Dodentocht

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The last kilometer of the Dodentocht

The Dodentocht (Dutch for March of the Dead) is a long-distance march of 100 kilometers organized annually in Bornem, Belgium, since 1970. The grueling march[1] derives its name from the length of the march and the rough and forested terrain. For the 2014 edition, 11,861 participants have registered; a scouting group also organises a campsite for the participants. The campsite can hold 500 people that want to arrive earlier.[2]

History[edit]

In 43 years the Dodentocht has become one of the most important hiking happenings in Europe. It began in 1970 with 65 participants and has since grown into an event with over 11,000 hikers. There are no rankings or records; the reward is a certificate and a medal. Marchers have come from many countries, including the United States,[3] the United Kingdom,[1] and Germany.[4]

The Dodentocht is organised by the non profit organisation Kadee Dodentocht, assisted by the non profit Youth Centre Kadee. Approximately 600 members of the organisation are involved during the event itself. During the 2012 edition (held on 10/11 August), marchers were followed on the official site via a tracking system, utilizing small RFID tags on badges worn outside their clothing that are automatically scanned at each of the 15 checkpoints and at additional random points along the route.[5] Many of the marchers return year after year; in 2011, Jef Kuppens finished the march for the 42nd consecutive time since the beginning of the Dodentocht, with which he was record holder at that moment.[6]

The organizers have adopted a motto, "Walking for a better world"; many of the participants walk for charities.[1][7]

Since the course is closed for non-participants, some of the churches along the route have been forced to reschedule church services;[8] the pastor of the local federation of churches, Pastor Maervoet, participated in the march in 2009, for the fifth time.[9]

Local companies that support the event have led to some unique features in this event. The route of the walk passes through the premises of several companies. These include, at 15 km, the factory of a popular sports drink, at 40 km, the Duvel brewery in Breendonk - with free beer for all walkers and at 50 km, the Palm brewery in Steenhuffel - again with a free beer for all the walkers.

If a walker completes the route in under 24 hours then they are awarded a certificate confirming their timings, a medal, badge and a large gingerbread.

On August 14, 2010, a walker collapsed 300 meters short of the finish line and died from cardiac arrest. The walker had already walked the Dodentocht 5 times and was properly trained. The event was not cancelled, but the festivities celebrating the arrival of the last walkers did not take place.

Participants[edit]

Edition Year Participants
1 1970 65
2 1971 202
3 1972 397
4 1973 782
5 1974 1047
6 1975 1408
7 1976 1844
8 1977 2057
9 1978 2102
10 1979 2487
11 1980 2508
12 1981 2848
13 1982 3136
14 1983 3208
15 1984 3125
16 1985 3828
17 1986 3920
18 1987 4518
19 1988 4567
20 1989 4761
21 1990 4366
22 1991 4930
23 1992 5084
24 1993 5091
25 1994 5203
26 1995 4826
27 1996 4967
28 1997 5509
29 1998 5310
30 1999 6644
31 2000 7096
32 2001 8053
33 2002 8131
34 2003 8717
35 2004 9033
36 2005 8595
37 2006 8413
38 2007 8958
39 2008 9597
40 2009 10793
41 2010 10605
42 2011 10507
43 2012 10957
44 2013 11157
45 2014 11861

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wallin, James (2009-08-10). "Friends dare to do the death march". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  2. ^ Debrouwere, Lotte; Liesbeth Boel (2009-08-06). "Kris Peeters gaat samen met zoon Karel de Dodentocht wandelen: 'Mijn zoon is geen opgever. En ik ook niet'". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  3. ^ Kamprath, Michael F. "The "Death March" of Bornem, Belgium: The story of five Americans' struggle to finish". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  4. ^ "Schnell wie die Feuerwehr". Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  5. ^ "Bornemse Dodentocht omarmt eID en RFID". Datanews. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  6. ^ Van Ranst, Eddy (2012-08-02). "Recordhouder geeft forfait voor Dodentocht". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  7. ^ "Dodentocht voor goeie doel (G'bergen)". Radio MiG. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  8. ^ "Dodentocht Gaat Niet Ongemerkt Voorbij". Kerknet. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  9. ^ "Dodentocht stoort kerkelijke hoogdag". RKNieuws.net. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 

External links[edit]