Everyone knows and has noticed that Dodentocht is at its full capacity.
That’s why we had already decided to switch to pre-registrations only, online payments and a subscription deadline 1 month prior to the event. By taking these decisions we had hoped to stabilize the number of participants.
When we reached nearly 14000 subscriptions last year, we had to do something: for the 1st time in our history we decided to maintain a participant’s limit. After thorough consideration and consultation, both within our organisation as with the police force, we agreed on a limit of 13000 participants.
Obviously we were flattered by the increasing number of participants, which had to be a consequence of a wide appreciation for our Dodentocht, but at the same time we had to endure justified criticism on this huge mass of people and its digestion on the trail and at our check points. Security is very important to us. After all we do send this large mass of walkers onto public roads, both during the day and at night. We do of course have quite some experience in dealing with this, but we also have our limits.
Walkers should be aware that we too regret this participants’ limit, but they should also understand that this kind of decisions is taken in the interest of the participants. We do not aim to continuously break records: we strive for a pleasant, challenging and save organisation.
No-one could have guessed that this limit would be reached after only one month. Most of you apparently wanted to be on the safe side and did not wait until it was too late.
We receive daily, sometimes emotional, requests to be permitted to the event, but as you can understand this is impossible. This participants’ limit is based on a number of standards. Once we should exceed this limit again, we would have no choice but to accept everybody. Please rest assured that this hurts us as much as it does you! But our goal is quality (organisation), rather than quantity (walkers). And we must admit that 13000 is a very nice number.
The start has been re-organized completely. There will be 2 groups leaving from the big Breeven domain, there will be only one single tour through Bornem centre, we are searching for larger and optimally arranged check-points, etc., etc.
We know that the vast majority of walkers appreciate our work and support this new way of working, and this feels very good. After all everything we do – as volunteers – is for all those participants.
Between May 15th and July 15th there will be a possibility to buy a ticket via ticket swap, but of course we cannot guarantee anything. We hope that everyone will be able to get a ticket, and if not we hope to welcome you again next year. This Fall’s evaluations will show if we have taken the right decision, but we are and stay convinced that something had to change.
Congratulations to those who succeeded in getting registered and our sincerest apologies to all the others.
Long live Dodentocht!
Gunter Vergauwen, Chief-Coordinator André De Clerck, Chairman