Running of the Nudes 2007

Outside the bullringI joined the Running of the Nudes event in Pamplona on the 5th July, 2007.

We met in London on Monday 3rd July and travelled to Spain by coach which took 20 hours. This was very tiring and the most difficult part of the trip.

The coach stopped in France to pick up some French animal rights people who were joining the event.

We arrived at the campsite which is situated outside Pamplona. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The camp was like a woodland, with lots of trees which shaded people from the extreme heat. It had an air of tranquility about it. The site had a lake with a small island in the middle. The water was emerald green - it was almost unreal. There was also a lovely swimming pool with rocks in the middle and a waterfall. I did lots of swimming while I was there.

The campsite was very self contained with a shop selling groceries and a bar and cafe which provided basic vegetarian and vegan meals and drinks.

The day of the run was really exciting. We were taken to Pamplona by coach and then walked to the starting point, wearing our clothes. We then removed our clothes (we were not allowed to go completely naked but had to wear briefs. PETA requested that we wear white briefs).

The atmosphere was terrific. There was a band playing songs and I was interviewed by a camera crew. I do not speak Spanish so merely said "non toros tortura, non corrida" (no bull torture, no bullfights).

There were many American's on the march. I was much amused when one guy drawled "bullfighters kiss my ass!". Another guy had a really funny sign drawn on his back which read "bullfighting is for" and then an arrow pointing to his asshole!

Then the march began. We proudly walked through the streets, which was lined with spectators who were staring at us with good humour and curiousity. It felt very empowering to be walking all together shouting our message.

The only hostility I experienced was from one Spanish woman who angrily jabbed me in the shoulder with her finger and began speaking in Spanish, which I could not understand. I just shrugged and continued.

Naked runners!We continued on the long and winding route through the narrow streets, a route taken by countless bulls which have suffered in the past There were boards protecting shops for when the bulls slip and fall and crash, so that they do not damage the shop windows (only themselves, poor things).

We then reached the bullring, where inspiring speaches were given by people from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

When we had finished I was interviewed by an American camera crew. I stated that I was taking this extreme measure because I want to see the end of animal abuse in Spain.

That night there was a party for us held in the bar on the campsite. A German band played a song especially for us entitled "To all the lovely nudes, you are so beautiful" which was really lovely.

I came away feeling a real sense of achievement.

I felt that our presence and walk through the streets must have made a difference to those living in Pamplona. Obviously there will be the voyeristic element, but essentially I feel that if these people had been completely hostile to us and our message, then they would have ignored us. The fact that we felt so strongly about this issue that we were prepared to walk along the streets almost naked must have made an impact on the spectators in Pamplona, and forced them to question their activities. Also it showed them that they can have fun and see something exciting to get their adrenalin working which does not involve abusing animals for fun. Also, naked people give off a peaceful vibe, as opposed to the aggressive atmosphere of so called "bull running".

I noticed in the Spanish newspapers the following day, there was a 2 page spread in one of the papers on the "Nudes" run.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, the locals in Pamplona will see the light and this will be the only "running" in Pamplona.

For more information click here or visit the Running of the Nudes website: www.runningofthenudes.com