51st Dodentocht (Death March) - Friday 14th/Saturday 15th August 2020


On Friday 9th and 10th August this year the 50th edition of the 100 km Dodentocht (Death March) was held in Bornem, Belgium. I’ve been lucky enough to take part in a slew of walks over the past few years
which have all had a zero in their title including the daddy of them all the 100th Vierdaagse in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Sadly I didn’t make this edition as for so many years both this and Nijmegen were on my to do list
of walks. After viewing the postings on the Dodentocht Facebook and chatting to Christine Pendlebury about the previous journeys over there we agreed to organise a trip there for next year. Chris would organise
the socialising part of it and I’d do the rest!

This is your invite to the party.

The Death March was first held in August 1969 after members of the JH Kadee youth club in Belgium took part in the 4 daagse Nijmegen and thought they’d like to organise an event locally.
The town of Bornem is a municipality located in the province of Antwerp. The organisers thought anyone who finished it would be dead on their feet and thus the event acquired its infamous name.
65 participants set off that year. In this year’s event 13045 entered. So, a few more people then!

Bornem is a very nice picturesque town full of shops and bars selling two of my five a day dietary needs, Belgian chocolate and Belgian beer. You can imagine with 13,000 plus people taking part from all parts
of Europe and the rest of the world (Denmark, Netherlands, USA) there is a wonderful heady atmosphere. As I’ve mentioned ref other trips that we’ve been on with the group, European walking has a
much more relaxed carnival atmosphere.

Participants are well looked after by the Belgian Red Cross and there are 14 checkpoints along the route. One of the checkpoints is in the Palm Brewery at Steenhuffel where many a time
I’ve received a leg loosening massage on a stretcher laid on top of crates of beer.   At 0600 in the morning you can’t beat it!

Ref accommodation, there are the options of camping, sports hall or hotels. On the coach trips I’ve taken over there in previous years we have always stayed in the sports hall but I realise that’s not to everyone’s taste.

Ref the route, the walk does take you round some pretty Belgian villages, breweries and nature parks. In terms of hills, well there is one about 500 metres from the end and that’s it.

The event starts at 2100 on the Friday and you have until 2100 on the Saturday to complete it. In my opinion it is not as challenging as an LDWA 60 miles event but a 100 km is a 100 km and the terrain
is mostly tarmac and Belgian cobbles which can play havoc with your feet. However, you get a great sense of satisfaction to walk down the main street of Bornem, receive your medal and think “Yessss I’ve done it”.

Registration for this year’s event 2019 ran from March 23th 2019 until July 15th 2019 OR until the maximum number of 13000 participants had been reached.
However, the maximum number was reached within 3 days of the website opening so for next year we will have to be pretty sharpish in registering.

I’ll keep an eye on the website to find out when registration starts and let anyone who is interested know. For participants I would want to know if you’re interested by 1st March 2020.

For next year I’m proposing to travel over there on Thursday 13th during the day to arrive in Bornem in the afternoon/evening and return on the Sunday 15th August.
Depending upon numbers I would be happy to organise a coach or a mini-bus.

Bornem is a lovely town and the people are friendly. If you don’t want to walk that’s fine, why not make a weekend of it and see how events are organised on the other side of Het Kanaal….....

The Dodentocht website is http://www.dodentocht.be/en/

To find out more information about accommodation click on the link above, click on Walker at the left-hand side of the screen and then click on Practical Info on the right-hand side of the screen.

Please let me know if you’re interested in coming, whether as a spectator or participant.

Norman Corrin

T: 01908 608667 M: 07980 378656
Email Norman.Corrin@gmail.com