The bulls of the Victoriano del Rio estate were featured Thursday in the sixth running of this year's San Fermin fesitval in this northern Spanish city and the event was free of gorings and the fastest so far this year at two minutes and 20 seconds.

None of the people running with the bulls on Thursday was gored although there was the normal crop of bruises and cuts sustained by the runners, and six young men were taken to Pamplona hospitals with assorted minor injuries.

The race was an emotional one right from the start, and no sooner had the gate opened to release the bulls than the herd came into contact with the runners and a couple of the beasts slipped on the pavement, although they did not fall.

When they arrived in front of city hall, one of the horned bulls attacked a runner but didn't hook him and continued plunging on through the narrow street toward the bullring.

A little later, the four Victoriano del Rio bulls collided with the fence at one of the street's curves but they did not fall and the small herd spread out to some extent, no longer running in a tight knot.

The braver - or more foolhardy - souls among the runners darted in and out between the bulls, but there were no more heart-stopping incidents as the animals finished the run and wound up in pens at the bullring.

The world-famous fest started last Friday with the traditional firing of a rocket in front of Pamplona city hall amid the shouts of thousands of people, many of them visitors from around the world.

The runs during the nine-day festival are filled with tension and emotion, and occasionally result in tragedy, with 15 runners having been killed since statistics began to be kept in the early 20th century and many others having suffered gorings and other injuries.

As many as 1 million visitors from around the world descend on Pamplona during the festival - many of them Americans but also Frenchmen, Britons, Italians, Germans and Latin Americans.

The festival, begun about 400 years ago, was popularized by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises." EFE