Posts Tagged by disneyland 10k

Running Coast to Coast with Jes Stern

I’m super excited to be starting a new series here on Running at Disney called Running Coast to Coast!! Last month when I was looking for contributors for Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, I had an overwhelming number of people want to write about their Coast to Coast experience.  So instead of limiting it to one story for that race weekend, I thought it would be great to hear from everyone since I’m sure all stories are very different.

Today Jes is here to kick things off with her Coast to Coast journey from Princess to Disneyland!  Not only does she have a fun story, but her costumes for all of the races are AMAZING!  Check it out…



My journey to the coveted Coast to Coast medal began before I even knew it existed in July 2013 when I signed up to be one of St. Jude’s Heroes and run the Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge. I signed up on a whim, having no worldly proof that I could run a 10k, much less a half marathon and raise $1800. At the time, I had only been training for 5ks, but this was just the motivation I needed to take my training to the next level.

Having never run a Disney race or anything longer than a 5k, I immediately began to do research online and found a bunch of great blogs like Running at Disney. While I was reading every blog I could find about runDisney races, I quickly learned about the upcoming Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare and the Coast to Coast Challenge and just knew I had to add these to my list of goals for 2014. With proper training, I knew I would be able to complete the challenge. When registration opened for Dumbo in January, I still hadn’t run the Glass Slipper Challenge yet but knew I had to sign up right away because it would sell out, so I did!

In February I headed down to Walt Disney World to run the first leg of my Coast to Coast. Growing up, my grandparents lived in Florida, so Walt Disney World was a place I got to visit quite often and I was no stranger to the heat and humidity that Florida has to offer. However, after training through one of the coldest winters I can remember in the north east, the heat and humidity really did a number on me, and I threw any time goals I had for myself out the window. My only goal now was to finish.

I got through the 10k, dressed as a St. Jude Hero version of Rapunzel and moved on to the half marathon dressed as Snow White (with a St. Jude cape, of course).

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I did it, I survived, my first half marathon was complete, and boy was I sore. I couldn’t believe I had signed up to do this again. Eventually the soreness went away and I was pumped to tackle another challenge and make my first trip to Disneyland.

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Fast forward through a couple more half marathons and triathlons to August and I was on my way to Disneyland. Also at this point, I found myself smack dab in the middle of training for the New York City Marathon, and the Disneyland Half Marathon had a very specific time range for me to meet for my training.

We arrived in Disneyland on Thursday morning and had somewhat of a less-than-magical experience, but we pressed on and headed next door to the Expo. Once we made our way downstairs at the Disneyland Hotel, I found my packet pick up spot; it was the only one without a line! Finally something was going smoothly for the day! That’s when I realized there was no slot in the book for my Coast to Coast wrist band! I asked the volunteer what to do about this and she flagged down a runDisney employee. He asked me if I was sure that I had done a race in Disney World and if I had marked off on my registration that I was participating in the Coast to Coast Challenge. I said yes, and he sent me off to wait in a line at the Runner’s Relations booth. When I made it to the front of the line, the woman at the booth asked for my identification and which race I participated in. She then looked me up in the official results and strapped that green Coast to Coast Challenge bracelet on my wrist. PHEW!

Apparently it is quite common for there to be mistakes with the Coast to Coast Challenge wristbands. If there are any mistakes from one registration to another, such as a new address, a change in name, or in my case, my birthday was a day off on one of my registrations, it won’t sync up right in the system. So if you know you’re supposed to be earning your Coast to Coast, don’t be afraid to ask if they don’t have you marked down for a wristband on packet pick up day!

We spent all day Friday in the parks and had a plan to take the 10k slow, have fun with it, and stop for pictures and then focus on a PR on Sunday at the Half Marathon.

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Everything was going according to plan, and we were about to hit the 5k pad in California Adventure.

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Right in front of Carthay Circle Restaurant, I looked down and saw the trolley tracks. I told myself “DON’T TRIP ON THOSE TRACKS!” as; I have a habit of falling down running. The next thing I knew, my foot was caught, and I was going down hard. I twisted my ankle and slammed to the ground. It seemed like slow motion as my iPhone and water bottle flew out of my hands. My arm was bleeding, my ankle was throbbing, and I sprung up from the ground. A few runners gathered around me to make sure I was okay; one told me that I had a great recovery. Two or three Disney workers tried to escort me off the course to a nurse’s station, and I refused. I wasn’t about to give up my Stitch or Dumbo medals, so I pressed on. I hobbled/jogged/walked to my worst 10k finish time ever, but I did it.

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When I got back to my hotel room, I realized my arm was in pretty bad shape, but my ankle seemed okay enough for a day in the parks, but probably not well enough to attempt that half marathon PR, so once again I was throwing my time goals out the window. Luckily, it’s a runDisney race, so even without a PR I knew I could still have a good time and get that Coast to Coast medal.

On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early and got dressed for the race.

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My leg that I had gotten stuck in the trolley tracks was doing some weird muscle spasm thing that I never had before. I’m sure it was some combination of falling, spending all day in the parks and dehydration. I made sure to fuel throughout the race and take as much water and PowerAde as possible. I loved that at the Disneyland Half there were so many spectators handing out food to the runners. It was nice to have an orange slice, red vine and a pretzel instead of just ShotBloks and water.

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I started the race out slow and got faster bit by bit. My leg wasn’t feeling the best and the muscle spasms continued, but I just kept thinking of that Coast to Coast medal waiting for me at the finish line. Then finally there it was the finish! I crossed the line just three seconds slower than at the Princess Half Marathon and collected my Disneyland Half Marathon Medal, Dumbo Double Dare Medal and most importantly the Coast to Coast Medal!

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My super speedy friend Matt had finished nearly an hour ahead of me, and my boyfriend Tim was stuck on the other side of the course with spectators, so we all agreed to meet up at the hotel room. I hobbled back to the Paradise Pier Hotel alone with my leg cramping up. I was nearly in tears from the pain, but people walking by me kept congratulating me on my Coast to Coast and that kept the tears at bay.

When I got back to the room, I took a shower and my legs was cramping up worse and worse. I downed a bottle of water with Nuun and took some Aleve and a nap. When I woke up it was time to head over to the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ for all you can eat ribs and chicken.

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Later on, we headed back to California Adventure and I did a dramatic reenactment of tripping on the trolley tracks.

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Overall, the Coast to Coast Challenge was a great experience despite a few minor set-backs. Running through Disney World and Disneyland have a lot of differences and I’m glad that I got to experience both. I can’t wait to do it again next year to earn my pink medal when I take on The Glass Slipper Challenge and The Pixie Dust Challenge!

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Jes is a full time engineer, part time toy maker and runner in training living in Maryland. She began running in 2013 after making a deal with her Dad that if she lost 30 pounds, he would get his long overdue colonoscopy. Her first half marathon was the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February 2014. Since her running journey began, she has run five half marathons, three 10ks, completed two sprint triathlons and numerous 5ks. She is currently training for the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon and Goofy Race and a Half Challenge. Follow along with her journey at or on Instagram @epictoychest.


Have you completed the runDisney Coast to Coast Challenge?  Want to share your experience?  Send me an email to to be featured on an upcoming Running Coast to Coast!!

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Running Coast to Coast and the First Time Running in Walt’s Footsteps

I’m excited to bring you this prelude to a fun new monthly series here on RAD called Running Coast to Coast!!  This week Alice is not only bringing us her Coast to Coast story, but also taking us through her first run at Disneyland…it’s so magical running through Walt’s footsteps and she has a great recap of all that magic.  Make sure to come back next week as the new series officially kicks off on Wednesday…can’t wait! 🙂


To all that come to this happy place, welcome.  Disneyland is your land.  Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.  Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America…with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.

 ~Walt Disney

I’m a west coast gal, but the Dumbo Double Dare (DDD) was my first runDisney event at Disneyland.  I love Disneyland but hadn’t been to the park since 2008 so was really excited to see the changes there.  My last event at Walt Disney World was the Glass Slipper Challenge (GSC) so I thought I might try to compare the two race weekends in which my sis, Lala, and I participated to earn our awesome Coast-to-Coast Challenge medals.


For the GSC, Lala and I stayed on Disney property at All-Star Sports. We don’t spend much time in our room and we want to keep costs to a minimum (to save up for more runDisney races!) so Value Resorts are perfect for us.  I love not having to drive on vacation, so I never rent a car and make full use of the WDW transportation system. You are able to take a Disney bus to and from your resort to the Runner’s Expo and all running events.  The WDW Expo is at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which provides plenty of room for vendors and participants – although wear your sunglasses for the walk to the convention area because the glare from the concrete is crazy! (Sarah’s note: That’s no joke!)

I am not a morning person, so getting up at 2:30 AM on WDW race mornings was not magical.   But once I put on my running costume and headed out for the bus with all of the other runners from our resort, I was starting to feel the magic.  It was great fun looking over the costumes while waiting in the very long line for the bus and the excitement was starting to build for everyone.   For the 10K my sister’s costume was Jiminy Cricket (her favorite!) and I was Cinderella Warrior Princess.  For the Half Marathon, Sis wore Beast Mode (inspired by Beauty & the Beast and the Seattle Seahawks – Go Hawks!) and I wore Super Cinderella.  I was inspired to do my versions of the Cindy costumes after I ran the Warrior Dash in 2013.



For the DDD, we stayed at an inexpensive motel on Katella Avenue (that’s the Anaheim Resort Transit Bus Route #8 – all runners receive a free ART pass for race weekend), which was about ¾’s of a mile from the Disneyland entrance on Harbor Ave. and also about the same to the race corrals and Expo in the Downtown Disney area.  I’ve been to quite a few different race expos and I have to say, the Disneyland Half/DDD Expo at DL has been my least favorite.  It felt like a maze or a quest where the prizes were our race bibs, shirts and pins.  I think one part of the Expo was in an underground parking garage.   Disneyland has much less space to work with than WDW, which factors in to several differences on the two Coasts.

At DL because there aren’t the long bus lines like at WDW, there’s an opportunity to sleep in a little on race mornings.  I slept in until 3:30!  I know some runners slept in until 4:30 or so and then trotted over for the race start but I need more time in the AM to get my cranky self up and moving.  ART busses are running on race mornings but we chose to walk-jog over to warm up.  We saw a couple of runners from our hotel, dressed as Nemo and Madame Ulanova from Fantasia (shout out to Julie!), but there wasn’t that same feeling of camaraderie and magical excitement as being with a large group at WDW.  For the DL 10K my sis and I dressed as clowns inspired by the Dumbo Bucket Brigade game at Paradise Pier and the circus from the movie.  For the Half, sis was the Stork who delivers baby Dumbo and because of a malfunction with my planned outfit (doh!) I instead went with a very simple and last minute Elsa costume.






At WDW, when you get off the bus at the race center, many people are gathered around the DJ area and dancing along for fun and to warm up.  There are also several photo ops, gear check and meet up areas.


People are mingling, taking photos of each other and having a good time even at that oh-so-early hour.  There are portapotties in this area but there are also portapotties in the corral areas.  It’s a fair walk from the race center area to the corrals but it was a good way to get focused.  People were chatting and excited for the start.  And it’s fabulous to have fireworks at the start of every corral for all Disney races!


At DL, there are the same areas with the DJ and gear check but for both the 10K and the Half, but we didn’t see people dancing along to the music and the DJ didn’t seem very involved.  I didn’t see any photo op areas other than just these signs around the light poles but I may have missed them.


The start for the Disneyland 10K was a little crowded, but not much more so than the Rock-n-Roll runs or other Disney races I’ve done.  For the 10K we were in E (which stands for Everybody Else!) and for the Half we were in H (Help Me Make It To the 1st Bathroom Stop!).  The 10K was fun and easy breezy – the Disneyland Half was a whole ’nother deal!   The other runners we saw the morning of the Half seemed intent on getting to the portapotties and then on to the corrals as soon as possible.  Boy, once we got back to the corral areas I could see why – it was a sea of sparkly-skirted, ear-hatted, polka-dotted running humanity!  I have never been bothered with claustrophobia (Mission:Space?  No problemo!) but wow, after about 20 minutes of standing shoulder-to-should, hip-to-hip and front-to-back at about smack-dab in the middle of the pack of about a gazillion other Happy Hoofers in corral H, I was ready to look for adventure in the great wide somewhere.



But giving up is for rookies, right? –  and after what seemed about 40 minutes we hit the start line.  I was never so thankful to be moving.  Even though the start for our corral wasn’t fast and furious, we saw a couple of people go down – I hope they were ok and able to finish the race.

We were spoiled by the amount of characters and photo ops along the race routes at WDW for the GSC.  Especially when you are a back-of-the-pack runner like me, abundant character stops mean that I may have a chance to stop for a few coveted pics with favorite characters




And here’s a pic of my fave sign from the Half – muggy and sticky?  You betcha!


And we loved this guy!   


But one of my very favorite moments from the Princess Half was running by the “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” area with the  music and the beautiful swooping kites.  Sometimes when I’m running in training or at another race I randomly break into that song and smile at the memory.  I’ve even heard a shout of “Princess Half!” at a race when someone recognized the song.

In the earlier corrals the runners know they have more time before the balloon ladies and the sweepers come along.  In the later corrals we know we have to keep moving so Sis and I pick only those character and photo ops that are near and dear to our hearts, and even at that if the lines are long we must skip them.  I so very much wanted a pic with Cinderella for the GSC, but alas, that was not meant to be.

There were very few character ops for back-of-the-pack runners at DDD, especially in the Half.  If I’m remembering correctly there was Elvis, Stitch with another Elvis, and TowMater.  I know there were quite a few more for the faster runners and those in the earlier corrals.  We did stop for a few pics on the course!  


However, there was great community support along the Half route and because we were having a pretty rough time of it that day – tired, hot, and frazzled by the race start – I’m not sure we would have finished ahead of the sweepers without that support.  The classic car clubs were so wonderful; clapping and encouraging us and seeing the beautiful cars was a great way to make that section go by more quickly.  Trudging through the section by “the river” was tough; I think many people felt as I did because it was very quiet, no chattering or encouraging words.  So at one point “Elsa-me” broke into a quick chorus of ‘Let It Go’ and when that was well received I led a round of M-I-C-K-EY  M-O-U-S-E!   Great support along the course also from several different Disney-themed web pages and groups, and from the Boy and Girl Scouts at the Angels stadium.  Running through there was great fun and the announcer even called my name over the PA system!


In both race weekends, running through the parks is magical – if you are a Disney lover, it is enough to put a lump in your throat and bring tears to your eyes, all the while making you want to laugh with joy like a child.





I have two upcoming race weekends at Disneyland; the Avengers Half and the Star Wars Rebel Alliance.  I know we’ll head to the corrals earlier and try for a better corral placement for Star Wars, and just be more mentally prepared for the crush of the crowd in the smaller space available at Disneyland.

If you haven’t tried a runDisney race, what are you waiting for?!? 

Let’s go fly a kite up to the highest height, let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring!  Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear – oh let’s go fly a kite!


See ya on the course real soon!


2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Shirts

Only one more day until Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend begins…who’s excited?!? I am and I’m not even going to be there!

The official shirt designs have come out and they are super cute this year.  Big fan of the tropical designs for the 5K and 10K.



And here are some of the other shirts you can purchase at the Expo.




So which shirt will you be getting?  What is your favorite?

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2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Weekend Info


Can you believe that Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend begins in one week!  How did it get here so fast?!  There is a lot to know for this busy race weekend and I’ve got all the important details for you right here.  Now all you have to worry about is getting one of these RAD medals!


Health & Fitness Expo

As all runDisney race weekends do, Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend starts with the Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel.  Last year the expo was a HORRIBLE experience full of 2+ hour lines and a severely crowded expo floor.  Thankfully an extra day has been added for 2014 and the hours have been extended, which are as follows:

  • Thursday, August 28th: 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Friday, August 29th: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, August 30th: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

All race participants MUST attend the expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt(s), and gEAR bag. The gEAR bag also doubles as the bag to use for bag check during the race.  This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration.

When you arrive at the expo, your first stop will be the Lower Exhibit Hall for Packet Pick Up.  If you are unable to attend the expo, you can arrange for an absentee pick-up by filling out an authorization form (found here) and providing the person picking up your bib with a photo copy of your ID and signed waiver.


You will then proceed to the Upper Exhibit Hall to pick up your race shirt(s) and gEAR bag, visit with vendors, listen to the speaker series, and spend all your money on runDisney merchandise.


Resort Transportation

If you are staying at one of the Disneyland Resorts, you will simply be able to walk to the both the Expo and the Starting Line for each race.

If you are staying at a Good Neighbor hotel, there will be complimentary Anaheim Transportation Network (ART) shuttles for the entire weekend for runners and spectators.  This doesn’t just include during race time…it is COMPLIMENTARY ALL WEEKEND, August 28 – 31.  Make sure to get a pass from one of the drivers…this is a BIG bonus!  The shuttles make stops around every 20 minutes, so plan your trip accordingly.  The schedule will be extended to the following times:

  • Thursday, August 28th: 7:20 pm – 10:30 pm 
  • Friday, August 29th: 3:30 am – 12:30 am
  • Saturday, August 30th: 3:30 am – 12:30 am
  • Sunday, August 31st: 3:30 am – 12:30 am

Here is a map of the Good Neighbor Hotel locations:



Driving Directions

Parking will be available in the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure located on Disneyland Drive and Ball Road for all weekend events.  Standard parking rates will apply and there are no discounts for runners.  Roads will be closing beginning at 5:30 am on race days and there will be numerous detours that will be set up.  Make sure to leave enough time for traffic delays!


This is one of the best parts of Disney races…the costumes!!  I love to see all the creativity that people put into their costumes.  Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated.  So who are you dressing up as??

Bag Check

Participants MUST use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their  bib number on the outside.  Bag check will be located in the Lilo Parking Lot/Family Reunion Area.  All bags must be checked by 5:15 am for all races prior to heading into the start corrals.  Bags must be picked up by 7:15 am for the 5K, 8:15 for the 10K and 11:00 am for the half marathon at the same location.


Start Corrals

The start corrals are located on Disneyland Drive between Mickey Way and Paradise Way.  For each race, your corral will be listed on your race bib and you will only be granted access to that corral or the one behind you.  You can find your corral placement by printing you waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number.  Corral placement for the 5K and the Dumbo Double Dare 10K will be available at packet pick-up.

Disneyland 5K


Disneyland 10K



Disneyland Half Marathon & Dumbo Double Dare




Starting Times

All races will begin at 5:30 am.  The wheelchair start for the half marathon will be at 5:29 am on Sunday, August 31st.  Runners are encouraged to arrive to the staging area no later than one hour prior to the race start time and be in your assigned corrals no later than 30 minutes prior.

Race Bibs

Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt.  Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo.  Do not bend or fold your bib as the Chrono Track B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time.  If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly, or more importantly you won’t get any photos!

If you are competing in the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, you will have one race bib for both the 10K and the Half Marathon, so make sure to take good care of it!

Pacing Requirements

Remember that you must keep a minimum pace of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line.  Keep this in mind if you are planning to stop for character photos.  Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lost track of time.  Pace cyclists and the dreaded balloon ladies will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.

Dumbo Double Dare Participants

If you are participating in this challenge, you will receive a wristband after finishing the Disneyland 10K on Saturday.  This must be worn while running the Disneyland Half Marathon.  After completing the Disneyland Half Marathon, you will need to present this wristband at the Dumbo Double Dare tent to receive your medal.

Coast to Coast Challenge Participants

If you are participating in this challenge, you will receive a wristband when you pick up your bib at the Health & Fitness Expo.  A runDisney official will put this on for you and it can not be taken off until you complete the Disneyland Half Marathon.  After completing the race, you will need to present this wristband at the Coast to Coast tent to receive your medal.

029 DL10K-Wristbands

Course Maps

Disneyland 5K


Disneyland 10K


Disneyland Half Marathon


More information on other events like the Kids Races and the Pasta in the Park Party is available on the runDisney website and in the Official Event Guide for the weekend.  Also, check out some of my packing tips as you get ready to travel.

Last year was my first time participating in the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and my first trip out to Disneyland!  Participating in the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge was a great experience and the Disneyland 10K is definitely one of my top races ever!  You can check out some of my experiences from last year here:

Finally, if you will be out in Disneyland, I am still looking for some contributors to cover the events of the weekend.  Here is a list of some ideas for posts and how to contact me.  Also, please tag me in your photos from the weekend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…I will share them and might even use them for a compilation the events…who knows!  I can’t wait to follow along!

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Contributors Needed for Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!

UPDATE: A few topics have been claimed.  See the available list below.  Thanks to everyone who is contributing!!


Are you heading to The Happiest Place on Earth to run next week during the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend?  Are you excited about getting one of these awesome medals??


If so, then I need YOU!  I’m looking for runners, walkers, spectators, volunteers and Disney enthusiasts of all kinds to cover the variety of events over Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!  Here are the some ideas for posts:

  • Race Recaps
    • Dumbo Double Dare Challenge
    • Disneyland Half Marathon
    • Disneyland 10K
    • Disneyland Family Fun Run 5K
    • Kids Races
  • Coast-to-Coast Challenge Experience
  • Staying at a Disneyland Resort vs. a Good Neighbor Hotel
  • A Spectator’s Point of View
  • Health & Fitness Expo
  • runDisney Speaker Series
  • First Time runDisney or Disneyland Runners
  • Race Weekend Dining
  • Pasta in the Park Party
  • VoluntEARing
  • And anything else you can think of…

Choice of topic will come on a first serve basis, so email me at if you are interested in covering one or many aspects of the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend for Running at Disney!!

And while we’re on the topic…have you seen my new Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Pin Board?!  Follow along as I will be updating it with new images during this year’s events!

Best of luck to everyone running and I can’t wait to hear from you!

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