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Pamplona museum offers virtual bull runs

July 15, 2011 | William Zimmerman
Virtual Bull Run Simulator.jpg
From AFP, via France24

PAMPLONA, Spain -- Revellers at Spain's San Fermin festival lacking the nerve to run through the streets chased by a herd of thunderous bulls can now opt for a virtual bull-run.

Visitors to Pamplona's Museo del Encierro run on a treadmill while wearing virtual reality goggles that let them see computer-generated images of what it is like to race ahead of pounding hooves.

"This is the only simulator in the world of a San Fermin bull run," said one of the founders of the museum, Paula Diaz.

"There are many people who want to take part in a run but out of fear or other reasons they don't do it. We wanted to give them the opportunity to experience what it is like."

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia donned the goggles at the Madrid's Fitur travel fair last year but politely declined to run on the treadmill.

"Wherever we take the simulator, it is a hit," said Diaz, adding the 15,000 pictures of a bull run were used to make the computer generated images.

The 2,500-square-metre (27,000-square-foot) museum also features a 16-minute 3D documentary of the San Fermin festival, which includes images of a bull run.

The Museo del Encierro has received nearly 11,000 visitors since it opened its doors on July 1, 2010.

The Pamplona bull runs, Spain's most famous, are held daily every year from July 7 to 14 as the highlight of the San Fermin festival in the northeastern Spanish city, which also involves concerts, religious processions and drinking.

A total of 43 people received hospital care for injuries suffered during the eight bull runs held this year, mostly for cuts, bruises and broken bones caused during falls although four people were gored.

Three people were injured on the final day on Thursday.

The last death occurred two years ago when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard to death, piercing his neck, heart and lungs with its horns in front of hordes of tourists.

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