Livestrong Philly 2010 Report, Part I: Fatties To The Rescue

08.26.2010 | 7:34 am

A Note from Fatty: Today’s post — a report on the 2010 Philadelphia LiveStrong Challenge — is brought to you by Philly Jenn, Co-Captain for Team Fatty Philly. A huge thanks goes out to Philly Jenn for organizing this team, and to all of Team Fatty for raising so much money and using your time and energy in the fight against cancer. Thank you.

This year, Livestrong Philly became a three-day event, with the Livestrong Village opening up on Friday for packet pickup, the 5K/10K Walk/Run taking place on Saturday, and the cycling taking place on Sunday. From an official organizing standpoint, these changes were intended to enable participants to take part in both running and biking events, and also to help ease the traffic and hotel congestion that had plagued the Philadelphia event during the past several years.

At a micro level, what it actually meant was that the Philly Fatties had the chance to spend 50% more time scooping my butt out of the dunk tank of life.

Fortunately for me, when you need a helping hand, you can count on the Fatties — generously, resourcefully, and happily — to come to the rescue.

Friday: The Prologue DayMaggi.png

Witness the efforts of Maggi, Philly Fatty Extraordinaire. First, she was kind enough to come to my house and pick up me (the carless city dweller), my bike, and a big pile of random stuff early Friday afternoon. Then she laughingly elaborated on some of the more vibrant hues in the rainbow of colorful language as we sat snarled in traffic for over an hour, with good cheer and great gusto. And finally, after we walked into the first Starbucks that appeared immediately after exiting the freeway and I discovered to my horror that I had somehow left my cellphone and wallet back at my house, she calmly picked up the tab for the first bite of food I had eaten all day, loaned me her cellphone, and whisked my going-into-meltdown hiney first to registration packet pickup, and then off to the team hotel.

Ryan.pngWhen we arrived there, we were greeted by Ryan, the Fatty who had brought himself (and his bike!) all the way from Hawaii to be a part of Livestrong Philly.

Maggi and I explained my discombobulated state, and the still-pressing need to prep for the following day’s Team Fatty Feed. Ryan uttered the magic words, “I can get us into Costco,” and we were off — me on a commuter train back to the city to salvage my electro-magnetic identity, Maggi and Ryan to Costco to round up provisions for dozens of hungry Fatties.

By the time I managed to get in and back out of Philadelphia, mass quantities of food had been purchased and stored, night had fallen, and everyone was ravenous: Maggi and Ryan, plus fellow Fatties Tommy (Ryan’s roommate, of fame, fresh off the drive up from Georgia) and Jennie (she of the mighty Pikachu-mobile).


They picked me up from the train station and we rolled into Ray’s, a nearby 24-hour diner-and-malt shop. Between us, I think we put away three milkshakes, over a dozen eggs, and something like a small farmhouse worth of other edibles. Though I could have sworn a tractor was required to haul me away by then, Maggi whisked all five of us back to the hotel in her magically capacious Honda Fit and dropped us off before making her way home.

Before crashing out for the night, I put in a pair of extended-wear contact lenses and donned my running clothes. Puzzled, Ryan asked why I had just gotten dressed before going to sleep. I explained that I was even more incoherent early in the morning than the sorry spectacle he had already witnessed that day, so it was easier to just wake up, throw on my running shoes (with their non-tying, elastic laces), and go. I insisted that sleeping in race-day clothes was a reasonable, even somewhat commonplace practice. After polling dozens of people on Twitter and finding that they were all just as surprised as he was, Ryan gently broke the news to me later in the weekend — I am a freak.

But at least the next morning I would be a freak with 20/20 visibility and socks on both my feet.

201008260716.jpg Saturday AM: Beginning A Day On The Run

Longtime readers of this site will know that the Fatty-In-Chief can knock out a marathon with about six weeks of training. The rest of us mere mortals have to work our way up to running greater distances over longer periods of time, and I needed to log a little over 14 miles of running on Saturday as part of the training plan for my first-ever marathon (Marines Corps! Ooo-rah!) at the end of October. I was hoping to run from the hotel to the starting area of the Livestrong 5K/10K, find the Fatties in the staging area, run the 10K, then run back to the hotel. Given the slow pace at which I was covering ground, this would mean I was MIA for much of the morning.

Which is where super Fatty Penina (who is actually quite petite), stepped in and took charge. Penina’s family, despite having absolutely zero fundraising requirements as walk/run participants, had collectively brought in a huge chunk of change for Team Fatty. On Saturday, Penina was armed with Fatty logo stickers for all everyone to wear, her daughters held up signs to help Fatties gather, and they were able to round up a big brace of Fatties for a group photo before the start — all while Penina was preparing to run her first-ever 10K. Hats off to the Scullion clan for Fattifying the Livestrong Walk/Run!


I made it to the staging area just in time to hear Jessy Kyle, a three-time Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, sing a stunning a cappella rendition of the national anthem.

Once they released us through the chute and we were on the gently winding course, I spotted Jennie and ran with her until we reached the point where the 5K and 10K courses split. The 10K course took us past some pleasantly landscaped and well-manicured neighborhoods, and even past some horse farms. When I saw the horses ambling around in their paddock, I imagined that we were having a dialogue about forward locomotion.

Me: I aspire to run like you, so gracefully and effortlessly. What is your secret?

Horses: O, little Clydesdale, it helps if your thighs do not touch.

For much of later part of the course, I ran with Julius, a friend of Maggi’s who was also participating in his first official 10K event. Julius told me about how he had recently taken up running, and how his training schedule was leading next to a half-marathon, then culminating in the Philly Marathon later this fall. We chatted about how our watch readouts compared to the mileage markers on the course, how eagerly we were looking forward to cooler weather, and just how much fun it was to be a newbie runner. Regular, mundane, everyday running stuff.

We didn’t know it then, but Julius’s life was about to take the kind of sudden turn that so many Livestrong participants know all too well. Maggi learned later in the weekend that Julius’s father had been hospitalized and would require emergency heart surgery; before the surgery could be performed, Julius’s father passed away early Monday afternoon. Maggi writes that Julius and his family are stunned and devastated. We ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

201008260718.jpg Saturday PM: Fatties, Fatties, Everywhere

After finishing the 10K, toodle-ing back to the hotel (toodle = the gear between jogging and running), and starting to feel the effects of being mildly underfueled, I was looking forward to lunch. Shortly before noon, Fatties started gathering around the grill area at the back of the team hotel. Through the magic of Fatmosis (a bunch of Fatties transporting a bunch of stuff), we soon had the makings of a full-on feed: Chips, dips, cookies, cheese, burgers, hot dogs, salad, sodapop. Christine made an emergency run down the street to help us fill in gaps in our shopping list (salad minus dressing equals “Not so much,”) and the hotel’s gas grill was manned by Doug, who kept everyone (vegetarians included!) in protein for the duration of the afternoon.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was the arrival of RayRay the Baker with this year’s cake from Cramer’s Bakery. It’s hard to imagine that last year’s cake could be equaled, but feast your eyes on this:


And here’s Ray, showing what he hath done:


And packed in every slice was the wonderful, double-decker chocolately goodness that we have come to know and love.

Jenni brought handmade hula hoops (JenniHoops!) in Team Fatty colors for us to take out on a whirl.



When it was all over, we had made serious inroads into the cake, but the salad was virtually untouched. Draw your own conclusions.

201008260723.jpg Later in the day, several Fatties drove in a caravan from the team hotel to the Fundraising Appreciation Dinner. Amid the hubbub of a cocktail hour and buffet dinner, one of the big highlights of my evening was having the chance to finally meet Marc Mandeville, who helmed M-Power to this year’s Team Champion Award, as well as meeting several warm, charming members of his family. Marc, a husband and father of three adorable young children who teaches here in the area at Episcopal Academy, was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer two-and-a-half years ago. He’s been fighting back on all cylinders, and managed to lead his team to victory this year even while he was undergoing a fresh round of treatment this spring and summer. M-Power was Team Fatty’s chief rival this season in Philadelphia, but only in the most positive sense: we brought out the best in each other. Marc exemplifies everything great about the Livestrong Challenge, and I look forward to him and his team spurring us on for seasons to come.

After dinner, the evening was emceed by John “College” Korioth, one of Lance Armstrong’s oldest friends. NFL linebacker and Travel Channel host Dhani Jones spoke with the crowd about how his life changed when his lifelong friend, Kunta Littlejohn, was diagnosed with cancer. Dhani started wearing bow ties to show his support during his friend Kunta’s cancer battle — and not only continued to wear them after Kunta was given a clear bill of health, but even founded his own neckwear line, Five Star Ties. The line includes a special golden bow tie, whose proceeds go to benefit Livestrong. You can see how dapper it looks on Kunta, Carlos (yes, THAT Carlos!), and Dhani:


201008260725.jpg There was also a Q&A session with Heidi Adams, Livestrong’s Director of Grassroots Engagement, and Lance Armstrong. Amid all the more serious topics they discussed, Lance did manage to share a brief anecdote about what it was like to be friends with College.

While the two of them were out golfing, Lance send a shot into the rough, and couldn’t seem to locate where it had landed. Exasperated, Lance turned to College and said, “Did you take my ball?”

“No,” College deadpanned. “Cancer took your ball.”

The evening closed with the screening of Team Fatty’s video for winning the Team Time Trial Award, the last of the four videos to be shown. See how many Fatties you can spot:

Then it was back to the hotel and waiting to show the video on DVD to the rest of the team. Curiously, only a couple of people showed up at Carlos’s hotel room, which we attributed to everyone’s desire for a full night’s sleep before a long day’s ride. Only when I quickly scanned my email the next morning did I discover that I had sent out an open invitation to the entire team to come see the video…with no viewing time listed. Doh!

Fatties are many wonderful things, but they are not psychic.

Otherwise, they would have known for certain what Sunday’s weather would bring…

– To Be Continued –

PS: If you haven’t entered the contest for the Intense Spider 2, outfitted with the brand-new Shimano XTR group of your choice (grand prize) — not to mention one of two $250 Twin Six shopping sprees (first prize) or a LiveStrong jersey autographed by Lance, Levi, and Bob Roll (second prize), you should go enter now. Find details on the grand prize here, and details on the other prizes here. Or you can just hop on over to my LiveStrong Challenge page and donate now.


  1. Comment by Ashley | 08.26.2010 | 8:03 am

    awesome Jen…beautiful vid, and I spotted me!

    Philly was AWESOME, can’t wait for next year…and part 2, since well…that’s all I was there for. Next year I’ll partake in all the shenanigans.

    Don’t forget to mention losing of the helmet :) or when the announcer called us really PHAT!

    Too bad I can’t run…maybe I’ll just ride the short course next year on Sat…oh, and did Lance notice that last pic? ;)

  2. Comment by NYCCarlos | 08.26.2010 | 8:25 am

    Great stuff Jen. Loved hanging out with all the fatties. See you all in MY stomping grounds in November for the NYC ING Marathon.

  3. Comment by Jenni | 08.26.2010 | 8:31 am

    That might possibly be my favorite picture ever taken of me.
    Thanks for the hoop love!!

  4. Comment by Erin | 08.26.2010 | 9:05 am

    Hawaii? Incredible.

  5. Comment by asmathews (Alex) | 08.26.2010 | 9:22 am

    The video came out great, and I’m not just saying that because there is a picture of me in it ;-). Thank you Philly Jen for doing such an excellent job, as well as a thank you to all the Team Fatty members that made the weekend so memorable yet again.

  6. Comment by Susan Helene Gottfried | 08.26.2010 | 9:39 am

    Penina’s been a very good friend of mine for eons now. I’d have been surprised if she hadn’t come through so brilliantly in the end.

    Maybe you guys will be able to drag me over to that end of the state to join you next year. Except… I can’t run. But I can eat cake!

  7. Comment by Penina | 08.26.2010 | 9:55 am

    I came to give a big thanks to Jen for being so kind in her write up, and to the even more petite and amazing Cheryl L. for staying with me every step of the way in the 10K, but am laughing to the point of tears seeing my Metallica buddy Susan (and a great author to boot) post.
    COME AND EAT CAKE WITH US…and you can ride your bike too…I might need a buddy for that one .

  8. Comment by KK | 08.26.2010 | 10:02 am

    Great write-up. The feed on Saturday was a lot of fun. The food was tasty and abundant, Ray’s cake was delicious and made me feel more abundant, and I successfully hula-hooped, which made up for all those hooping fail moments of my youth. Best of all was connecting and reconnecting with fellow Fatties — what a solid group.

    Those interested in more pictures can see many on the Team Fatty Philly group on Facebook, at Kevin K’s photo site and at my Picassa site (the link to that is in the Philly area of the Fat Cyclist Forum.

  9. Comment by Maggi | 08.26.2010 | 10:13 am

    Susan, I can’t run, either. It’s more like PhillyJen’s pace — toodle, between a jog and a run. Except for when I’m walking. Hey, it’s called INTERVAL TRAINING, people! Interval. Training. (Not “wow, Maggi’s a wimp.”)

    Also, the ability to eat cake just means you’re a better fit for the team!

    It was an amazing, inspiring, humbling weekend. At one point, Ryan (the one from Hawai’i!) said something along the lines of, “It really brings home the fact that inspiration and despair are two sides of the same coin”, and that is so true. For example, PhillyJen inspires me with her commitment, drive, and cyborg-like ability to remember names and faces; but I did feel despair on Friday, when we were scrambling to reunite her with her wallet and cell phone!

    Joking aside, Philly Team Fatty ROCKS. I had a great weekend, and came home with an actual sense of sadness that I didn’t get more time with these excellent people.

  10. Comment by AngieG | 08.26.2010 | 10:20 am

    Philly Jen and Team Fatty Philly- You all are truly amazing people!!!

    I love the write up and can’t wait for Chapter 2. Having first hand exposure to the comet known as “Philly Jen” I am not surprised at all that she made sure every one of you enjoyed your Livestrong experience, or that she dressed for her run the night before, or that she forgot her phone and wallet, and through all of this with that infectious smile that is always there.

    Congrats Team Fatty Philly!!!

  11. Comment by Cheryl L. | 08.26.2010 | 10:34 am

    As a Philly Team Fatty and Livestrong challenge first-timer, I wasn’t prepared for how amazing the weekend would be. It was truly awesome and inspiring to see everyone come together to support one another and support such a great cause. I agree with Maggi that it was sad there wasn’t enough time to spend with such excellent people. Philly Jen, thanks for all you did to organize the team and the get together on Saturday and to Maggi and Ryan for stepping up and getting the food. Penina, the 10K seemed to fly by because I enjoyed running with you and seeing the beautiful scenery. Can’t wait to participate again next year!

  12. Comment by Ryan M. Suenaga, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. | 08.26.2010 | 11:11 am

    I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Team Fatty Philly was beyond awesome, I <3 my roommate Tommy, my teammate Maggi, my captain Jen, and the rest of Team Fatty. The ride on Sunday almost killed me, but I will have my revenge on it.

  13. Comment by Doug (WAY upstate NY) | 08.26.2010 | 12:12 pm

    Beautiful weather….on Saturday.

    Philly was a lot of fun. I was hugely luck to get tot he dinner on Saturday night (because of the awesomeness of the team). That dinner is something I will never forget. I loved seeing the videos and meeting people.

    The Fatty Feed shows that you can have a strong virtual community. It was like we all new each other.

    More on the ride tomorrow with part 2……

  14. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.26.2010 | 12:25 pm

    Jen – Seriously? You wore your running attire to bed?


    I am such a dullard – I just slavishly lay my stuff out the night before, then lose a little sleep wondering if I laid everything out, then lose a little more sleep getting up in enough time to put it on.

    I have been shown a more efficient way. Me, an efficiency-worshiping engineer. Humbled by greatness.

  15. Comment by Gregg | 08.26.2010 | 12:28 pm

    I saw your crew out there and it was inspiring and amazing to see. Amazing support, and seeing the solidarity of Team Fatty was impressive. The announcer gave a huge shout out to Team Fatty and of course the man behind Fat Cyclist! I’m pretty jealous with the love going on with Team Fatty, but with the amount of money you raise in the effort, it’s clearly deserved! What a fantastic example to the rest of us chubs. Nice work!

  16. Comment by Shawn | 08.26.2010 | 2:20 pm

    Awesome! Go Team Fatty Philly!

  17. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 08.26.2010 | 2:58 pm

    Fantastic post Jenn! Sounds like a true FC weekend and it give me a big smile to be able to live vicariously through your writing.

  18. Comment by Bryan | 08.26.2010 | 3:05 pm

    My family/business have been active in the “relay for life” for many years, but this was my first Livestrong event and the first time for Team Fatty too! It was an incredible event and I met many of the team on the ride, but now that I have the lay of the land I am looking forward to ALL of the Fatty festivities! What a great group and a fantastic time!

  19. Comment by Lindsey | 08.26.2010 | 3:31 pm

    I’ve totally wore my running clothes to bed before. Especially when I’m really nervous about a race, I get no sleep and I’m very forgetful in the morning.

    And dude, Carlos is hot.

  20. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 08.26.2010 | 4:16 pm

    To Captain Jenn and Team Philly – you are all an inspiration.
    A great write up of what sounds like was a fantastic event.

  21. Comment by Lori Scheel | 08.26.2010 | 5:42 pm

    Nice work, Philly Jenn. You could do this and make millions at it like Fatty…or maybe he just raises millions ;) Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    P.S. I have been known to sleep in my work out wear…

  22. Comment by Carl | 08.26.2010 | 6:00 pm

    Can’t wait for part 2. What a great weekend seeing everyone. Thanks Philly Jen for all your hard work.

  23. Comment by Joel P. | 08.26.2010 | 6:31 pm

    I think I said it a million times and will probably say it a million more. I am proud to have been a member of the Team Fatty Philly family this year. You guys are truly amazing people and thank Philly Jen for all you do. I plan on a return trip next year and may even try the JenniHoops.
    Joel P.

  24. Comment by ChefJT | 08.26.2010 | 7:03 pm


    i know you’ve learned first hand how awesome Jen is, but let me ring that bell again. The communication is incredible, her spirit is infectious and she just has a way of making you smile. We couldn’t have had a better leader if you lived in Philly yourself! She’s as Awesome as you are.

    Jen, thanks again for coordinating such a great event. Now if we could just work on the weather next year………..

  25. Comment by Justin | 08.26.2010 | 7:14 pm

    Where’d that guy get that awesome Phillies cycling cap?

  26. Comment by Paul L | 08.26.2010 | 8:19 pm

    That Phillies hat is not so awesome if you’re a Mets fan :)

    Seriously, this was my first Livestrong event and as a first time Fatty I can’t give enough props to Philly Jen and all the other Fatties for making the whole weekend so inspiring. You are all amazing. I can’t wait to get back on the bike course next year.

  27. Pingback by 2011 Team Fatty Philly Recaps | shevdog`s Xlog | 08.26.2010 | 10:15 pm

    [...] Philly 2010 Report, Part I: Fatties To The Rescue: This entry was posted in articles, media and tagged articles, livestrong, Philly, posts, [...]

  28. Comment by AK_Chick | 08.26.2010 | 11:20 pm

    LOVE the Team Philly Fatty report! I think we need to have Jen write guest blogs! She’s awesome. Loved reading about all the camaraderie. I admit I’ve been waffling on Austin. Not for the fundraising but for the airfare and hotel costs. I wanted my hubby to go, but think that due to costs, it would be just me. I need to get with the program and decide soon though! Reports like this sure make me want to go! We’ve had the worst summer ever weatherwise so it would be nice to have some warm sunny weather.

  29. Comment by Jenn | 08.27.2010 | 1:36 am

    I laughed, I cried. Awesome report and spectacular video. Way to go Philly Jen and all of Team Fatty Philly. Team Fatty Philly…say that three times fast.

  30. Comment by Jenn | 08.27.2010 | 2:23 am

    Also, Jen – when I taught 0600 spin class, I slept in everything but my shoes and set the alarm for exactly four minutes before I had to leave the house. I wave my freak flag proudly.

  31. Comment by Lori Ann Iannotti | 08.27.2010 | 7:36 am

    Dear Philly Jenn,

    I am a cousin of Marc Mandeville. My boyfriend and I took part this year in the Livestrong challenge in Philly traveling from little Rhody. He just recently stumbled upon your blog. The words that you wrote about your “rival” team, M-power were so beautifully written. I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend the fundraising appreciation dinner. All of the people who were in that room had worked together for a cause we all believed in. Like you had said in the blog, we were rivals in only a positive way. I just wanted to say fantastic job Team Fatty!! I look forward to sharing the road with you next year in Philly!!

    Health and Happiness,
    Lori Ann Iannotti

  32. Comment by Keith | 08.27.2010 | 9:02 am

    Fatty…It doesn’t surprise me that you are a fan of Chelsey……………

  33. Comment by MattC | 08.27.2010 | 9:32 am

    I’m a day late (and a dollar short) cuz I was CRAZY busy yesterday (pesky work!)…but wanted to toss in my 2 cents worth for the amazing job you did Team Philly, and what an AWESOME writeup Jen! I’ve been holding my breath waiting for part II!

    Yep…still holding…turning blue here…Fatty?? Jen?? Don’t leave me hanging…

  34. Comment by Alyson | 08.27.2010 | 10:46 am

    Philly Jen ~ YOU ROCK GIRL!!!! Cannot wait for #2!!

  35. Comment by Fifth Column | 08.27.2010 | 11:16 am

    Man, I wish I had raised enough money to go to the dinner, too. I still have a bone to pick with Dhani about a certain deflected-pass-to-87-yard touchdown during the Bengals v. Broncos game last year…

  36. Comment by skippy | 08.27.2010 | 12:12 pm

    FATTY your “donation” site knows i am going to win so will not allow me to Donate !!

    When asked for state i hit “Not in USA” and i get rejected! Of course i am using a Visa DEBIT card as well to “Donate $20″ so whether we solve this problem today the money will still be available !

    THE bike will be given to the British charity “MacMillan Nurses” as a Prize for their “Fundraisings”! You may remember from my blog that i got John Kerry to autograph an item to them at St Etienne in the 2005 ITT at the TDF !

    Well as Malcolm Fraser Said one time “Life was not meant to be easy( locked out of his room in atlanta some years ago, i think was the story)” !

    HOPE the bike goes to a worthier cause !

  37. Comment by Jennie | 08.27.2010 | 12:22 pm

    Friday night’s chocolate malt was a total win- one of the many reasons Philly Jenn totally rocks: she introduced us to Ray’s Diner :) ice cream= happiness

    I think she may also have inspired me to take up running again- next year I’ll try being less lazy and actually do the full 10K. I might even train for it. :)

    Really all of Team Fatty was great- I was a bit worried about driving up all on my own to my first ever bike event in an unknown town (with omg my first ever hills!) far from home without really knowing anyone. But as soon as I met another member of Team Fatty suddenly totally not on my own… and that happened fast- like, they lay in wait to ambush me in the parking lot before I even got to my hotel room!

    Thanks all- it was a blast!

  38. Comment by DCNewbie | 08.27.2010 | 1:07 pm

    Fatty — If we choose to make our donation anonymous, do you get the necessary info for the raffle? Or must we scroll our name to be in the raffle?

  39. Comment by Uphillbattle | 08.28.2010 | 4:55 pm

    Philly Jen, your conversation with the horse is priceless! I so resemble that remark!
    Me: I aspire to run like you, so gracefully and effortlessly. What is your secret?
    Horses: O, little Clydesdale, it helps if your thighs do not touch.
    Thanks for all you do!

  40. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Winners Announced, More Prizes Coming, More Reasons to Join Team Fatty | 08.31.2010 | 11:14 am

    [...] am also — especially after reading Philly Jen’s incredible 2-part story (part 1 here, part 2 here) — really bummed I couldn’t make it to Philly for the LiveStrong [...]

  41. Comment by Women's Running Clothing | 09.2.2010 | 1:01 pm

    That looks like it was a huge event in Philly.

  42. Comment by livestrong cycling jersey | 10.24.2010 | 12:10 pm

    THE bike will be given to the British charity “MacMillan Nurses” as a Prize for their “Fundraisings”! You may remember from my blog that i got John Kerry to autograph an item to them at St Etienne in the 2005 ITT at the TDF !

  43. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Ryan Suenega: Farewell | 04.25.2011 | 4:33 pm

    [...] reminded me that Ryan was instrumental in the success of Team Fatty-Philly last year. Other people have emailed me as well, expressing sadness at Ryan’s loss. Kelly K [...]


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