Seven runners, including three who were gored, were injured Monday during the running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, emergency services officials said.

A 29-year-old British man was gored in the left leg, while a 20-year-old Briton was gored in the right leg, with both men undergoing treatment at hospitals and expected to recover, doctors said.

A 39-year-old American from Philadelphia sustained a "contusion/jab" from a bull's horn in the right leg and is expected to recover, doctors said.

A 38-year-old American suffered a bruised ankle and knee, and three Spaniards sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospitals.

A bull that became a straggler turned the third running of the bulls at the festival into a dangerous one.

The run by bulls from the Cebada Gago estate was the longest and most injury-filled so far in the festival.

The bulls covered the 850-meter (approximately half-mile) run from the Santo Domingo stockyard to the bullring in just over three minutes and 30 seconds.

The world-famous San Fermin festival 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.

The run to the bull ring is especially dangerous because some people take part in the event after all-night drinking binges, which makes them reckless and more likely to get too close to animals that weigh in excess of 500 kilos (1,100 pounds).

The running of the bulls is monitored by experts who control the route and try to prevent accidents, but, inevitably, runners fall, suffer cuts and bruises, and are even gored by the animals.

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