In This Spanish Town, Balls, Not Bulls Chase You


We’re all familiar with the running of the bulls, that daredevil pastime where people get chased through narrow, winding streets by angry bulls for an adrenalin rush. But the small town of Mataelpino, located on the outskirts of Madrid, has decided to mix things up a bit.

Instead of using live animals to menace human lives, the citizens of Mataelpino use giant 275 pound soccer balls that trundle down the sloping streets of the city. The balls are over nine feet in diameter and pick up some serious speed. Sure, they’re not as dangerous as an angry bovine with a pair of sharp horns, but getting caught under one will still ruin your day.

The event, which in Spanish is called “boloencierro,” started in 2010 and has grown into a worldwide success. Animal rights groups have been drawing attention to the ethically suspect elements of bull running for some time, so bringing out the balls is seen as a good alternative.

If you want to participate, the Running of the Balls takes place in Mataelpino every October.