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Brown leaves the ‘Boro to run with the bulls

Walterboro resident Carl Brown and wife, Grace Ann, recently attended the world-famous Running of the Bulls, marking off a must-do item on Brown’s life list of accomplishments. Photo submitted

By Heather Walters

A Walterboro business owner has made his lifelong dream come true by running with the bulls in the famous Spanish festival.
Carl Brown recently returned to Walterboro after going to The San Fermin Festival, otherwise known as “The Running of the Bulls.” The 2019 festival is held from July 7 – 14 in Pamplona, Spain.
Though it’s known worldwide for luring adventure-seekers, Brown began wanting to go to the festival after he read a book in college: “The Sun Also Rises,” published in 1926 by Ernest Hemingway, is a novel about a man and a woman who attend the infamous Running of the Bulls event.
“I read that book and was hooked on the idea of doing this,” Brown said, on Sunday. Brown, 58, is the owner of Mitchell Construction Company. “I was in Catholic School at the time, and I kept talking to the nuns about my wanting to do this.”
His desire to run with the bulls didn’t leave him. He continued to relay his wants for this thrill to friends throughout his life.
Last week, his dream came true when he and his wife, Grace Ann, took a Spanish vacation. A part of this once-in-a-lifetime trip for Brown was his running with the bulls on two separate days during the seven-day festival. Brown’s first day of running with the bulls occurred on Thursday. He arrived onto the streets at 7 a.m. “The matadors and their movements with the bulls is like an Opera,” he said. “It was beautiful, quite a sight.
“The first day was great. All of the bulls running down the center of the street, it’s something nearly indescribable,” he said. “The business owners there board their storefronts, and all eyes are focused on the streets and the bulls.”
“I ran with them for about 15 seconds. And they out-ran me,” Brown said, with a laugh.
Following the run, Brown went into the bull-fighting ring. Inside that ring, about 15,000 people are signing and cheering, awaiting the runners.
While running with the bulls, he said his thoughts were full of adrenaline. “I’m touching a bull, running.”

“It was awesome,” he said, of the entire experience. “It was more than I thought it was going to be.”

On the second day of running with the bulls, Brown was injured.
According to Brown, a bull running in the streets threw a man into Brown. In turn, Brown struck another man, creating a human tumbling ball. In that incident, Brown’s leg was battered. And, another man was injured by a bull, he said.
To prepare for this trip, Brown said he took his daily exercise routine to a more strenuous regime, including more cardio and less weight-lifting. “I started eating more protein and got more running incorporated,” he said.
And, while attending the event, Brown was able to repay a lifelong friend for her encouragement of his dream. Walterboro native Caroline Hazel attended The San Fermin Festival many years ago. While there, she sent Brown a postcard, encouraging his dream to attend. While at the festival last week, Brown returned the favor by sending Hazel a postcard, saying, “Thanks for lighting the fire.” It was a poetic “thank you” to his friend for years of encouragement.
“She was the catalyst,” he said, of Hazel.
When asked if he will do the Running of the Bulls Festival again, he laughed, and said “no.”
“If one of my friends said to me that they want to go, I’ll go with them. But I’ll stand in the sidelines. It was dangerous, and I know that. But it is something I had to do,” he said.
Attending the festival was an item on Brown’s “life to-do” list. He has now crossed through that item, creating the obvious question of, “What’s next?”
“We have three beautiful, healthy adult children, and I’m an avid scuba diver,” he said. “I think I’m done,” he said, laughing. “I may start easing back a bit.”

Heather Walters (1621 Posts)