Six runners, one of them gored in the leg, were taken to hospitals Saturday after the first running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival, celebrated in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona.

According to officials at the Navarre Hospital Complex, one runner who had been gored in the leg and another five with bruises were admitted to different medical centers.

All were quickly released except a 73-year-old man who was gored in the left leg. The wound was 25 centimeters (10 inches) long but did not affect the vascular-nervous system, according to a medical report issued by the regional government of Navarre.

Meanwhile, medical centers released a young Japanese man, 21, and an Australian, 26, as well as three injured Spaniards, all of whom were treated for contusions.

The first running of the bulls in the 2012 San Fermin festival, with bulls from the Dolores Aguirre estate, was fast and dangerous over streets left slippery by the rain, with a huge crowd taking part because this year it took place on a Saturday.

With or without rain, the run to the bullring is always 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 occasionally gored by the animals.

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