Luton Wardown parkrun is cancelled on 2020-12-05 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Event #37 – 5th in the country and meeting Blackpool parkrun

What a week!
What a way to finish our November Challenge!
5th in the UK (not)parkrun League Table with a record-breaking 145 people involved, up 7 from the previous week, logging a record-breaking 344 (not)parkruns, up a staggering 50 from the week before!
Luton you have surpassed yourselves :-)
For the first time this month we were also just ahead of Blackpool parkrun who also broke their attendance record.

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Including Monday 30th, Luton Wardown parkrunners have walked, jogged and run 5520k or 3430 miles in November, taking us from Luton to somewhere between Ishim and Omsk in central Russia!

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5 interesting facts about Omsk:
1. Omsk is the former capital of Siberia (the capital is now Novosibirsk)
2. It has been settled for 45,000 years
3. Omsk is one of the top 10 cities in Russia and has a population of over 1,000,000
4. It is a major industrial centre and a main rail hub of the Trans-Siberian Express
5. Omsk has a parkrun - parkrun Dzerzhinsky Square which started this time last year in a balmy -10C!

To help us to our amazing total this week we welcomed an impressive 22 First Timers Ruthie, Beth, Sara, Carly, Anna, Gill, Sarah, Evonne, Andy, Billy, Liz, Waled, Kirsty, Ollie, Amy, Kirsty, Charlotte, Fran, Barbora, Tricia, Kate and James.
It's good to see so many familiar names in there and hopefully (not)parkrun will fill a gap and become a slightly addictive part of your week.

Those that have been part of (not)parkrun for a while have also excelled themselves with 25 new PBs recorded. A huge well done to Mick, Tina, Geoff, Johir, Paul, Calista, Amelie, Lisa, Jane, Sue, Adrian, Angela, Stewart, Sandy, Jo, Howard, Bridget, Dawn, Siobhan, Kathryn, Martin, Nigel, Ali, Zena and Gary.

And the number of people doing multiple (not)parkruns continues to increase.
7 - Tina, Mick, Claire, Jennifer, Lionel, Elizabeth and Evelyn
6 - Alan and Nick
5 - Jane, Maria, Terry, Claire, Lisa, Julie, Sarah and Louise

Regardless of how many (not)parkruns you do the important thing is that you are getting out and about, enjoying the fresh air and exercise and, hopefully, feeling better for having done it.

December Challenge
To keep up the momentum we have built up over the last month we have a December Challenge to tempt you out and into the fresh air.
We will try and maintain our place on the UK (not)parkrun Leader Board (and our  journey around the world) but with added Christmas-related themes!
We know how many of you like to add a little colour and sparkle to parkrun :-)
We await the photos with bated breath!


This week's 'Meet the parkrunner' feature is a little different as we meet the people who have kept us on our toes and pushed us to greater and greater (not)parkrun heights throughout November - Blackpool parkrun :-)

Meet the parkrun - Blackpool


How did you get involved with parkrun?

Blackpool has Co-ED’s, Catherine and Mark, who have just had their first anniversary. Both of them were there in the crowd at the inaugural parkrun. Whilst Mark has slowly improved his times …. it’s fair to say that Catherine has got progressively slower. Since the early days they have regularly volunteered, eventually taken on the mantle of leadership.


When was your first Blackpool parkrun, and what do you remember about it?

Saturday 4th February 2017, this was the day that everyone had been waiting for, the first Blackpool parkrun. It had been an uphill struggle, or so it seemed, to reach this point.
The runners gathered at the Cocker Clock Tower on Stanley Park and there was a buzz of excitement from the volunteers as more and more people arrived, all dressed in Lycra. As the clock struck 9 o’clock, the runners were welcomed to the inaugural Blackpool parkrun. The runners were made up of seasoned parkrunners and those taking part for the first time

The current Co-ED’s Catherine and Mark were amongst the 330 runners that crossed the finish line, 88 of whom were first time parkrunners. They were amazing and most of them came back to Blackpool parkrun becoming the core of our community. The first male runner to cross the finish line was James from Wesham Road Runners AC in 17:20. The first female runner to cross the line was Sophie from Royton Road Runners in 22:21, with Dexter from Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC being the first junior across the line.

We also welcomed people from near and far with two runners travelling up from Oxford to join us. Harry from Altrincham and District AC was completed his 50th parkrun and Mike from Chester Triathlon Club came to run his 100th parkrun with us. We were chuffed that they shared their important milestones with our inaugural .
Incredibly, the token magpie struck!

For the first couple of years our average winter attendance was between 180 and 220, rising to 250-280 in the summer - as a sea-side town numbers are always boosted by tourists from all over the world and the UK. During spring of 2020 we were watching in amazement and excitement as our winter numbers were slowly creeping upwards - and then there was lockdown! Body blow.


What other activities have you been inspired to do as a result of parkrun?

Blackpool parkrun supports and gets lots of support from two local running clubs: Blackpool Wyre & Fylde Athletic Club and Thornton Cleveleys Running Club. Both clubs are represented within our Core Team and regularly do takeovers and can always be depended on the fill our volunteer roster. They regularly bring us fresh blood in the form of their Couch to 5k graduates.
We’ve also established good links with our local food bank. We hold two appeals each year to support them, although this year our summer holiday and Christmas appeals have been dealt with a little differently.


What keeps you coming back to Blackpool?

We know when it's happening there is the unbeatable and exciting good feeling of it working well. We have a brilliant community. We have made good friends. The friends we’ve made on the core team are amazing. But it’s also because we believe in what parkrun is and what it represents.


How are you coping during the current lockdown?

Part of our Core Team set up a new fb page aimed and promoting diversionary activities. Our community have been set a wide range of challenges.They’ve collected street names, worn fancy dress and done a zillion scavenger hunts. Initially, each week, our runners completed a virtual parkrun and we’re up to #36. Each week between 55 and 65 runners have taken part. Although the rules have been slightly more flexible than those set by HQ. Any distance has been acceptable, with accolades awarded for the earliest start, the jazziest run tights, the longest distance and the highest elevation reached. Photographs have been treated as a glorious bonus. More recently, our community have discovered (not)parkrun and embraced it with gusto.
We continue to support our wonderful Parks Art Deco café, within the rules and limits set around social distancing etc. It’s such a warm and friendly place. The staff miss the runners nearly as much as we miss them and their bacon barms!


What are your plans for the future?

To be ready and raring to go when we get the ‘green light’ from HQ and that means hanging onto our enthusiasm and commitment with the skin of our teeth!
To keep our community engaged so that they are ready and raring to go when we get the ‘green light’ from HQ.
Revise our parkrun bucket list to include a visit to Luton Wardown parkrun - an absolute must when parkrun tourism is allowed once more.



Event #36 – a record breaking week and meeting Heather Chandler

WOW, Luton, just WOW!
We smashed both our attendance record and our number of (not)parkruns record.
138 parkrunners (up 32) recorded 294 (not)parkruns (up 36).
It looks as though we like a little friendly competition :-)
We finished in 9th place with Blackpool parkrun 3 places above us in 6th having recorded 322 (not)parkruns. We did beat them on the number of people involved though - 138 vs 107
As the table shows it was very close between 7th, 8th and 9th place.
The challenge is on again for the final week in November.

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Those 294 (not)parkruns equate to 1470k, or 913 miles. This took our monthly total distance covered to 3695k or 2296 miles, enough to get us from Luton to Kazan, 800 miles east of Moscow

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5 interesting facts about Kazan:
1. It is Russia's 3rd city after Moscow and St Petersburg
2. It is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, 150 years older than Moscow
3. It is the capital of Tatarstan and the cultural home of the Tatar people
4. It is home to the largest mosque in Europe
5. It has a parkrun that started a week before Luton Wardown, in April 2015!

To help us towards our amazing total we welcomed 15 First Timers to (not)parkrun, although a number of very familiar faces are included in that number. A big welcome to Estelle, Martin, Calista, Shamim, Siobhan, James, Jill, Richard, Shahid, Gary, Syed, Mick and Tina, Paula and Juliana.

We also had 28 people record PBs :-o
A huge well done to Adrian, Pat, Meriel, Lena, Phil, Miriam, Tony, Barbara, Donna, Kathy, Alan, Jan, Mark, Nikki, Heather, Howard, Helen, Alison, Mohammad, Stuart, Lu, Bridget, Julia, Jane, Jodir, Nigel, Ali and Simon. (Phew!)

And the number of people doing multiple (not)parkruns seems to be increasing.
7 - Claire, John, Lionel and Elizabeth
6 - Alan and Evelyn
5 - Jane, Liz, Lisa, Julie, Jennifer and Sue

So many people have done 2, 3 or 4 (not)parkruns this week.
However, whether you walk 1 (not)parkrun or run 7, the important thing is that you are getting out and about, enjoying the fresh air and exercise and, hopefully, feeling better for having done it.

Meet the parkrunner - Heather Chandler

Heather C

How did you get involved with parkrun?
I had noticed a few friends posting on Facebook about their parkrun experiences, and thought as I needed some motivation to get running regularly that I’d give it a try. Initially I put it off for a few weeks as I thought everyone would be much faster than me and I’d come last.  Of course that’s impossible with the lovely tailwalkers.

When was your first Luton Wardown parkrun, and what do you remember about it?
I remember thinking how friendly and relaxed it was, and the great marshalls to encourage me round. After a first time of 36:29 I was determined to return the following week to beat it!! I think I was hooked from week one.....161 parkruns later, my only regret is that I didn’t start sooner.

What other activities have you been inspired to do as a result of parkrun?
My husband Howard and I have been inspired to do other parkruns when we can and had the exciting privilege of running a Canadian parkrun in Kanata, Ottawa in 2017.

We have also enjoyed being involved with volunteering both at Wardown parkrun, and being part of the Junior parkrun volunteering team.
I also ‘jogged’ the Love Luton 10k in 2019, and the Stopsley Striders 5 miles.

What keeps you coming back to Luton Wardown?
Wardown is very friendly, welcoming, oh and has great cake!

How are you coping during the current lockdown?
The (not) parkrun scheme is a great idea, and I’ve been trying to run two a week during lockdown. That’s helped partly to fill the parkrun void, and motivate me to get out there, especially now the weather is getting colder.

What are your plans for the future?
Looking forward to parkrun resuming, albeit when safe to do so, and when travelling is possible again, planning to do further parkrun tourism . In the meantime hoping that everyone stays safe and well. We miss the parkrun family. Take care everyone.


Event #35 (not)parkrun record breaking and meeting Julie, Jen and family

Wow what a week!
A little healthy competition between us and Blackpool parkrun resulted in both parkruns recording record (not)parkruns - 248 for us and 270 for Blackpool!
That placed us in 9th and Blackpool in 7th in the UK (not)parkrun League Table.
That's 1 draw and 1 win for Blackpool.
The challenge is on again for this week.
Go, Luton Wardown, Go :-D

Our weekly stats include:
Welcoming 4 new (not)parkrunners - hello to Phil, Liz, Stewart and Zena.
Celebrating 10 PBs - congratualtions to Bridget, Miriam, Helen, Lisa, Pat, Howard, Kathy, Julie, Richard and Adrian
Being amazed at those who recorded:
7 (not)parkruns - Elizabeth, Jennifer, Claire, Deborah, Lionel and Alan
6 (not)parkruns - Evelyn
5 (not)parkruns - Samantha, Tracey, Lisa, Phil, Liz and Teresa

We are also getting more and more people recording 4, 3 or 2 (not)parkruns. Hopefully this means that the addiction is kicking in and people are getting out and about more.
Even if you don't manage a 5k, getting out and exercising in the fresh air will certainly help in these strange and difficult times.

This week's 'Meet the parkrunner' feature includes Run Directing sisters Julie Tysoe and Jen Avis plus various family members.

Meet the parkrunner - Julie Tysoe

Avis_Tysoe 4

How did you get involved with parkrun?
I first got involved with parkrun in May 2017 after looking for something to help with my fitness and to get outdoors at the weekend. I’d followed the page on Facebook for some time, but it took a bit of courage to finally get there, and I remember messaging my friend Claire for some reassurance before my first attendance.

When was your first Luton Wardown parkrun, and what do you remember about it?
My first parkrun was at Luton Wardown and I remember approaching the boathouse with a real sense of apprehension that morning. I was also running late for the pre run briefing and for those who know me well this will come as no surprise! All my worries and concerns disappeared within the first few minutes, people were so welcoming, kind and friendly and the support as I gently jogged round the course was fantastic. I remember meeting my sister Jen and family in Stockwood park after, and I chewed their ears off about how great it had been. When I got my result by email it was so exciting! And so the parkrun journey had begun :-)

What other activities have you been inspired to do as a result of parkrun?
parkrun has really got me moving more and encouraged me to push my boundaries. I’ve run two marathons since joining parkrun (having only ever jogged to 5k previously), joined Stopsley Striders, bought a road bike and completed Ride London last year (85 miles cycling). I’ve also become a Run Director which I love as it’s a joy to give back to our community. Who would have thought o would have had the confidence to be responsible for an event for over 400 people and speak publicly on a microphone to do the pre run briefing before! I’ve also really enjoyed parkrun tourism and I think I’ve visited over 30 different parkrun’s now which has been a great experience.

Avis_Tysoe 3

What keeps you coming back to Luton Wardown? 
I keep coming back to Luton Wardown as our community is second to none. We are warm, welcoming, friendly, everyone is supported and I know I am biased, but we really are a community who looks out for one another. I also love that I can do parkrun with my family (Jen, Rickey, Stephen and James), we’ve also done some brilliant parkrun tourism adventures together.

How are you coping during the current lockdown?
Lockdown has been hard, as it has been for lots of us. I’ve found it very isolating at times, and have missed parkrun. I also had to have major emergency surgery in June at a time when my family couldn’t be with me when I was ill, or visit the hospital due to covid restrictions and that was very hard. But there is lots of be grateful for and I have had some lovely social runs and walks with people which I have really valued.

What are your plans for the future?
My immediate plan is to get through the winter with as much positivity as possible! Sport wise I want to gently increase my mileage post operation, do more trail running, some mountain biking, learn open water swimming so I can do triathlon and get a turbo trainer so I can cycle train over the winter. I’ve also entered the London Marathon ballot. Should keep me busy :-)

Meet the parkrunners - Jen, Rickey, Stephen and James Avis

Avis_Tysoe 2

How did you get involved with parkrun?
Julie and James first decided to join to get fitter. Rickey and I watched them, the first week they went (3rd June 2017). I felt like a fraud just watching and not joining in, so joined in the following week (10th June 2017) with Rickey!Stephen joined in a month later when he had a break in football training (22nd July 2017)

When was your first Luton Wardown parkrun, and what do you remember about it?
Our memories of the first parkrun at Luton Wardown was that it was very inclusive and people were so happy and friendly. It felt like a very welcoming place to be. I felt it didn’t matter that I’d never attempted running before and that nobody would judge me.

What other activities have you been inspired to do as a result of parkrun?
Since starting parkrun, Rickey and I increased our mileage by participating in 10K runs and virtual half marathons. Stephen and James have taken on long hikes (like hiking to Hemel Hempstead from Luton). James continues running and playing football weekly. Rickey and I are keen to start up doing some distance cycling. We both joined Stopsley Striders. In addition, James and I have joined Fordy Runs Running Club. James has also been participating in junior parkruns and enjoys some junior parkrun tourism. James and I have both become RDs at Luton Wardown parkrun and Houghton Hall junior parkrun.

Avis_Tysoe 1

What keeps you coming back to Luton Wardown? 
We keep coming back to Luton Wardown because it’s our home parkrun and it feels very much like our second home. You can go there alone but not actually be along. The parkrun family keep us coming back.

How are you coping during the current lockdown?
Lockdown hit us hard initially, for the first 3 months none of us got out and exercised other than short walks. During the summer, we started C25K to bring our running stamina back.

What are your plans for the future?
Future plans for us are to carry on with all the runs and other activities we do.
James is keen to do the Great North Run junior course.
My bucket list of runs I want to do are Great North Run, Great South Run and London Landmarks Half.
For us a family, Luton Wardown parkrun has been a huge change for the better. Now we wouldn’t be without it!


Event #34 – drawing with Blackpool

This week's report is going to be short and sweet (and very, very late!)

The weather was very Autumnal over the week - i.e. it either rained or it was lovely! On the lovely days you did a great job of sharing your smiley faces, your Christmas leggings (because, why not?) and the glorious landscape around us (and possibly further afield in at least one photo!)

We managed 9th place on the UK (not)parkrun League Table, drawing with Blackpool parkrun on 186 (not)parkruns recorded. Blackpool have been much further down the table up until now but have put on a spurt and are challenging us for a Top 10 spot! We may have to up our game!

Smiley people - Nov

It was lovely to welcome 4 new (not)parkrunners this week although their names may well be familiar - Gerry, Beth, Curtis and Stuart have dipped their toes into the (not)parkrun waters. It may become just as addictive as our usual Saturday morning adventures. You have been warned!
There was some great walking, jogging and running going on over the week as 13 people managed a PB. Well done to Kathy, Kathryn, Erwin, Simon, Deb, Sandy, Thomas, Peter, Howard, John, Martin, Lisa and Dave. Some of those names are popping up on a very regular basis.
We had 6 people record a (not)parkrun every day this week, that's 2 more than last week which was our best yet. Well done to Claire, Deborah, Evelyn, Elizabeth, Lionel and Nick. And a mention too for Alan, Liz and Sue who all recorded 5 (not)parkruns.
Remember that you can log a (not)parkrun every day of the week if you want and they all count to our total and keep us in the Top 10.

Views - Nov

So far in our November (not)parkrun Challenge we have had 103 people record 197 (not)parkruns - that's 985k in total. That's further than Luton to Berlin :-o

How many people will have got out and about this coming week? How many (not)parkruns will we record? How far will we get around the world? And will we beat Blackpool parkrun?

Stay safe, stay active.

The Luton Wardown parkrun team


Event #33 – heading back into Lockdown and meeting the Worbys

It looks like November is going to be difficult for a lot of people as we head back into lockdown.
Getting out and about is such a positive thing but with most organised activities unavailable and the weather deteriorating it can be hard to find the motivation.
So, we bring you . . . the Luton Wardown November (not)parkrun Challenge.

(not)parkrun November (will)

Let's plan some positivity for November and encourage and support each other to get through this month one walk, jog or run at a time.
#loveparkrun #lovelutonwardown #novemberchallenge

Last week saw 81 parkrunners record 142 (not)parkruns, putting us in 8th place in the UK League table. Not bad out of approximately 750 UK parkruns :-)
Claire Worby (more later!) reached the fantastic milestone of 100 (not)parkruns and we welcomed (not)parkrun First Timers - Martin, Karen, Kayleigh, Samantha and Bridget although some of those names are rather familiar.
Congratulations to the 16 people who got new PBs - Sue, Claire, Pat, Dave, Dwayne, Kathryn, Simon, Donna, Helen, Lena, Jennie, John, Sandy, Howard, Dave and Jane.
Well done too to those who ran:
7 (not)pakruns - Claire, Elizabeth, Lionel and Evelyn
5 (not)parkruns - Theresa, Nick and Liz

Meet the parkrunner - Claire Worby

Claire Worby 1

How did you get involved with parkrun?
I first got involved in parkrun in 2017.
In 2016 I started a first to lose weight as I wanted to start my 40’s fitter and thinner.
I joined weight watchers, took up aqua fit, started doing Zumba which I had done for a few years with more effort. As part of my exercise regime I started to walk more. I began a circuit from my house around the local area which was approx 5k and oh my gosh it was so hard at first! Although when I started my diet I was double the size I am now.
So as I began to lose weight, I started to get faster and the walk got longer. One of my friends said to me you should do the parkrun. Of course I answered with the response oh I don’t run!!! She told me you don’t have to run. You can walk run or jog. So I decided to go.

When was your first Luton Wardown parkrun, and what do you remember about it?
My first parkrun was in April 2017. I remember feeling really nervous as I went down to the boathouse and saw a sea of people.  However I straight away saw my friend who had suggested the parkrun to me and someone else I knew so I felt fine.
I walked the course and thoroughly enjoyed it and remember thinking how friendly everyone was!  That is now history and how my parkrun journey began.

What other activities have you been inspired to do as a result of parkrun?
parkrun made my love of walking grow. There’s nothing like trying to beat your own time too. As a result of parkrun even though I am not a runner I did begin to do some jeffing, which is a timed amount of walking and running and I got my personal best at parkrun down to 37minutes. The time is not as important to me though and more the number of parkruns I complete which I managed to get to 88 just before lockdown. As some of you may know I do a lot of volunteering at parkrun too and spent weeks doing most of the volunteering roles rather than the actual parkruns as I do so much walking every week anyway. I love volunteering as I love cheering people on. Bottom of the hill became my regular spot as that is one of the places you need a lot of encouragement especially when you’re running up it for the 4th time. Tail walking is another of my favourite roles at parkrun and token sorting too.  Also as a result of parkrun I have completed 3 St Albans half marathons. I enter that one as you can enter it to walk. I thoroughly enjoy it and missed it this year as like all other races was cancelled. I turned a negative into a positive though and did my own half marathon and raised £170 for the NHS.

What keeps you coming back to Luton Wardown?
The people are definitely what keeps me coming back to Luton Wardown parkrun and the atmosphere. I have met so many people through doing this. Lots of them now who I call friends. I have been to a couple of other parkrun's and can honestly say the atmosphere at Wardown is amazing and second to none.

How are you coping during the current lockdown?
I have a positive attitude and look for the good in every situation and so when we hit lockdown and obviously parkrun was cancelled I looked for a new activity. I discovered walking workouts and that’s what I started to do everyday at home. My routine would be 12 to15k every morning before homeschooling. I found one which was a fast mile and discovered if I ran parts where the lady walks I can achieve good times which is what I have been doing for some of my non parkruns. Also every Saturday myself and my hubby Durcy have been going for our own walks around our local area and spelling out words associated with parkrun using street names. It’s a great start to the weekend and I love it. It’s a great way of still feeling part of the parkrun community.

What are your plans for the future?
In the future when we are back (and we will be back) I want to achieve my 100 parkruns and continue with other half marathons and up to 200 volunteers  too.
Cannot wait to see all you guys again.

Meet the parkrunner - Durcan Worby

Durcan Worby 1

How did you get involved in parkrun?
Claire started going on a Saturday morning and I just went along to give moral support. After a couple of weeks it was suggested I volunteer as a Marshall as I was there cheering people on anyway

When was your first parkrun and what do you remember about it?
I remember being a bit nervous as I had seen how fast people were going and knew I wasn't that fit, but I got around with a lot of walking and a little jogging and my ego demanding a sprint (okay, fast jog) finish over the last 50 metres.

What other activities have you been inspired to do as a result of parkrun?
I always enjoyed sport when I was younger so I have been trying to get more active.
I take our son Aiden to the gym several times a week and I'm one of the coaches for his rugby team at Stockwood Park RFC, normally the one to referee the games. I have even joined in first team training a few times and joined a club touch rugby tournament recently (Claire agreed on my behalf). I did start wondering about the wisdom of that decision when I realized I was double the age of most of the others, but it was a fun afternoon.

What keeps you coming back to Luton Wardown?
Well, it's cheaper than therapy as I can jabber away as a marshall and everyone has to listen as they go passed and I have been able to achieve a lifelong ambition of being a human bollard. LOL
Truthfully, I like the sense of community, people are so warm and friendly. There's always someone encouraging you when you are finding the course hard that day and I have made friends with people I otherwise wouldn't have met.
I have been to other parkruns and whilst people are polite, it's just not as welcoming as Luton Wardown.

How are you coping during the current Lockdown?
It's not been to bad if a little strange to get used to. I was a bit poorly at the start of lockdown and ended up in hospital for a week (diabetes 1 Durcan 0) which was a bit scary with everything going on and frustrating as I wasn't able to walk for some time.
But now I'm working from home having been furloughed for the first few months of lockdown I  am starting to get used to not having to commute further than downstairs.
I miss some of the things we used to take for granted like going for a meal or watching a film at the cinema, but I know it's only until Covid 19 is successfully dealt with.

What are your plans for the future?
With everything that is going on, I haven't really made any plans as I don't know when things will start to return to normal.
I will try and keep working on my fitness levels, keep my fingers crossed that those I care about stay safe and well and when the lockdown is done with, probably set the smoke alarm off by thinking about what I do next.

All Worbys

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