50 years International 100 Km Dodentocht!
“Alle Menschen werden Brüder” it said on the wall of the youth club Kadee in Bornem. This would become the powerful motif of both the youth centre and 100 Km Dodentocht: to gather people in a positive, sporty and friendly atmosphere. This beautiful thought remains a very important topic!
In that same spirit 100 Km Dodentocht originated in 1970 – rather coincidentally – following the example of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in The Netherlands, in which a few members of the walking club participated annually. When that year 65 brave walkers started off in Bornem and walked into the night, no-one really realised what he or she started. Some of them had gained experience here and there, but most of them were absolute beginners, as hiking was still in its infancy. There were more volunteers than participants and nobody could have expected that this small local initiative would become the world famous and notorious long-distance walk as we know it today: the largest in the world of its kind!
But thanks to the intensive and even passionate commitment of many generations the 100 Km Dodentocht grew into a real concept, both in the region and throughout the world. The organisation became more and more an example and the basis for many other walking events. All that success led to an explosion, which made us intervene and set a limit of 13000 participants.
This year we got surprised by a registration tsunami: all tickets were sold out in only 2 hours' time. Nobody really expected this and many loyal and new walkers could not get a ticket, which we find extremely regrettable and for which we apologise sincerely. But increasing the registration limit was no option for the security services and the organisation. This limit had been sent at the request of the participants themselves in the first place.
50 years Dodentocht: such an achievement deserves sincere congratulations! We are very grateful to all those walkers, sponsors, municipal authorities, public and police services. But on top of that list are still all the volunteers who during all of those years gave their best. They also got rewarded for it: not with big words or money, but because of the voluntary work itself, because of the friendship and that sense of togetherness. All of the meetings, after meetings, contacts, small parties and promotional trips meant a lot for all of our volunteers and gave an extra boost, both to our event and to themselves.
We welcome everyone to this anniversary edition and hope that next year all of our loyal walkers will be able to obtain a ticket for the 51st edition of our 100 Km Dodentocht. At the same time we hope for the necessary understanding: please keep on supporting our many volunteers because they make the 100 Km Dodentocht possible. Let’s make this one big walking party!
Dodentocht is so much more than just walking. Hope to see you on Friday August 9th!
Gunter Vergauwen, André De Clerck