2019 Black Squirrel Half Pre-Race Details

All information relevant to the 7th running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon is available on the race website. Here are a few final details and reminders.

Registration is still open! As of right now, a dozen spots are available. If those are not claimed by the close of online registration tonight, we will offer late registration at Packet Pickup.

The current weather forecast is showing a race-day high in the low 80s, with race-start temps in the low 60s, rising to low 70s by 9:00a and mid 70s by 10:00a, with partly cloudy skies. It will be on the warm side, so please make sure you have adequate carrying capacity for your hydration needs between aid stations. Water cups will not be provided at the aid stations.

The three race aid stations will be stocked with water and V-Fuel sports drink. The Arthur’s aid station – visited twice – will also carry snacks and fruit.

Packet pickup will be available on Friday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running located at 150 E Harmony Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80525 (northeast corner of College and Harmony). We will be distributing bib numbers, timing chips, race T-shirts, Justin Liddle DMD toothbrushes & toothpaste, and coupons from Great Harvest Bread Co.

You can pick up your friends’ shirt and bib IF you show a copy of their registration confirmation (on phone or printout)

We will also have additional Gnar Runners and Black Squirrel merchandise for sale (or distribution if you pre-ordered). Salomon Running will also be in store demoing their latest shoe line-up.

Packet pickup will also be available on race morning from 5:30am to 6:45am.

During in-store packet pickup, Altitude Running will be offering 10% off in-store purchases and 15% off Salomon purchases, or spend over $200 and get 20% off.

The race will start promptly at 7:00am. There will be a short pre-race briefing at 6:50am. Late arrivals will need to walk up to a mile to the start from the overflow parking at the Eltuck Picnic area, so we recommend getting to Lory State Park no later than 6:00am if you need to check in on race morning.

Parking at the Soldier Canyon start/finish area (limited to 50-60 cars) is reserved for carpools of two or more race entrants. All other cars will be directed to park on the Lodgepole loop road or at the Timber trailhead lot. If you can, please arrange a carpool with friends – or try the Fort Collins Trail Runner Facebook pageParking passes will be handed out at the park entrance when you arrive. Please place on your dash so they are visible to park staff. 

Bibs must be visible from the front. Please do not remove your pull tag until you finish. Bib numbers can be found here.

Everyone will receive 2 Timing Chips, which need to be attached to each of your shoes. Do not bend, fold or tuck the chips under your laces, and please return your timing chips at the finish line.

Dogs are welcome on leash with family and friends at the start/finish area, but we ask that you not run with your dog during the race.

Please pocket any trash and dispose of it at aid stations or at the start/finish.

Trails are open to the public. Watch for bikers and yield to horses and hikers.

We will have a free 1 mile kids race/run beginning at 10:30 from the start/finish area.

After your finish, stick around for our post race party and Great Harvest pancakes plus sausage and bacon. In addition to fruit, soft drinks and other trimmings, we’ll have cookies from Mary’s Mountain Cookies and brews from New Belgium Brewing. Please be prepared to show ID if planning to enjoy a post-race beer.

Additional post-race food and beer for family and friends can be purchased for a $10 cash donation, if not already purchased with registration.

All finishers will receive a commemorative pint glass. And we’ll be giving out unique overall and age group awards to the top three finishers (male and female) in the following categories: Overall, Under 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+. We’ll also have sponsor gear and goodies to raffle off during and after the awards.

Salomon Running will be demoing shoes for runners to try out after the race, and we’ll be giving away Salomon packs to our top male and female finishers.

Massage and PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion and Diane Bergstedt. If you’re having foot issues, be sure to see Ultrapodiatrist Dr. Mike at the finish. UCHealth will also be on hand at the finish to take care of bumps, bruises or any other health concerns.

Thank you to our very generous top sponsors: Salomon Running, Colorado in Motion, Justin Liddle DMDAltitude Running, Countryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club for their support in helping make this event possible.

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. Please consider supporting these businesses who support the race.

If you have questions that are not answered here or on the website, then please email us at racedirector@gnarrunners.com. We will do our level best to respond in a timely manner.

We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday morning!

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A Recap of the 2019 Never Summer 100km

Seven Utes looking south to Rocky Mountain National Park and the Never Summer Range. Photo: Jeff Black

The fifth running of the Never Summer 100km was another one for the record books. Once again we saw a new course record in the men’s race (as we have at every running of the race), in addition to a number of age-group records. And not only did we have a full field of runners, but we’re also pretty sure we had a record number of volunteers who again came out en masse to help competitors reach their goals. Congratulations runners and thank you volunteers

The weather is always a potential factor through the course of a high altitude mountain race, and while welcome cool temperatures prevailed for most of the day at this fifth running of the race, intense afternoon thunderstorms produced hail and heavy rains. The moisture made for challenging conditions for all runners both in terms of regulating body temperatures and also in negotiating particularly muddy late-race trails, factors that lead to one of our lowest ever finisher rates. Whether you finished or not, we would like to offer a hearty congratulations to all runners that got out there and braved the elements.

When it was all said and done, 220 (165 men, 55 women) of the race’s 318 starters (231 men, 87 women) beat the race’s cut-offs and the adverse weather conditions to make it back to the Gould Community Center within 24 hours. This represents a 69 percent finisher rate (71 percent men, 63 percent women). Of those finishers, 28 joined – or renewed their membership in – the Sunset Club by making it home without the use of a headlamp (15.5 hours). This includes three new female inductees – Sabrina Stanley, Megan Arauzo, and Amber Pougiales – who join Alyson Kirk, Heidi Sauerland, Addie Bracy, Clare Gallagher and Kristi Knecht in the exclusive club. And one runner, Danny Bundrock, made it five for five with his 13:38 ninth place finish.

Danny Bundrock batting .1000 after five years of the Never Summer 100km. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

But of course, no matter how far along the course you got, or indeed at what time you finished, we sincerely hope you enjoyed your experience in the beautiful mountains of Northern Colorado.

Runners Traversing from North Diamond, the race high point, on their way to the Montgomery Aid Station. Photo: Eric Lee

Race Results

Race Photos


Hannes Gehring above Kelly Lake on his way to the win and new course record. Pic: Terry Grenwelge
Sabrina Stanley enjoying the early miles around Lake Agnes on her way to winning the 2019 women’s race. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

In the men’s race Hannes Gehring from Denver took home top honors, becoming only the second runner to finish in under 12 hours, setting a new course record (by 40 seconds) of 11:47:06 in the process. He was followed home by Seth Wealing (12:07:57) from Boulder, CO who posted the race’s third fastest time ever, in addition to a new master’s record. And rounding out the men’s podium was Mathew Urbanski, also from Boulder, who came home in 13:02:10.

In the women’s race, Hardrock 100 champ Sabrina Stanley led from pillar to post in running the race’s second fastest time ever in the women’s division (13:46:47), while finishing fifth in the overall 2019 field. She was followed home almost an hour later by Megan Arauzo (14:45:07) from Nevato, CA, with Denver’s Amber Pougiales (15:22:22) rounding out the women’s podium. Megan and Amber recorded the race’s fifth and eighth fastest finishes ever.

A fast year all around!

Tara Carter on her way to Clear Lake and a new masters record. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

As noted above, the men’s master’s record was convincingly reset by second-place finisher Seth Wealing. And we also saw a new record on the women’s side. Tara Carter followed up on her master’s record-setting run from Quad Rock in May with a Never Summer run for the record books (16:07:57) as she continued her quest towards completing the 2019 Gnar Slam.

Seth Wealing cruising Lake Agnes on his way to a second place finish and new masters record. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

In the grandmasters division (50+), it was California’s Daniel Kono who took home top honors in a time of 14:41:16. Daniel’s time was also good for a new division record, especially impressive coming from sea level. For the women, it was Prescott, AZ’s Carol Northrup bringing home the grandmaster’s hardware in a time of 21:35:52. 

In recognition of the challenge that the course presents to all runners, we also give out a Final Finisher award for the runner that shows the most dogged persistence in being out there the longest. We were delighted to be able to hand off that award to Denver’s Rachel Meier who beat the 24-hour buzzer by just under 10 minutes. 

We also like to make sure that we recognize our volunteers appropriately at the post-race breakfast awards ceremony by giving out the Never Summer Trail Boss award. While this award is given to one person who has shown particular dedication to the race, it is offered in the spirit of a broader recognition of the whole volunteer team who come together before, during and after the race. This year, we were honored to recognize Gnar Team member Elijah Flenner as our 2019 Trail Boss for his services clearing trail, hauling gear up and down the canyon for weeks prior to the race, staffing the Montgomery aid station, course marking and leading numerous training runs on the course in the lead up to the race.

As always, the volunteer support that we received for the event was – quite frankly – outstanding, and testimony to the special place the mountains of Northern Colorado hold in the hearts of the local outdoors community. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Canadian Aid Station Captain, Cindy Stonesmith, getting in some 20lb curls while Getting Stuff Done. Pic: Eric Lee
Canadian Aid at dusk. Pic: Jeff Black
Search and Rescue and radio communications at the race high point. Pic: Jeff Black

And a special thank you to:

  • The Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club and their team of ham radio operators all of whom went above and beyond in ensuring that we had radio contact from every aid station on course, in addition to between medical and park staff.
  • State Forest State Park (SFSP) and their incredible staff of park rangers. We have received nothing but enthusiasm from SFSP in the years of planning and executing this event, and their professionalism on race weekend was second to none.
  • The Fort Collins Trail Runners. Though completely informal in affiliation, this group of trail running enthusiasts has been the backbone of the Gnar Runners operation from its inception. A continued Thank You to you all.
  • Poudre Valley Hospital’s team of medical professionals for going above and beyond in coordinating our emergency medical plans.
  • The Gould Community Association for their support and the use of the Gould Community Center.

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

Top tier support from:

Salomon
Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running
Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist
Countryside Animal Hospital
Fort Collins Running Club

Generous product support from:
VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, and the Great Harvest Bread Company.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2020. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events. On September 7 we’ll be hosting the seventh running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 19 by the 12th running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

And remember, if you finish all four events in the calendar year you become a Gnar Slammer and receive an end-of-season award in addition to free entry into the 2020 Quad Rock 25 or 50 mile race. We will be updating our Gnar Slam page this week, with a list of all those in contention for the 2019 Slam. 

Thank you all!

Jeff Black
Jeff Black
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2018 Black Squirrel Half Marathon Pre-race Details

All information relevant to the 6th running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon is available on the race website. Here are a few final details and reminders.

The current weather forecast is showing a race-day high in the mid 80s. Please make sure you have adequate carrying capacity for your hydration needs between aid stations. Water cups will not be provided at the aid stations.

The three race aid stations will be stocked with water and V-Fuel sports drink. The Arthur’s aid station – visited twice – will also carry snacks and fruit.

Packet pickup will be available on Friday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running located at 150 E Harmony Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80525 (northeast corner of College and Harmony). We will be distributing bib numbers, race T-shirts, Squirrels Nut Butter samples, Justin Liddle DMD toothbrushes, and will have additional Gnar Runners and Black Squirrel merchandise for sale. 

Packet pickup will also be available on race morning from 5:15am to 6:30am.

The race will start promptly at 7:00am. There will be a short pre-race briefing at 6:50am.

Late arrivals will need to walk up to a mile to the start from the overflow parking at the Eltuck Picnic area, so we recommend getting to Lory State Park no later than 6:00am if you need to check in on race morning.

Parking at the Soldier Canyon start/finish area (limited to 50-60 cars) is reserved for carpools of two or more runners. All other cars will be directed to park on the Lodgepole loop road or at the Timber trailhead lot. If you can, please arrange a carpool with friends – or try the Fort Collins Trail Runner Facebook page

Parking passes will be handed out at the park entrance when you arrive.

Bibs must be visible from the front. Please do not remove your pull tag.

Dogs are welcome on leash with family and friends at the start/finish area, but we ask that you not run with your dog during the race.

Please pocket any trash and dispose of it at aid stations or at the start/finish.

Trails are open to the public. Watch for bikers and yield to horses and hikers.

We will have a free 1 mile kids race/run beginning at 10:30 from the start/finish area.

After your finish, stick around for our post race party and Great Harvest pancake breakfast. In addition to fruit, soft drinks and other trimmings, we’ll have cookies from Mary’s Mountain Cookies and Fat Tire beer (3.2) from New Belgium Brewing.

Additional post-race food and beer for family and friends can be purchased for a $10 cash donation to our post-race beneficiary, the CSU Food & Nutrition Club, if not already purchased with registration.

For post-run entertainment, the Swashbuckling Doctors will be serving up their unique brand of Fort Collins Ska.

Salomon Running will be demoing shoes for runners to try out after the race, and we’ll be giving away Salomon packs to our top male and female finishers.

All finishers will receive a commemorative pint glass. And we’ll be giving out unique overall and age group awards to the top three finishers (male and female) in the following categories: overall, under 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+. We’ll also have sponsor gear and goodies to raffle off during and after the awards.

Massage and PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion, Diane Bergstedt and Kristel Liddle.

Thank you to our very generous top sponsors: Salomon Running, Colorado in Motion, Justin Liddle DMD, Drymax SocksAltitude Running, Countryside Animal Hospital, JAX Mercantile, and the Fort Collins Running Club for their support in helping make this event possible.

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. Please consider supporting these businesses who support the race.

If you have questions that are not answered here or on the website, then please email us at racedirector@gnarrunners.com. We will do our level best to respond in a timely manner.

We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday morning!


Top Tier Sponsors

Salomon Drymax Socks 
Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club 

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A Muddy Quad Rock 2018 – Post Race Wrap

May is an unpredictable month here in Northern Colorado, and once again the weather played a role at the 2018 Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races. After enjoying (and suffering through) toasty conditions in 2017, this year we were served up a wet, cool day which left the trails uncharacteristically muddy (see below for a note on trail work). Nonetheless, the day produced a commanding new course record in the men’s 25 mile race and fast winning times in both the 50 mile races and also the women’s 25 mile race. In addition, we saw record finisher numbers in the 50 miler and a whole host of wonderful finishes across our full field of runners. 

Overall, we saw 196 runners start the 50 mile race and 223 start the 25 mile race for a total of 419 runners on course. Of the 196 runners that started the 50 mile race, a record 142 completed the full two loops for a 72 percent finisher rate. A total of 267 runners finished the 25 mile race or the first 25 mile loop of the 50 miler (all are included in the final 25 mile results). 


Trail Work Day

The race this year was held on unusually muddy trails. Sections of some of the lower trails saw some trail damage as a result. We are currently in discussions with managers at both Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park to arrange a trail work day, which we hope to make an annual ‘Trail Runner Trail Work Day’. We will make announcements as we have them on dates and times. 


Race Action

Jackson Brill was flying.

In the men’s 25 mile race, Jackson Brill – just 19 years of age – took control of the race in the early going and was able to maintain a two- to three-minute lead over Chris Mocko for the full loop, coming home in a new course record of 3:13:06. Mocko would also dip under Mike Aish’s 2016 course record on his way to finishing second (3:15:56). On a quick day all around, Quincy O’Connor rounded out the podium in a time that ranked eighth all time (3:26:52).

In the women’s 25 mile race former champion, Ginna Ellis, led it out from the gun and came very close to holding her lead all the way to the finish. However, Abigail Levene was just too good on the final Timber descent, passing Ginna with a couple of miles to go and beating her to the finish by less than a minute. Abigail’s 4:05:01 finish time ranks second all time (closely followed by Ginna’s winning time from 2016). Castle Rock’s Corrine Shalvoy rounded out the podium in a time of 4:17:35.

Abigail Levene on her way to winning the 25 mile race.



Masters (40-49) wins in the 25 mile race went to Longmont’s Tim Fahy (4:24:25) and Boulder’s Kelly McConnell (4:54:09). Our grandmaster’s (50+) winners were Blaise Brochard (4:36:35) from New York and Marianne Osteen (5:33:49) from Steamboat Springs.

In the women’s 50 mile race, it was a close run thing between two decorated names in the

Addie Bracy, 50 mile champion

sport. Michele Yates was named Ultrarunner of the Year in 2013 by Ultrarunning Magazine, while Addie Bracy has made her name in the trail running world over shorter distances, twice having won the US Mountain Running Championships and last year being named US Mountain Runner of the Year. It was the more seasoned ultrarunner, Yates, who took control of things on the opening 25 mile lap, before being caught and passed on the way out from the 25 mile turnaround. Bracey would go on to build and consolidate a lead during the second lap, ultimately finishing in 8:51:18, 13 minutes ahead of Yates in second. For Bracey it was just her second 50-mile finish as she gets ready for the Leadville 100 in August. Esther Erbe came home in third (10:22:54) in what was – impressively – a first ever ultramarathon finish for the Texas resident.

In the men’s 50 mile race, it was another relative newcomer to the sport, Jimmy Elam,

Jimmy Elam, 50 Mile Champ

who would take top honors. In his first 50 miler, Elam ran like a seasoned veteran tracking early leaders Bobby Peavey, Aaron Robson, Gavin Coombs, Oliver Knauer and Frank Pipp around the opening 25 mile loop before opening up a gap on the second loop and holding onto it in commanding fashion. Elam registered the third fastest finish ever (7:40:25) on his way to besting Frank Pipp (8:07:41) and Oliver Knauer (8:29:21) for second and third. 

 

In the master’s division, Gnar Runners Team member Elijah Flenner (8:43:59) defended his title finishing an impressive fourth overall, while Vermont’s Alexandra Ambros (10:50:14) took home top honors for the master’s women – also registering an impressive fourth place overall. 

Thank You

As always, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our team of wonderful volunteers. Year after year we receive heaping compliments from our runners about how fantastic our volunteer team is, and they are absolutely right. Come rain (this year) or shine (last year), you guys are out there getting the job done and helping our runners get to the finish line safely. Thank You!

In a cloud the whole day, the Towers team and all our volunteers rocked!

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

SalomonDrymax SocksAltitude Running                            Justin Liddle DMD ProsthodontistCountryside Animal HospitalFort Collins Running Club

With generous product support from: VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, Great Harvest Bread Company, the Fort Collins Food Coop, Squirrels Nut Butter, and Boulder Organic!

Thank you all!

And A Great Day for the Gnar Team!!!

50 Milers
Elijah Flenner: 4th Male (1st Master), 8:43
Kris Tyson: 9th Male, 9:07
Rob Raguet-Schofiled: 16th Male, 9:28
Ed Delosh (1st Grandmaster): 9:38
Brett Harkey: 10:28
Colleen Weitzel: 11:35
Marlin Yoder: 13:34
Shari Green: 13:42
25 Miler:
Elise McKnight: 5:43   

Next Up

We look forward to seeing you again in 2019 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you July 28 at the Never Summer 100km or at one of our shorter events. On September 8 we’ll be hosting the sixth running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 20 by the 11th running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

If you aren’t racing, consider volunteering for one of our next events. We are currently recruiting volunteers for the Never Summer 100K.

 

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Salomon S/LAB Ultra Review

Released last October, the Salomon S/LAB Ultra is a trail running shoe designed by trail runners. It incorporates many new features from the Salomon product innovators.

Local Salomon rep Ryan Lassen promotes it as “a shoe that I would 100% recommend to Quad Rock runners (along with the Sense Ride, and S/LAB Sense 6 SG)”

 

Ed DeLosh Salomon S/LAB Ultra

Ed DeLosh

Key Innovations:

Progressive Stack Height – Unique to any shoe on the market, Salomon has introduced a variable stack height for the S/Lab Ultra to help standardize the shoe’s drop and offset as it wears. As shoes compress differently across sizes, the stack height of the S/Lab Ultra increases slightly for larger shoes to ensure a standard ride for all, regardless of the size or mileage of the shoe.

Hydrophobic Materials – The S/LAB Ultra incorporates the hydrophobic material made popular in the XA Amphib. This means when the shoe gets wet, the weight hardly changes.

Energy Save – The design adds a special piece of EVA foam in the forefoot that does not pack out over time. 

Adaptive Sensifit – The shoe warms up as your foot does, allowing it to adjust the way it wraps around your foot as the race goes on and foot swell occurs.

Premium Wet Traction – The outsole retains the same lug pattern as its predecessor and uses Salomon’s stickiest rubber compound.

Gnar Team Members Testify:

Elijah Flenner – I brought one trail shoe on my five week trip to France, the S/Lab Ultra. There were no other contenders.

Ed DeLosh – I love the endofit inner sleeve and the lacing that Salomon uses. They provide for a good, stable fit and really allow you to dial it in. The outsole is just like the previous version, which I found to provide pretty good traction without feeling like you’re running on big knobby tires.
When I saw this new version, my immediate concern was that the more rigid upper could cause hot spots on long runs, and when I put them on, they definitely gave the sensation of having less give than the prior version. The shoe also has a tongue that comes up higher on the ankle, raising the concern the it’d irritate the tendons on the top of the foot. But I’m happy to say that after a couple of short runs and now a 25 miler, I experienced no issues at all, and so far find them to be a solid shoe that I enjoy running in. For me, they are an improvement over the previous version and may well be the shoe that I end up turning to for my racing this year, after I get a chance to try them out on a couple more long runs.

Salomon will be joining Gnar Runners for our Quad Rock Preview Run, April 7 at Lory State Park, with shoes to wear test. Come out for miles, fun, food and try out a new pair of kicks.

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Join us for an evening of trail talk 8/23 at Altitude Running

Do you have questions about trail running or want to learn more about the sport? Join us for a fun night of trail running discussion on August 23rd at Altitude Running. The evening will feature a Q&A discussion with a diverse panel of trail runners, beginning at 6:00pm.

The panel Q&A will be mixed in with gear giveaways from Salomon Running, Drymax Socks and other race sponsors. We will also be featuring a Black Squirrel video course preview, with time afterwards for questions and discussion specific to the route and race strategy. During the evening, enjoy a beverage or two from our friends at New Belgium Brewing. 

The panel

Cat Bradley 2017 Western States ChampionCat Bradley shot to trail and ultrarunning stardom this June when she defied the odds in winning the famed and historic Western States Endurance Run. Hear her thoughts from that day and garner tips on how to improve your race performance. 

 

Lucas Mouttet owns and operates the Never Summer Outdoor School, teaching avalanche safety and wilderness first aid. A trail runner, mountain biker and backcountry skier, Lucas is uniquely qualified to discuss any and all issues related to trail safety. 

 

Sara Callor is the store manager at Altitude Running. She ran the Pikes Peak Ascent as her first trail race some 10 years ago and returned to the trails last year to run the Black Squirrel Half. Come armed with gear questions. Sara has answers. 

 

 

Stephen PretakStephen Pretak is the current men’s champion and only person to have run under 90 minutes on the Black Squirrel course. Despite these impressive accolades, Stephen is still relatively new to trail running and sometimes feels like he’s still trying to figure it out. You’ve got questions about transitioning to the trails, he’ll come up with answers.

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