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Fewer "victims" this year: 85% of participants completes shorter Dodentocht

About 9,500 of the 11,200 adventurers and athletes taking part in the "Dodentocht" (which could be translated as the Walk of Death) have made it to the finish in Bornem. They had until 1.30pm to arrive. The first group arrived around 3 in the night after having run 6 hours. This 53rd edition was shortened to 65 kilometres because of the heat. 

The website describes the event as "a non-competitive walk of 100 kilometres". The start was given at 9pm yesterday, with some labelling the waiting in the evening heat as "the hardest part of all". 

While most participants walk, some are taking it one level higher, running the whole distance - which had been reduced to 65 kilometres for the first time in the event's history due to the heatwave. 

A first group arrived this morning before dawn. "We ran 6 hours", Carl told the VRT. All participants had trained for the 100k, but had to accept the decision to shorten the event. "It was short but intense", said Carl. "We are happy", added Bart. "Organisers did a perfect job."

Lore Bayens was the first woman to arrive. "I am happy I made it, but I would have liked to cover the full 100k. I will come back for the 100k next year, you can write it down!" 

Many participants were successful this year

About 1,600 walkers had to abandon the event. Most of them were surprised by the cold during the night, as they were only wearing a thin shirt. 

"Most competitors pulled out during the night and early morning", organisers confirmed. "There was a rather big temperature gap between day and night." Still, with some 85 percent finishing, this short edition was a pretty successful one. In the years before corona, it was often only 7,000 or 8,000 that made it instead of 9,500 this time. 

Watch the early arrivals here:

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