Donuts for Violet (Run Report #49)

20170916-ParkRun_0047Summer was back for a brief visit this weekend, Sep 16: temperatures in the 80s, 70% humidity. And that was probably why we saw participant numbers dip: 69 parkrunners and 10 volunteers. Nevertheless, a good parkrun overall. How so, you ask? Here we go:

First, we recognized Diana Gough and her son Carlos as parkrunners of the month for September. They both took a break from parkrunning today to volunteer: Diana scanned barcodes and tokens, while Carlos handed out tokens, filling a volunteer gap in the last minute. Thank you guys for volunteering!

Carlos, Diana, and Andrea talk about the art of scanning barcodes

Second, we welcomed nine newcomers. Six were local: Yogarshi Vyas, Sarah Sopher and her aunt Lisa Sopher, Seun A, Emily Cruikshank, Stowell Davison. We also had three visitors from Europe: Mike Richardson (from Sheffield, UK), Paul Cleaver (Tamar Lakes parkrun, UK, but also a UMD alum and who used to run at Greenbelt Park), and Robsahm Trude from Norway. Mike has run at 179 different parkrun locations, and was our first finisher for Saturday.

Welcome!Welcome, Mike, Paul, and Robsahm

(What happened to our local speedsters? Well, Clark Ridge was running with his daughter Violet, and co-event director Colin Phillips was in Missouri doing a parkrun test event in Moberly. Moberly, MO, parkrun launches Oct 28.)

Moberly parkrun: note the big M in the URL

We also celebrated a couple of milestones. Co-event director Andrea Zukowski finished her 25th College Park parkrun, Anouk Dieuleveut her 20th, Jeff Lunsford his 10th, and Paul Kittredge his 5th (while finishing 2nd overall). And in the junior category, Anna Colette Foley and her brother Jonathan each completed their 9th parkrun, putting them closer to their free 10-parkrun t-shirt milestone.

A few milestones: Anouk, Andrea, and Paul

Our regulars continue to astound with their performance. Despite the warm weather, we saw 16 PBs today, that is, one in four people beat their parkrun records. A few notable PBs: Pam Marcus, taking a break from planning a parkrun in Kensington, MD with Jeff Lunsford and a few others, set a PB. Matthew Mullally is on a streak: 6 PBs in 6 runs, and getting very close to breaking the 20 minute barrier. Judy Barnes walked her way into her 7th PB -- how she walks this fast is beyond us. Emily Flamm and Martin Mittendorff made sizable improvements in their times. Andrew Widman, perhaps fortified from Nathan Widman's birthday cake, took a minute and 20 seconds off his PB last week, and Violet Ridge took 3 minutes off hers. I was told by a parkrunner (who I will not name) that after the run Violet told her dad Clark "Daddy! I DEFINITELY earned a donut today!" Food does amazing things to your willpower.

(For the record, my source also said that Clark replied to Violet, clarifying that he does not do donut bribes, although it was unclear whether this policy applies to participating in parkruns in general, or setting a PB.)

PBs: Clockwise from top-left: Violet and Clark, Emily, Matthew, and Andrew

And where would we be without our volunteers, who continue to dazzle with their stylish lime-green vests while making all this possible. As mentioned earlier, Diana and Carlos took care of scanning and tokens, Kim Fisher made sure everyone turned around at the right spot; Hump Plotts kept the golf-course crossing safe; Jenn Augsburger left no one behind, Clare Imholtz and Rachel Lukens got everyone their times. If you wonder why some of the photographs are so nice this week, that is because we were joined by Norm Bernache (Janice Bernache's dad), and a pretty capable photographer. Thank you all! If you can help in a future week, drop us an email at And if you update your parkrun profile to receive our weekly volunteer email circular (yes, only one per week), then your parkrun community will thank you.

Coming attractions at College Park parkrun:

  • September 23rd: event #50 already!
  • September 30th: join us at The Board & Brew after parkrun to meet with Tom Williams, COO of parkrun global, and founder of the original college town parkrun.
  • October 21st: First Birthday Celebration!
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun.

Let's hope that we will get some regular fall weather this coming weekend. Same time, same place. Don't forget your barcode!

Nick Huang


Putting our best foot forward (Run Report #48)

In stark contrast to last week, the weather was near perfect for running on Saturday September 9th. At 9am it was a beautiful 61° F with a light north breeze and a very comfortable dewpoint. The predictable result was a slew of personal best times this week. An amazing 34 out of the 100 finishers recorded new PBs!  Among them was co-event director Colin Phillips, 2nd finisher today, who lowered his already impressive PB by 21 seconds!

IMG_20170909_092006 (1)

In addition, there were 11 first timers in the field this week establishing PBs on the College Park parkrun course. These included Jim Scott from Australia, a regular at Armidale parkrun in New South Wales. Jim’s debut here was his 71st overall parkrun. He and wife Marianne have spent the summer in the US with Jim running at Eagan parkrun in Minnesota six times. John and Julie Czerkowicz were visiting from Boston. John is a first timer while Julia had already run with us way back on New Year’s Eve 2016. Julie’s brother is College Park regular Chris Kujawa. Also, Yared Zeleke joined younger brother Kidus (a parkrun regular) for the first time. Others making their debut in College Park included Aaron Trulock, Jesse Chasteen, Ramiro Rodriguez, Kelsie Mathieson, Caleb Kiesow, Hannah Saltmarsh, Fasika Delessa, and Daysi Cruz. Welcome!


We were pleased to see that half of this week’s first timers were in the 20-24 age group. The start of Fall brings a big influx of young people to our community in College Park, and we hope to see many of them at parkrun on Saturday mornings.


First finisher this week for the 23rd time was Clark Ridge, though Colin was hot on his heels. Among the ladies, Lisa Parsons recorded her 5th first finish. Also, Michael Mattson and Nico Fedkin established new age category records this week. Great job, guys! Nathan Widman ran his final parkrun as a 10-year old this week and narrowly missed lowering his own age category record. We wish Nathan a happy birthday and look forward to him going after the 11-14 age category record. Fortunately, this will mean that Nathan will no longer need chaperones at parkrun. Surely a relief for his dad, Andrew Widman, who was one of this week’s PBs, though far behind Nathan.


A few notable milestones this week. Sam and Chris Mcgranahan both reached 20 runs at College Park parkrun on the same day. Dave Waguespack, Steve Hendrix, Brie Gibson (PB!), and Ryan Sibley (PB!) all recorded their 10th finishes. Hans Meurer (PB!), Cliff Bedore (PB!), Maggie Pooley (PB!) and Kayla Hayes all ran their 5th College Park parkrun.


Among the many other PBs this week were some family doubles: Steve and Cindy Feld, John Wilkerson and Susan Whitney. Some parkrunners made notable time breakthroughs: Brie Gibson, Andy Fellows, Judy Mulusa, and Andrew Widman all ran under 30 minutes for the first time. Paul Kittredge and Ben Flamm ran under 20 minutes for the first time. Tsegaab Hailemichael ran under 25 minutes for the first time, and Maggie Pooley ran under 35 minutes for the first time (huge PB!). Walkers Bhavani Khandrika and Chris Rasmussen both scored PBs. It’s not just the runners who are getting faster.


Our dedicated volunteer crew made life easy for the run director as usual. Thanks to timekeepers Janice Bernache and Cindy Conant, the finish token and scanner team of Will Bobseine and Kacey Nyongesa, course marshals Hump Plotts and Lisa Wilson, tail walker Xinzi He, and photographer Nina McGranahan. Afterwards at The Board and Brew, Sam McGranahan pitched in to help with results processing.


Lastly, we’d also like to give a special volunteer shout-out to Kim Fisher (another PB today!), who was last week’s tail walker and photographer in the rain storm. And then went and spent the afternoon designing and sewing for us a wonderful new carrier for our parkrun flag and poles. Thank you so much, Kim!


As you know, we’ll be back at the same time, same place every week. But take note of a few upcoming special attractions at College Park parkrun.

  • September 30th: parkrun global COO, founder of the very first college town parkrun, will likely be joining us at The Board and Brew after parkrunning downtown.
  • October 7th: our second Prince George’s Running Club day
  • October 21st: 1st birthday celebration!
  • October 28th: UMD Homecoming 5k @ College Park parkrun
  • November 11th: teaming up with Prince George’s Parks to plant some larger trees at our start/finish area, providing shade for future summers

See you again soon.

Jim Parsons


No place I’d rather be (Run Report #47)

Do you remember our Memorial Day weekend parkrun? Parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt was one of 180 attendees. Paul was a College Park parkrun first timer, as were 70 other attendees, including me. I quietly snuck in, did my run, and quiety snuck out. I spoke to no one except a volunteer at the First Timers desk, did not attend The Board and Brew, and, as per parkrun philosophy, left no trace, unless you count my name in the results section. Fast forward three months to our Labor Day weekend parkrun, and I’m debuting as a Run Director. How on earth did that happen?

I realized quickly, perhaps at my second parkrun, that there was something special about parkrun. So I kept coming. I introduced myself to Colin. I started going to B&B. On the day of what would have been my 7th parkrun, I was feeling achy, and there was a need for a golf course marshal. I volunteered and had the time of my life. The Wall Street Journal photographer even caught it on film.


More summer aches meant more volunteer opportunities. More volunteer opportunities meant that I learned the ropes. I started scoping out spots for a Montgomery County parkrun. Then came the email I had been waiting for. Andrea asked, “Pam, would you like to try your hand at being a Run Director?” I happily agreed.


My debut was, in a nutshell, very wet. By the end I was soaking and shivering. I realized, though, that if I had to be soaking and shivering, there’s no place I’d rather be than at a College Park parkrun. I’m sure many of you feel the same. The appearance of Harvey defined this week’s run and will make it one of our more memorable ones. But let’s not forget the other important bits. We had 58 participants and 12 volunteers! Andrea Zukowski did her first run in 6 weeks, just 5 weeks after having a kidney removed. Not a mole, not a polyp, but a non-vestigial organ! That must be a parkrun record! Ten-year old Nathan Widman set an age-category record and a PB. Brian Murphy kindly stepped in to chaperone Nathan, as Nathan is far too quick for his dad Andrew Widman. Thanks Brian!



We had 7 first timers this week: Michael Mattson, Duane Rosenberg, Beth Hisle-Gorman, Mchorris Matt, Paula Tuttle, Will Gorman, and Karen Feagin.  Michael finished 2nd overall, even though he hadn’t run in a year! Very impressive Michael, and we hope that you’ll come back to give some of our speediest attendees a proverbial run for their money. Duane is “Mayor pro tem” of New Carrollton, MD; if he ever becomes mayor, College Park mayor Patrick Wojahn may find his unofficial reign as speediest mayor in the DMV in jeopardy.  Paula bravely pushed a double stroller in the rain. Let’s not forget that there were two brave children in that stroller as well!. Will and Beth joined relatives Greg Gorman and Annabel Gorman.


Speaking of Greg Gorman, his time this week was almost 40 minutes faster than his time at last week’s Mansfield, OH parkrun. It wasn’t because he sprouted wings. Greg (like many of us) was unaware that some parkruns start earlier in the summer months. Greg went out anyway, caught the Mansfield tail runner, and finished. Gloria Cottman did her 7th parkrun today, and her dog joined her for the first time. Welcome to our new canine friend! Ryan Sibley’s dog was a welcome second timer this week. Dominique Blom and Frank Filteau (PB!) became the 10th and 11th members of our unofficial 25-run club. It was the 10th College Park parkrun for Francis Parks, the 5th College Park parkrun for Kevin Yatchet and Matthew Mullally (PB!), and the 40th parkrun for Lisa Wilson, our frequent turnaround marshal. Lisa is now officially in the home stretch towards her official 50-parkrun milestone, as are James Moreland, Clark Ridge, and Colin Phillips.


Twelve, or a fifth, of today’s runners set PBs, despite (or perhaps because of) the rain. Harish Guda has set a PB on all but one of his 8 runs, and today he took another minute from his time. Janice Bernache has set a PB on all but one of her 7 runs. Solomon Ambaye also set another PB today. John Ramsey has now set PBs on 10 of his 17 runs. Yukun Fung, soon to be a dad, was today’s first finisher, and his wife and in-utero baby watched from the safety of the canopy. Eight-year old Violet Ridge demonstrated her love of rain and puddles, as evidenced in the photo below.


We had 12 volunteers this week. Andrea Zukowski and Colin Phillips, as usual, took care of the back office business. This week a big part of that job involved drying everything out. And we mean *everything*. Even a hundred finisher tokens that we didn’t use. Hump Plotts marshalled the golf course and Lisa Wilson marshalled the turnaround. Chris McGranahan and Anouk Dieuleveut were our timekeepers. Jim Cantwell gave out finisher tokens and Yancira Amaya scanned. Nick Huang took finishline photos once he was done with his run. Kim Fisher was our tail walker, and Sigthor Waguespack sorted tokens with a little help from Jan Edwards. Most of our course volunteers did not have running to keep them warm, so we send out an extra-loud shout of thanks and round of cheers in recognition of their dedication.


I wasn’t able to spend much time talking with attendees this week because of the storms. I’m hoping that the weather will be a bit more cooperative the next time I’m Run Director (TBD) so I can meet more of you and get to know you. Until then, stay healthy, be happy, and keep on parkrunning!




Never the same run twice (Run Report #46)

A couple of weeks ago, when I was walking parkrun as the Tail Walker (because I was grounded from running, post-surgery), I passed Andy Fellows, who shouted out ‘Thanks for being here.’ ‘Where else would I be?’ I shouted back, surprised. Indeed, where else? At times, I have wondered whether one day I’ll get tired of running the same 5k event week after week.  But it hasn’t happened yet, and after almost a year’s worth of ‘official’ parkruns on the Paint Branch Trail, I’m starting to think that day will never arrive. That’s because it’s never the same event twice. Each week there are new first timers to greet (typically 10 or more), a different subset of parkrun veterans to welcome back (out of the 1100 people now registered), and each week you give us new accomplishments to celebrate. Far from getting tired of parkrun, every Saturday it leaves me feeling energized, proud, and happy. I hope it does the same for all of you too!


Last Saturday for our 46th event, the 3000th finisher crossed the finish line. It was 20 weeks before we saw our 1000th finisher, 15 weeks before the 2000th, and then just 11 weeks before the 3000th. Here’s a prediction: we will see our 4000th finisher by Halloween (9 weeks). We are growing! In fact this week we had 103 finishers, even though it was just a ‘regular’ weekend. The gorgeous weather probably played a role in that.


It was wonderful to welcome back Chris Kujawa (who spent his summer in Michigan, doing 8 parkruns there at Livonia parkrun) and Xander and Tara (Xander’s CF forces them to seek out cooler running conditions in the summer). Xander’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he has been missed! This week he brought along his grandma, Janet Tate, for her first time. Janet turns out to be among the speedier grandmas!


Among the new faces this week were Yoopadee Wongsuptawee, who was our female first finisher, and Vivienne Miller and her daughter Autumn. Vivienne is a US transplant from Scotland, a long-time resident of Ellicott City, and although this is her first North American parkrun, she is no stranger to parkrun. Her brother, Euan Bowman, is the mastermind behind parkrun Canada, which celebrated its 1-year anniversary last week, and has launched 10 new parkruns in the past year. Look up Vivienne and Autumn’s coolest-ever running club: Hogwarts Running Club (we absolutely need to get that one onto our list of officially-recognized clubs so that it will show up in the results!).


We had lots to celebrate this week (with cake, as usual). Kayla Hayes completed her 10th parkrun (and judging by the t-shirt her mom Jackie made for her, she was as proud as we were). Suerken Matsuyama actually completed his 11th parkrun today, but he caught us unawares last time, so we celebrated this week. Besides these official t-shirting earning milestones, lots of us older folks achieved some unofficial but equally admirable milestones: Tami Graf, Jackie Hayes, Kidus Haile, and Orla Collins all ran their 5th College Park parkrun, Rumi Matsuyama, Clare Imholtz and Susan Whitney all ran their 10th, and Elliott Hamilton and Crystal Bergemann each ran their 25th (!). Frank Filteau has run 24 parkruns at College Park, and one at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA, so he’ll join the CP-25 club next time he comes.



The beautiful weather probably played a role in the unprecedented 33 PBs we witnessed this week–congratulations to all!  Two age-category records were broken this week too, both in the 65-69 age group: Judy Barnes, who walks the course at lightning speed (this week she broke into a jog at the finish, and came in under 42 minutes), and James Moreland, who has just 5 parkruns to go before earning his red 50 shirt.


This week we saw two parkrun ‘PB streakers.’ Matthew Mullally has had 4 PBs in his 4 visits, and Gloria Cottman has had PBs in 5 out of her 6 visits. Both have improved by leaps and bounds. Also this week we had whole families whose members all saw new PBs. That included John Wilkerson and Susan Whitney, Orla Collins and Kate Murray, Laura and Richard Goemann, Mark Shroder and Susan Keller, Roman and Kathy Zentek, and Tyler and Rob Stephens. Some of our PB setters this week improved on their previous bests by an impressive 2 minutes! Congratulations Moe Siddiqi, Cameron McPhee, and Chris Rasmussen.


The final group to celebrate is our volunteers, who made it all happen. If you’ve never volunteered with us before, we need you! Please opt-in to our weekly volunteer appeals, and sign up for a Saturday soon. Here’s the great company you will be joining:

Lisa ‘turn-around-Zen master’ Wilson
Hump ‘zebra-stripes’ Plotts
Jenn ‘almost-ready-to-run-again’ Augsburger
‘grounded-so-might-as-well-volunteer’ McGranahan
‘can’t-decide-whether-I-like-running-or-volunteering-better’ Su
‘love-parkrun-so-much-I’m-starting-one-in-my-backyard’ Marcus
‘scan-master’ Morey
‘finish-funnel-master’ Phillips
‘any excuse to bake’ Gough
‘where-else-would-I-be?’ Zukowski
Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.





Barcodes will melt (Run Report #45)

Although it was a bright sunny day on Saturday morning, the dew point and the temperature were almost the same. Never a good thing, unless you are an amphibian. The ground was saturated too. So special thanks goes out to the 90 brave parkrunners and the 8 gracious volunteers who came out on this less than perfect day for a run. Several runners learned that printed barcodes do “melt” when subjected to being saturated in a pocket in humidity like this. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson did her best to scan the remains, but several were beyond the scanning point by the time the run was finished. Thanks Ginger! And for parkrunners with soggy barcodes, we would like to mention the virtues of ziploc baggies, or laminating if you’re feeling fancy.


Our sincerest apologies to Suerken Matsuyama, who reached his official 10-parkrun milestone this week, and we failed to notice his achievement until afterwards. We’d like to blame it on the fact that Suerken reached the milestone so darn quickly (10 consecutive weeks), but it might have been because our brains were fried in the heat. For good measure, Suerken also took over 2 minutes off his personal best, finishing within seconds of Sam McGranahan with a strong time of 22 minutes and change. Congratulations Suerken! We will be celebrating your milestone next weekend, when your mom, Rumi Matsuyama, will also be doing her 10th parkrun (... but grownups need 50 runs to reach an official parkrun milestone, sorry Rumi!)


A number of this week’s parkrunners must have been less troubled by the heat and humidity than the rest of us, because they had already run MCRRC’s Eastern County 8K at 7:30am on Saturday morning, and then still showed up for parkrun at 9am. We offer a mix of applause and what-are-you-guys-thinking to Cindy Cohen, Mike Klamm, Kirk Gordon, Ted Poulos, Alan Mulindwa, and Lokesh Meena. More power to all of you.


We suspect that this may have been the last hot-and-sticky parkrun of the summer, and we’re looking forward to sweet relief in the coming weeks. We are just thrilled that so many people kept active in our parkrun community during the summer months. A few months ago, today’s turnout would have been a cause for celebration. Now it’s just a normal week, as we have averaged 90 parkrunners per week since Memorial Day weekend. Thank you all again for coming out throughout the summer!

This week we welcomed back to Berwyn Heights’ councilman Chris Rasmussen. He earned a PB, taking a full 5 minutes off his time on only his second visit, and he was happy to see that more walkers are joining us. We hope to see more and more walkers at parkrun.


Welcome to this week’s first timers.This included five members of the Stephens family of Berwyn Heights: Denise, Rob, Wyatt, Tyler, and Levi (aged 4). Rob Stephens is already familiar to some of our parkrunners, as he is a popular cross-country coach at Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt. In addition, Samantha Crews, John Howard, Joseph Zanta, Daniel Ju, Trace Huard, Moe Siddiqui, David Donaldson, and Richard and Laura Goemann all joined us for the first time.  Welcome! We hope to see you all again.


This week’s unofficial milestones included:

  • 1 new 25-timer: Ian Parsons
  • 3 new 20-timers:  Amanda Mercer, Nick Huang, and Jon Palks.
  • 2 new 15 timers: Lisa Parsons and Dustyn Kujawa
  • 1 new 10-timer: Suerken Matsuyama (PB!). Plus 3 more did College Park parkrun for the 10th time: Lokesh Meena, Alan Mulindwa, and Greg Gorman.
  • 6 new 5-timers: Evan Hirsche, Niko Fedkin, James Madden, Gloria Cottman (PB!), Doug Hamilton, and Mike Klamm.

Meanwhile, Clark Ridge has now done College Park parkrun 40 times, so we’re starting to count down towards his 50. And Ted Poulos ran his 49th parkrun, so next time out he’ll earn a coveted red 50-run shirt.


It always surprises us when anybody sets a PB or other acts of speediness on days like this, but you didn’t disappoint.

  • Tamryn Thornton-Fillyaw set a PB on her 6th parkrun, also an age-category record
  • Sisters PBs by Teresa Mittendorff and Verena Ettner
  • 4 runs, 4 PBs by Aaron Visnic - more than a 4-minute jump this week! Also 4-in-4 for Jim Sebastian, and 3-in-3 for Matthew Mulally.
  • 10 minute improvement by 2nd timer John Barnhardt, who this week ran without a stroller. (And welcome back to Erica Barnhardt, who this week was in charge of the stroller.)
  • Harish Guda just keeps on getting faster. Another 1 minute jump on his 7th parkrun. 2-minute jump by Maggie Pooley on her 4th parkrun.
  • Yet another PB by Solomon Ambaye, on his 7th parkrun, and for Janice Bernache on her 6th.
  • And new PBs for Gloria Cottman, Paul Kittredge, and Tim Waterhouse

You guys are going to be flying when the weather improves!


There were no parkrun tourists at College Park parkrun this week (smart people!), but we also had some College Park parkrunners on tour this week. At Livonia parkrun in Michigan, Chris Kujawa did his 8th run as “tourist in residence”. We’re looking forward to welcoming him home to College Park next Saturday. Also, Chris’s mother-in-law Lynn Burkart joined us for the second time and got a nice PB. Meanwhile, at Deep Run parkrun in Richmond, VA they were happy to welcome College Park regulars Steve and Cindy Feld.


You know that we would be nowhere without our wonderful parkrun volunteers. And nobody knows it better than a broiled run director like me. The heat was really taking its toll on me on Saturday, and it was such a relief to know that you were in great hands when I had to head off for relief. 10-year old Ginger Wilkerson was amazing as our barcode scanner, and results helper. She managed to herd hordes of sweaty grownups and did her best with the soggy barcodes. Thanks also to her mom Susan Whitney, who was a timer today, together with JJ Su. Jim Cantwell took care of tokens, Hump was master of his eponymous crossing, Debbie Levenson took care of my turnaround grove in the forest in my absence, and Diana Gough tail walked and took photos.

Remember that our parkrun goes ahead each week because of people like you who step up to help. You can see what slots are needed in coming weeks on our future roster page, and we encourage you to join the many in our parkrun community who have opted in (via their profile) to receive Andrea’s once weekly volunteer email circular. Go on, you know you’ll look great in hi-vis yellow.


Coming Attractions

As the fall approaches, we’re going to be parkrunning every week, of course. But here are some special coming attractions to keep in mind.

  • October 21st: College Park parkrun 1st birthday celebration.
  • October 28th: UMD’s Homecoming 5k will be held in conjunction with College Park parkrun.
  • November 11th (tentative): tree planting with Prince George’s Parks by our start/finish area, to provide more shade for next summer. (We planted only smaller trees in the spring, because the larger trees survive better if planted in the fall.)

And finally …

A few more communities in the DMV will soon have a parkrun event for their neighborhood. But to get underway the events need a team of people who are willing to sometimes help out as volunteers. We’re excited about the prospects for a parkrun in SE DC. Do you know of anybody based in the Anacostia, Navy Yard, or Capitol Hill who might be interested in being involved? If you do, please let us know.

Lisa Wilson

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