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Featured Runner “Eric Shebesta” December 2016

frontpageEric Shebesta (in his own words): I’m just an average guy. I grew up in Colorado and relocated to Missouri in 2001. I’ve been married to my wife, Lori for 23 years.  Ever since I was a kid I was always in awe of endurance sports, such as the Tour de France, Ironman, etc. Although I never followed these sports, I quit smoking about 10 years ago and wanted to improve my fitness. I began running a little bit and decided I wanted to run a marathon. While training for that, I began to enjoy running more. After completing a couple of marathons, I began running trails. I had no idea where one would find trail races. I came across a Featured Athlete article in Hammer Nutrition’s newsletter, that athlete was Eric Steele. It mentioned his FlatRock race. I sent Eric an email, and he sent me an invitation to FlatRock. After emailing Eric a couple of times with questions, he was kind enough to call me and answer all of my questions about trail running and ultras. That was my introduction to ultras. My wife Lori soon picked up running as well, and now its’s something we can do together, entering events together and taking turns crewing each other.


Date of Birth: November 11, 1966

Place of Birth: Denver, Colorado

Currently Residing:  Rogersville, Missouri

Marital Status: Married

Job(s): Cabinet maker/plant supervisor

Children: Two, Baillie and Michael

Height: 5’6”

Weight: 160 lbs.

Shoe Size: 9

Best Physical Feature: Eyes

Worst Physical Feature: Gut

Religion: Christian

Political Affiliation: Disappointed

Educational Background: High School

Personal Strength(s): Determination

Personal Weakness(es): Impatient

Make Of Car You Drive: Ford F-150

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: Ford F-150 newer model

Pets: 1 Miniature Pincher


Favorite Author: Don’t have one

Favorite Book: Can’t pick just one

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Non-running, don’t have one

Favorite Movie: Have several, No Country for Old Men and Tombstone are a couple

Favorite TV Show: Modern Family

Favorite Actor/Actress: Robert De Niro

Favorite Music: Classic Rock

Favorite Musical Performer: several, U2, their old stuff(albums like The Joshua Tree and War) but don’t care for their new stuff

Favorite Time Of Day: Early morning

Favorite Item Of Clothing: Gym shorts

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Spending time with family

Favorite Running Shoe: Hoka Challanger

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Lots of coffee, oatmeal, and bananas

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Fruit/tailwind

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Pizza

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): My wife Lori and daughter Baillie

Favorite Place To Run: Busiek State Forest, Missouri and Hobbs State Park, Arkanasas

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Dirt

Favorite Famous Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” –Wayne Gretzky


Number of Years Running Ultras: 3

Number of Ultras Finished:  9

Best Ultra Performance(s): Flatrock 50K, 2014

Most Memorable Ultra: My first Prairie Spirit 50 Mile, 2014

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: 4-5 runs/week, approximately 50 miles/week

Injuries: Stress Fracture and PF

Ultrarunning Idol: Anybody who struggles and digs deep to finish an ultra, you see great accomplishments all the time. If you really want to see resilient people, stick around towards the end of an ultra.

Why Do You Run Ultras:  Challenges, camaraderie, and the sense of accomplishment

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Prepare to the best of your ability, do not compare your training to others and sell yourself short. It’s a journey filled with obstacles, difficulties, and a bit of suffering but remember to have fun.


Personal Hero: My daughter, Baillie

Personal Philosophy:  Never stop

Short-Term Goal: Stay injury free

Long-Term Goal: Again, stay injury free

Most Prized Possession: Too many to mention

Most Proud Achievement: Raising 2 wonderful kids

Happiest Memory: Welcoming my kids into this world

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Pace Jim Walmsley at Western States 2017

Greatest Adventure:  Fox hunting in England


Least Liked Subject: Science

Least Liked Household Chore: Dishes

Pet Peeve(s): People talking with food in their mouth and the jackass that needs to take up 3 parking spaces with his truck


Book Currently Reading: Living with a Seal by Jesse Itzler

Collections: Race shirts

What’s next: Back 40 Trail Run Bella Vista, Arkansas

bottomarticleEric, with his ultrarunning
wife, Lori, hot on his heels!



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Featured Runner “Jana Patzkowski Graham” November 2016

janarunJana Graham (in her own words): I didn’t start running until after I turned 50 and really didn’t run much outside of races until after my first marathon, the Half and Half in Tulsa in 2012. I met all of these wonderful, crazy people that were running things called “ultras” and it sounded like such an adventure that I just had to join in! I found that running is something I’m halfway decent at, and it provides me with meditation time. My husband and non-running friends think I’m crazy, but I think ultrarunning keeps me sane. So, I will keep going as long as I can.


Date of Birth: April 13, 1961

Place of Birth: Bartlesville, OK

Currently Residing: Bartlesville, OK

Marital Status: Married to my best friend, Alan.

Job(s): Occupational Therapy Assistant

Children: 2, my son Carl, who lives in Tulsa with his wife Ashley, and my daughter Toma, who lives in heaven.

Height: 5’6″-ish

Weight: 135-ish

Shoe Size: 7- 8, depending on the shoe.

Best Physical Feature: Smile, I guess.

Worst Physical Feature: So many things I could list, but I am working on loving ALL of me instead of focusing on negatives!

Religion: Christian

Educational Background: A.A.S. Occupational Therapy

Personal Strength(s): My ability to start over, no matter how often.

Personal Weakness(es): Feeling like I’m not good enough.

Make Of Car You Drive: Toyota RAV4

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: I would like to ride my Suzuki GSXR1000 more often.

Pets: 3 cats, Cashmere, Caramel, and Moto


Favorite Author: Stephen King

Favorite Book: Clan of the Cave Bear

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Crossword puzzles

Favorite Movie: Young Frankenstein

Favorite TV Show: Survivor

Favorite Actor/Actress: Johnny Depp/Sandra Bullock

Favorite Music: Rock

Favorite Musical Performer: KISS (best.show.ever.)

Favorite Artist: Any 5 year old

Favorite Spectator Sport: Motorcycle races

Favorite Subject in School: History

Favorite Game: Words with Friends

Favorite Vacation Destination: Cozumel,Mexico

Favorite Time Of Day: Early early mornings

Favorite Item Of Clothing: Running clothes

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Riding motorcycles

Favorite Running Shoe: Altra Olympus

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Beer/Pizza

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Beer/Pizza

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Beer/Pizza!!!!

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): Bryan Carpenter and Mike Rives, of course!! Together we are The 3 Amigos running club.

Favorite Place To Run: Everywhere!

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Trails

Favorite Famous Quote: “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regrets. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” -Dr. Seuss


Number of Years Running Ultras: 3-4

Number of Ultras Finished: 20 (as of 9/24)

Best Ultra Performance(s): Any one that I finish, because I learn something on each one.

Most Memorable Ultra: My first, Pumpkin Holler 50k in 2013. Because I didn’t know about “training”, didn’t know what to expect, and everything just felt “right”.

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: Varies, sometimes lots of long runs, sometimes cross training.

Injuries: Toenails usually, most recently a severely herniated disc.

Ultrarunning Idol: Kathy Hoover

Why Do You Run Ultras: To defeat that voice inside of me that tells me I’m not enough; to think about everything; to feel everything.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Run YOUR race, believe in yourself, and just do it!


Personal Hero: My husband

Personal Philosophy: If you only choose the things you KNOW you can do, it isn’t a challenge!

Short-Term Goal: Getting my back healthy again.

Long-Term Goal: Staying healthy

Most Prized Possession: My health

Most Proud Achievement: My first 100 mile finish, Prairie Spirit.

Happiest Memory: Every memory of watching my son grow up!

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Hiking in Ireland and Scotland for at least a month.

Greatest Adventure: Diving Palancar Reef


Least Liked Subject: Math

Least Liked Household Chore: Dusting

Pet Peeve(s): People texting and driving

Greatest Fear: Losing my son


Book Currently Reading: The Book of God

Hobbies: Lately I’ve really been getting into the paint/drinking parties! (I’m better at the drinking part)

Collections: Race bling/bibs!

janafriendsJana with two of her best ultrarunning clowns (pals):
Bryan Carpenter & Mike Reeves.

janaJana the trail ultarunning “badass”…all smiles and proudly
 her 2016 FlatRock Triple Crown Award!


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Featured Runner “Tom Rogers” October 2016

flatrock101k-2015-0660-xlTom Rogers (in his own words): I am an ordinary 45 year old man whom serves an extraordinary God. I was introduced to running as a teen and was a very average cross country runner. As a young adult, I began my downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse, eventually living in my car for a period of time. At age 37, I heard a voice from the heavens that announced my death within 24 hours and a last chance for life. I took the haunting, yet clear words and never looked back. I began trimming down my 250 lb. frame to run further and further. Today, I am 7 years sober and my life is ripe with the fruits of being conscious of the need to be obedient to God and living a purpose filled life. I am at the service of my fellow man to walk alongside them in hardship and struggle, because hardship and struggle is the pathway to peace.


Date of Birth:  August 31st, 1971

Place of Birth: Joplin, MO

Currently Residing:  Joplin, MO

Marital Status: My best friend, Valerie Rogers

Job(s): President of Twelveone Race Management and Marketing, Founder at Anywhere.Run, and Managing Director of The Red Sea Fitness Team

Children: Olivia and Tyler Rogers (both driving now)

Height: 6’1

Weight: 200

Shoe Size: 12.5

Best Physical Feature: Calves

Worst Physical Feature: I’m hot everywhere

Religion: Indebted to Jesus Christ

Political Affiliation: Trump Train

Educational Background: College Dropout

Personal Strength(s): Discernment

Personal Weakness(es): Temperament

Make Of Car You Drive: 1995 GMC Sonoma

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: 1995 GMC Sonoma

Pets: Puck Rogers (like him on Facebook)


Favorite Author: Brennan Manning

Favorite Book: The Message Bible

Favorite Non-running Magazine: The Big Nickel

Favorite Movie: A River Runs Through It

Favorite TV Show: House

Favorite Actor/Actress: Andy Griffith

Favorite Music: British/English Rock

Favorite Musical Performer: Keane

Favorite Artist: Bob Ross

Favorite Spectator Sport: Volleyball

Favorite Subject in School: History

Favorite Game: Hiding my wife’s sunglasses

Favorite Vacation Destination: Fort Walton Beach, FL

Favorite Time Of Day: Early AM

Favorite Item Of Clothing: Run shirt and gym shorts (my business suit)

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Work

Favorite Running Shoe: Hoka Bondi

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Biscuit and gravy

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Almost frozen Coke

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): Not Brian Smith

Favorite Place To Run: Through violent neighborhoods

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Technical trail

Favorite Famous Quote: God’s greatest victories arise from the graves of apparent defeat


Number of Years Running Ultras: 3

Number of Ultras Finished:  12

Best Ultra Performance(s): Prairie Spirit 50 miler chasing Michael Mora

Most Memorable Ultra: 2015 Flatrock 101K for many reasons

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: 50-60 miles in about my top end

Injuries: Been struggling mentally with training for most of 2016, but beginning to get the mind fresh again for the ultra-battles.

Ultrarunning Idol(s): Pete Kostelnick, Nathan Sicher, Iron Will Sprouse, Zach Adams, Eric Steele

Why Do You Run Ultras:  It was better than drinking myself to death

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Fear is only a word


Personal Hero: Jesus Christ

Personal Philosophy:  Give life a bruise

Short-Term Goal: 100 miler in the spring of 2017

Long-Term Goal: Run across the United States starting on my 50th birthday

Most Prized Possession: Valerie Rogers

Most Proud Achievement: Notes from my children about how I have impacted them

Happiest Memory: Mom’s cancer went into remission

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: It’s no secret. I desire my ministry and my companies to go worldwide.

Greatest Adventure:  Raising children


Least Liked Subject: Endless, pointless, and awkward chit chat

Least Liked Household Chore: I love chores

Pet Peeve(s): Laziness

Greatest Fear: That my mouth won’t stop what my mind is thinking


Book Currently Reading: Start Where You Are

Hobbies: Taking care of business

Collections: Stuff people sit by the side of the road

What’s next: It will involve running

flatrock101k-2015-4750-xl-1Post race bliss for Tom, family & crew/pacers at his 2015 FlatRock 101K finish.


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Featured Runner “Polly Choate” September 2016

postpicPolly Choate (in her own words): I started running about 15 years ago. I fell in love with it when I discovered trails. Mother Nature…the people…the escape…every single aspect of it.  Trail and ultrarunning is an opportunity to think, to feel…to experience life in its simplest form. Heading out on a run, with virtually nothing but a decent pair of shoes…and just run for hours – that, for me, is an almost indescribable experience. A reflection into your own soul, to meditate on the purpose of one’s existence and find balance and harmony within.


Date of Birth: May 9, 1971

Place of Birth: Tulsa, OK

Currently Residing: Tulsa

Marital Status: Widowed seven years ago after being married to my first love, Jeff, for 20 years – Now, very happily coexisting with my man, Craddock.

Job(s): Tech Instructor / Rules Admin – REALTOR Association –17 years

Children: One – Lauren

Height: Five Seven

Weight: LOL Depends on the day

Shoe Size: Men’s 10

Best Physical Feature: My eyes (right Jorge Gonzalez?!)

Worst Physical Feature:  My saddlebags

Religion: Love

Political Affiliation: Hardcore Libertarian

Educational Background: BBS from NSU – Marketing

Personal Strength(s): Grounded, giving, analytical

Personal Weakness(es): Critical of myself

Make Of Car You Drive: Chevy HHR

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: I love my car

Pets: No thank you


Favorite Author: Mitch Albom / Scott Blum

Favorite Book: Atlas Shrugged, of course

Favorite Non-running Magazine: I don’t read magazines

Favorite Movie: Grease

Favorite TV Show: Amazing Race

Favorite Actor/Actress: The Rock

Favorite Music: Anything with a good rhythm and purposeful lyrics

Favorite Musical Performer: MJ

Favorite Artist: Myself…or my buddy Todd Sparks – his paintings are amazing

Favorite Spectator Sport: Football

Favorite Subject in School: Math

Favorite Game: Pretty much any game where strategy is involved

Favorite Vacation Destination: Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

Favorite Time Of Day: Morning

Favorite Item Of Clothing: My brown, long shorts that look ridiculous but I could seriously wear them every day

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Relaxing with my family

Favorite Running Shoe: Men’s Brooks Cascadia

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Day before, Subway / Morning of, Perpetuem (HAMMER) or Purely Elizabeth granola with milk

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: HEED (HAMMER), Justin’s maple almond butter, Pepsi and McDonalds oatmeal (Saved my life at the Honey Badger 100!)

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Recoverite (HAMMER), Mexican food and anything but water

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): Like I’m going there…Hello!

Favorite Place To Run: In the woods

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Trails

Favorite Famous Quote:  If This Were Easy It Would Be Called Your Mom! (Thanks Patrick Hupp!)


Number of Years Running Ultras: First Ultra was Double Chubb 50K in April 2011

Number of Ultras Finished:  Over 40

Best Ultra Performance(s):  That’s a subjective question. Does one quantify it based on pace, or how one felt, or how good one looked doing it?  Or maybe which I waddled least after?

Most Memorable Ultra: Usually the last one.

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: What’s “major”? For my last 100, I ran a min of 60 miles/week. Otherwise, I run a minimum of 40 on surfaces similar to upcoming races.

Injuries: No thank you

Ultrarunning Idol: Hands-down, no question…Joseph Galloway

Why Do You Run Ultras:  I love to run. I run year round – race or not.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Lofty goals are fine, but be realistic.  Doing long distances right out of the gate is just setting yourself up for injury.  Life’s about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy every single step.


Personal Hero: My daughter, Lauren

Personal Philosophy:  Worry about yourself

Short-Term Goal:  Maintain my health and happiness

Long-Term Goal:  Maintain my health and happiness

Most Prized Possession: Photos

Most Proud Achievement: Continuing to raise my amazingly beautiful, talented, loving daughter.

Happiest Memory: It’s not one big thing…it’s all the little things. When I think about those, that IS my happiest memory.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy:  If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret…and I’d have to kill you!

Greatest Adventure:  The over 300 wild caves that Jeff and I explored.


Least Liked Subject: History

Least Liked Household Chore: Dusting

Pet Peeve(s): People who don’t worry about themselves

Greatest Fear: Not being there for Lauren


Book Currently Reading: “Faithfully Religionless” and “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto”

Hobbies: Poetry, painting (abstract art – acrylic on canvas)

Collections: Finisher medals

What’s next: Depends on when this is published. Do-Wacka-Do 50 miler in Erick, OK on Labor Day Weekend (Editor’s Update: PR’d and finished in 12:55:56). After that, no telling. I rarely sign up for winter races…I’m a heat runner. So, I’ll just keep logging miles and hope for mild weather so I can throw another race or two in there before the year is up.

footerpicPolly’s “all smiles” after finishing her first 100 Miler at the Kansas Rails-To-Trails 100!


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Featured Runner “Travis McWhorter” August 2016

travis_PC_Jim_SteinTravis McWhorter (in his own words): I started running in 2012 shortly after adopting a stray Siberian husky. I quit smoking and got in shape because of that dog. Now I own two and we love to run. I’m currently enrolled as a senior at the University of New Mexico and hoping to land a job/career in the GIS field. I’m engaged to a beautiful woman, Jen Ogden. We met while racing. Other than that, I have a deep passion for running and exploring the great outdoors. Life is good!


Date of Birth: August 31, 1986

Place of Birth: Overland Park, Kansas

Currently Residing:  Sandia Park, New Mexico

Marital Status: Engaged

Job(s): Full-Time Student

Children: 0

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 139 lbs.

Shoe Size: 10.5 – 11

Best Physical Feature: My eyes

Worst Physical Feature: My nose, it’s crooked

Religion: Buddhism

Educational Background: Some college

Personal Strength(s): Seeing the good in the bad.

Personal Weakness(es): Being too harsh.

Make Of Car You Drive: Subaru Outback

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: Mercedes Sprinter Van

Pets: Shiva & Cab the adventure huskies, Penny the whippet, and our two cats Oreo & Zion. We have a zoo.


Favorite Book: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Favorite Movie: Pulp Fiction

Favorite TV Show: Maron (currently)

Favorite Actor/Actress: Leonardo DiCaprio

Favorite Music: Indie-rock

Favorite Musical Performer: Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer)

Favorite Spectator Sport: Track and college basketball

Favorite Subject in School: Geography

Favorite Vacation Destination: The Rocky Mountains

Favorite Time Of Day: The PM golden hour

Favorite Item Of Clothing: Any visor

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Reading

Favorite Running Shoe: Altra Lone Peak 3.0

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Bagels and coffee

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Hammer Nutrition’s HEED and Gel

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Vegan protein powder and pizza

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): My parents and Jen.  Bryan Hay also gets a special “shout out” because he was my first and only pacer at my first 100 miler.

Favorite Place To Run: Anywhere the terrain and elevation varies but particularly the southwest mountain region.

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Mountainous in the summer and desert in the winter.

Favorite Famous Quote: “You don’t have to be fast. But you’d better be fearless.” – Christopher McDougall


Number of Years Running Ultras: 4

Number of Ultras Finished:  20

Best Ultra Performance(s): 2016 Antelope Canyon 55K

Most Memorable Ultra: 2014 Jemez Mountain 50 Miler, an unexpected blizzard/whiteout blew in and that was my first taste of true mountain weather. They called the race. Many people were hypothermic, one woman was even found wrapped around a ski lift pole shivering and mumbling incoherently.

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: Generally I start to taper 2-3 weeks out and keep my runs at an easy, comfortable pace.

Injuries: Achilles tendonitis, Sesamoiditis, and stress fracture in my foot. While frustrating, I’m thankful for all of my injuries, as they’ve revealed a weakness.

Ultrarunning Idol: Anyone who loves and contributes to this sport.

Why Do You Run Ultras:  I run ultras because of how they make me feel, for the challenge, and the places I get to see. There’s nothing like them!

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: I’m not sure I should be giving out advice, but if I were, I’d say don’t rush the distances. Incrementally step up to longer/harder races in a natural progression. Don’t force it because of fear of missing out. This sport is all about patience and learning about you.


Personal Hero(s): My parents.

Personal Philosophy:  Be kind, what you send out, you get back.

Short-Term Goal: Get my undergrad, get married, and move to Colorado.

Long-Term Goal: Run for as long as possible and live a meaningful, inspired life.

Most Prized Possession: My car. I bought when it had 172k miles and it’s now at 207k. My dad and I have done all the repairs and tune-ups, so a lot of love has gone into it. I’ve driven it to the Midwest, to California, through the mountains of Colorado, all without so much as a hiccup. The seats fold down and I can comfortably sleep in it while traveling.  I seriously love that car!

Most Proud Achievement: Turning my life around from substance abuse and smoking a pack-a-day, to an endurance runner and Dean’s List student.

Happiest Memory: When Jen said she would move to New Mexico with me after we’d only known each other for a little over a month, back in 2012.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: To travel the world running and exploring as many places as possible.

Greatest Adventure:  Just recently my trip to Colorado with my huskies. We climbed five 14ers (Red Cloud, Sunshine Peak, Shavano, Massive, and Princeton). For less than $120 (the price of gas) we had the trip of a lifetime!


Least Liked Household Chore: Vacuuming. While the task itself isn’t so bad, it’s the tedious work of moving furniture out of the way each time. Ha-ha.

Pet Peeve(s): Loud breathing at rest.

Greatest Fear: To die without accomplishing anything meaningful or bringing any value to the human race.


Book Currently Reading: Lost in the Wild, by Cary Griffith (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

Hobbies: Hiking, sampling craft beer, growing plants, exploring, automotive repair, riding motorcycles, wildlife watching, and cooking.

Collections: Altra shoes J

What’s next: Angeles Crest 100 Mile and Mogollon Mon

travis_huskies_CO_tripTravis hanging out with his beloved adventure huskies, Shiva & Cab, at
the summit of Sunshine Peak, CO (14,006 ft.) in the San Juan Mountains.


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