A Chicago man who was gored by a bull three years ago while running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, was gored again on Saturday — but he still plans to run again on Monday.
Bill Hillmann, an author who has been participating in the annual tradition for 12 years, tells PEOPLE the 1,200-lbs. bull named Sentido jabbed one of its horn into his buttocks and then tossed him up a few feet. However, he says he managed to land on the ground with a relatively soft thud.
“I looked back again, and he was just on me,” Hillmann said in a phone call from Pamplona. “At the last second, he shot me straight up in the air. The horns just went in in a really weird way, and he gored me.”
Hillmann, 35, explains he immediately went into shock, which blunted the pain.
“I felt the blow send me in the air, but I didn’t feel piercing pain,” he says. “I walked to the medics.”
At first, he says, he didn’t even know he had been gored because his pants were intact after the animal had somehow pulled down his pants and rammed its horn through his yellow underwear into a lower part of his backside.
“The medics pulled my pants down and there was blood everywhere,” he recalls, adding he avoided serious injury because the horn came near his anus and testicles but missed them.
Hillmann was taken to the hospital where doctors evaluated his wound. “When he put his finger in there to check it, it felt like his finger went in two to three inches in my body,” he says.
Hillmann spent 36 hours in the hospital, where doctors stitched up the surface of the deep wound and inserted a small tube which continues to drain the blood. He is able to walk and sit.
The author was released Sunday and is now feeling some pain. However, he said he’ll be back running with the bulls on Monday.
“I’m really in love with the bulls and I’m really in love with the culture, so it’s almost an impossibility I would stop,” he explains. “I’m a daredevil at heart. It’s just who I am.”
Hillmann was more seriously injured during the event in 2014 when a bull gored him twice in the thigh, through one side of his leg and then the other. That time he spent 11 days in the hospital and needed a cane to help him walk for two months, he told The Atlantic.
Hillmann said his initial inspiration to run with the bulls was sparked after he read vivid depictions of bullfighting and bull running in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.
He said he travels annually to Pamplona for the San Fermin festival, the famed stampede when bulls run through the narrow streets alongside runners in white outfits with red scarves tied around their necks or waists.
This year, Hillmann is being filmed by a crew working on an interactive documentary called ¡Fiesta Pamplona! with Hillman as the main character in the “foreign runner” section of the story, producer Jennifer Gonzalez tells PEOPLE from Pamplona.
“His part of the story is integral in informing viewers the part that foreigners play,” said Gonzalez.
Hillmann says he is happy to be able to live his dream.
“I’m here to run, not sit in a hospital,” he says. “I have to get back out there. It’s what I love.”