sheep events for several years. For a brief moment when we thought we were the first, we reveled in the creative bubble of our offices. Doggone Internet proved us wrong. We salute you, the brainchildren behind the original Running of the Sheep.