The fifth running of the bulls at this year's San Fermin festival came and went quickly and without incident Wednesday, although one straggler caused delay near the end of the route and had to be aided into the bullring.

The six fighting bulls from the Fuente Ymbro estate - running alongside an equal number of steers - covered the 850-meter (approximately half-mile) run from the Santo Domingo stockyard to the bullring in this northern Spanish city in three minutes and 12 seconds.

Participants needed to wait a few seconds because the fuse of the rocket that signals the start of the run didn't light and authorities had to use a back-up.

The six fighting bulls raced along at a brisk clip, with two of them moving ahead of the steers as soon as the herd reached the runners.

The herd moved quickly along Santo Domingo street to the town hall square where a small group of runners became bunched together next to a fence, though apparently without serious consequences.

With two fighting bulls in the lead, the herd ran along Mercaderes street without incident and arrived at the dangerous turn onto Estafeta street, where two bulls slipped but quickly got back on their feet.

The herd then very quickly made its way down Estafeta surrounded by thrill-seeking "mozos," with the animals at one moment jumping over some runners who had fallen down but without paying them any attention.

The bulls and steers became slightly separated when they arrived at the Telefonica curve and a potentially risky situation arose when two bulls slipped, although the danger was averted when they managed to stay on their feet.

Five of the fighting bulls entered the ring without difficulty while a sixth slipped repeatedly and was picked up off the ground by two guides.

Three runners were gored on Monday - two Americans and a Briton - the most injury-filled run so far at this year's festival.

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.

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