“Don’t Do It. It’s Too Dangerous”: Nola Author Releases Memoir on Running With 101 Bulls in a Summer

When Bill Hillmann was gored by a bull during the famous running of the bulls in Spain in 2014, it made national headlines. 

The goring was notable because of Hillmann’s expertise in regard to bull running and the severity of his injuries, which resulted in him being hospitalized for eleven days. However, the most notable thing about Hilmann’s goring was that even though it was life-threatening and traumatic, afterward, he was eager to run with the bulls again. 

And two years later he did. 

Since then, the award-winning, internationally-acclaimed author came out with a memoir, was gored again, and accomplished his goal of running a hundred and one bull runs over the course of one summer. This latter mission is chronicled in his new memoir, The Pueblos: My Quest to Run 101 Bull Runs in the Small Towns of Spain which will be released on May 25 by Tortoise Publishing.

Perfect for people who have considered leaving their lives behind, on a quest for adventure and fame, this visceral thrill ride is a pulsing rush of blood and adrenaline that will leave readers feeling exhilarated. 

It’s especially great for residents of Hillmann’s home city: New Orleans. “This book will appeal to New Orleanians because New Orleanians truly understand culture and festival,” Hillmann commented. “The same spirit of Mardi Gras flourishes throughout Spain in the summer months. Pamplona’s Fiesta of San Fermin is very similar to Mardi Gras in its grand global scope, its elegant debauchery, its deep religious, and even pagan roots….Where New Orleanians might wrestle alligators and get out into the bayou, the Spanish run bulls down the streets.” 

The novel is not only about adventure, risks, and celebration though, it also covers the breadth and depth of the Spanish bull-running tradition. “It was important to me to write this book because I am fascinated with the culture of bull-running in Spain,” Hillmann explained. “I’ve fallen deeply in love with the animals, the people, and the small towns themselves.” 

Hillmann emphasized that the appeal of the running of the bulls has evolved for him over the years from being motivated by the pure rush of adventure to embracing the culture and community around the event. 

“I really didn’t know what to expect when I set out on this journey, I was surprised at every turn. Several of the greatest Spanish, Basque, and Navarese bull runners in history have given me an incredible backstage pass to this culture and I wanted to share that with the world.” Hillmann commented. “When you see it through my eyes you can see the artistry, the passion, the triumph, and tragedy that the great runners like David Rodriguez, Juan Pedro Lecuona, and Aitor Aristregui go through to live their culture to the fullest.” 

Because of his appreciation of bull running, for its deeper meaning and community, Hillmann discourages people from treating it as a bucket list item.  “I also wanted to prove to the world that this is not a tourist trap, bucket list item,” Hillmann explained. “This is a deep, complex, and nuanced culture which is flourishing amongst the people of Spain. It is much more than Pamplona, though Pamplona remains its crown jewel. I wanted to explore the world of the anonymous runners of the smallest towns who may never make it to Pamplona, I wanted to run with them and tell a little sliver of their story because to me, they are the most precious parts of this culture, the people who step out of their doors onto the street of their little villages once a year and run bulls with all their heart and then go back to their ordinary lives until next year.”

Hillmann clarified that running has been a life-altering experience for him but, “My advice to most people is: Don’t run. Watch from a balcony, watch from a barricade, and you don’t have to risk your life. For the people who say, “Well, I’m running anyway,” then I would give them the best advice I can muster. My advice to the average American who’s interested in this is: Don’t do it. It’s too dangerous.”

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *