The SNOD ultra runnig thread

The Idle Banter non specific race ultra thread

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29/08/2014 at 21:37

Cragchick - lots and lots of mountains are just up your street I think . I don't understand why you have not done Lakeland 100 yet from that point of view - but maybe too commercial when it comes down to it.

29/08/2014 at 22:21

It's on my 'to do' list I think last year I was applying for utmb and missed deadline ... I don't mind commercial, but quirky and small will always get my vote!! Struggling to post on any forums at the most ... Hope all well? What have you don't recently? What's next? Waving anyway

29/08/2014 at 22:28

Forum is pretty quiet these days, days go by when I don't post and it seems it's the same way for quite a few of the old faces.

 Tor des Geants next weekend.

29/08/2014 at 22:30

Wow wow fab another one in the bucket of dreams I have ... Good luck!!

30/08/2014 at 12:14

Anyone know what Fellrunner is up to?  He seems to have disappeared off this forum for over a year.

One of my inspirational people.

Great write-up about Billy Bland in the current issue of Trail Running magazine.

31/08/2014 at 15:45

Well done all those going around the various Mont-Blanc races over the last week 

01/09/2014 at 18:17

Hi all.

T-Rex - I had a read of that, he was an amazing runner. Some of his long fell race records and the BGR record are awesome. But I suppose he did put in training miles on fell that are up their with what the semi-elite road runners do, he can't have ever stopped what with a day job and family, as those miles take way longer even at his speed!

booktrunk - Yes, well done to those out their in Chamonix. Always envious to see those out their taking on those beasties.

GKD - Cracking, look forward to hearing about that one as its on my "one of these days" list.

Cragchick - Glad you've got your targets sorted. Does sound like the best approach. I've not got around to writing anything about the run yet, hopefully will soon. I'll pop a summary on this thread in meantime tomorrow if I get chance.

Next ones for me are HP40, Yorkshire marathon and maybe a trail marathon/or 20-30m trail run in Nov-Dec. half my mind is already on next year now. Won't be 12 ultra's again, probably less long ones, more focus on a particular event domestic or continental and tickover with hardmoors trail series or similar. A new "target" has entered my sights - Blue Trail Tenerife - as I like the idea of crossing the whole Island working up to the giant Mt. Teide (which is quite a big higher than most of the Alps long trails go I think - 3500m+). But for various reasons the timings might not be right next year. May throw my hat in the CCC/TDS bag, UTMB is not a possibility as don't have the points for 2015. Not to mention a whole host of cracking domestic options.

Edited: 01/09/2014 at 18:22
02/09/2014 at 13:58

Soo..... what did I do the week before last

Tuesday morning after breakfast, dropping the boy at Nursery and saying goodbye to Clare - I packed my gear into my 12L pack: spare shorts, t-shirt, socks; wind-jacket, waterproofs, thin baselayer, warmer baselayer, hat/gloves/spare buff, food, headtorch, phone and garmin charger (good old USB, only needed to carry one plug for two leads, which helped with limited space), tablets/compeeds/first aid stuff, small wash kit, sample size pouch of sun-lotion, small bottle laundry detergent, space shoe lace/string, tissue/soiling bags/wipes, b&b/train instructions, two sets route maps and schedule (places, rough times, mileages).

All went in at a squeeze and not that heavy. Everything else would be worn or picked up on route. I did also have a small bumbag up front with quick access to phone, money/debit card, notepad and just as an extra pocket for food, etc.... I used lots of small and quite thick plastic bags to waterproof everything that I think needed to be.

Taxi to Hull station (as I packed last minute), train replacement-bus to Selby, train to Leeds to meet my connection with the train to take me on the famously scenic settle-Carlisle railway. I'd stocked up with a veggie flatbread and drink from greggs at Hull for lunch and basically was nibbling all day on things like cereal bars. Lovely railway journey, you don't get much of a view of the glorious ribblehead viaduct on train as your going over it, but the section through the Yorkshire 3-peaks area is pretty impressive, though I'd say the high-level traverse through Dentdale at the other side of the tunnel trumps it! Emerging into the next dale I was off at Garsdale (West end of Wensleydale) at 2pm and picked up by the B&b owner who also does local taxiing.

B&B only a mile away and apart from pub next door its a pretty remote road pass hallway between Hawes and Sedbergh. B&B more luxurious than needed, but ideal spot for my challenge. So I made use of the amenities, nibbled the complimentary biscuits, cups of tea, then chilled for awhile. Then about 4pm headed out for day 0 run.

Day 0 - I headed just up the junction road then off through a campsite, upward past a plantation to join a section of pennine bridleway. This undulated and twisted along the hillside passing gills running off the moorland above and lots of shake holes - typical "off the beaten track" dales I thought. After just over a mile north-west along this path I diverged off path at a right angle onto pathless, tussock strewn and sometimes wet moorland. Slow progress up the hill but found the white stick marking top of the unnamed local peak at 666 metres, then I turned slightly west of north and downhill to seek out the earliest trickles I could of the River Ure.

A few hundred metres away I found evidence of water breaking through an tracking back a bit could hear a trickle underground - good enough for me as the source or close to. I followed close to the water where I could down the hill, on feint 4x4 tracks or through pathless vegetation to get back down to the pennine bridleway. I then headed back to B&b via slightly different lower paths and road. Good little 8.15m with 1500ft asc and desc. Quite slow due to half of it being pathless moor. Great views from top over valley and neighbouring peaks though.

Made use of the fancy power shower in B&B, but decided to save the complimentary fluffy robe for another day. Washed wet socks, wringed dry and then compressed in towel and hung. Other gear not to wet or dirty yet.  Mark turned up about half 6 having travelled up the dale from Ripon. Tomorrow Mark would be running with me back that way, the days after that I was on my own. On B&B owners advice

02/09/2014 at 14:40

day 1 - Garsdale-Ripon (54m) - Up just after 5.30 which isn't that much of a shock as up at 6 most days. As we'd be out before breakfast the owners had left cereal, OJ and milk in fridge. Got some granola down and got packed up. 7:02 out the door. Was a cool start, despite sunny spells I was in thin baselayer and wind-jacket at first. Nice opening section undulating along northbank of fledgling river on often faint path. In the rugged western bit of wensleydale amongst the higher hills of the dale.

Crossed river and main dale road at Thwaite Bridge and followed farm tracks and more undulating grassy paths. nervous moment passing cows with calves but no other issues. Jacket was off before Hawes as the sun came out. Grabbed a pasty in Hawes bakery. Then north along road passing big bends in river and joining a b-road part way up north-bank and following west. All good so far and a lovely sunny and slightly cool day. Joined old railway bank path to Askrigg. Through the pretty village (think 'All Creature Great and Small' from 80's) and we moved further up north-bank of dale to follow a higher level track through old lead mine and generally scarred area of mid-dale, still some big hills enclosing us but not the same scale as where we started and slightly more poplulated areas in dale below.

This path took us to Castle Bolton and Redmire - where the Wensleydale railway ends (line used to go a lot further into dale). Now moving into the wider and lower-hill flanked east of dale we followed decent tracks through working plantations, woodlands, passed grand houses into Wensley. We bypassed the larger settlement of Leyburn and crossed the Ure at 'tower flanked' Middleham bridge.

Into Middleham and its lunchtime. loads of pubs (for all the stable lads and lasses to relax in this race-horse town), but not great for on the go food. Got a dry packet sandwich from a shop and a fizzy drink and some water to top up my bottles. Only noticed nice sandwich shop on the way out (DOH!).

Passed impressive Middleham castle ruins. A little walk to get going again, legs pretty good for over a marathon done. If anything just a little stiff from plod mode. A few hotspots on feet though, not good! Over some grassy land and along river Cover for awhile, which feeds into Ure. Some nice riverbank running on what has been a greatly varied route so far. Good track passed Jervaulx abbey. Then a few slightly frustrating miles trying to follow little used paths through farming land over small hills.

Hitting the A6108 into Masham, for first time in day I'm feeling a little fed up as still many miles to go and feet are worrying me. A pick-me-up for me and Mark in Masham as we get to append our meagre Middleham lunch in the fish and chip shop which opened at 4.30pm as we arrived. washed that down with fizzy drink from co-op.

02/09/2014 at 22:41

This looks to be epic - sorry for not asking how it went, DE!

03/09/2014 at 11:43

Forgot the forum not a good place to post long run reports, just realised its chopped last few paragraphs of day 1. Will conclude it (again) later

03/09/2014 at 11:46

Loving the reports

03/09/2014 at 13:16

The best place for reports, DE.  Not every reads, or wants to read, blogs.  There is a word limit for posts, though.

07/09/2014 at 08:23

No problem T Rex, lots of different events going on at the moment and I find it hard to keep track of who is doing what to.

Day 1 (conclusion) -

Being buoyed by the food was almost outweighed by a feeling my feet were probably blistered and still quite a few miles to go today. Taking the road out of a Masham we were now well out of the dale and the surroundings had changed to agricultural and quarrying. We took roads and a few field crossings through several villages. When the route took a field-crossing footpath it was a lottery in this section whether it would be ok running, or a ploughed field, or the gates/stiles in field would be overgrown or not visible. One such stile was invisible at first as completely overgrown by a huge solid plant which was hard to push through and covered us in those sticky, spiky things. But either side of 'the plant' the field footpath was obvious and looked used? These kind of areas can be nearly as tough as hardcore trail moorlands in their effect on tired bodies and time took to navigate.

I was slightly cursing my decision to dog-leg into this area when I could have taken us a shorter southerly route to Ripon. As the day was starting to look like it would finish well into darkness and closer to 60m than initial plotted 54. Which would cutdown on my recovery time quite a lot. But I had a reason to come out this way and it was to visit the tiny village of Sutton Howgrave where my late mother - who I was doing this in memory of and whose charity my fundraising would support - was brought up. Whilst in the village I took a walk around and tried to imagine it in her day.

After a few more tiring fields and a small detour adding more distance I realised there may be a more direct route for the remainder. And Mark confirmed from his local knowledge that there was. I'd done enough that day not to worry about not visiting a couple more on route villages for no particular reason. So we followed a mostly road-based route south to get to Copt Hewick (small village outside of Ripon) and Marks house minutes before darkness at 9 pm and having covered 53m.

The spicy Thai curry that Marks wife served up was most welcome, as we're a few beers for hydration purposes and a bath. I didn't dwell too long on my blistering feet,deciding to sort them in the morning and try and get some restorative sleep. Overall a really good route for the first 2/3 of the day that I'd recommend to any touring off road runner.

Edited: 08/09/2014 at 09:25
08/09/2014 at 09:51

Day 2 Ripon - Selby (44m) -

Another just after 5.30 start. Slightly groggy, mild stiffness, but pretty good for having done over 61m in last two days. I spent a bit of time looking at feet, some swelling and a large blister under the ball of each foot, almost to toes. Not an easy spot to put a compeed and make it stick. I did my best, but I didn't feel they would stick. Mild reflief that no more blisters or other problems really.

Mark was up not long after and we had breakfast; tea, cereal and toast for me. Mark was also kind enough to knock me up a ham sandwich for the road Mark would also be joining me for a cameo for the first few miles today, but then would be heading back home as he was going out for the day with family and would also need to retrieve his Car from Garsdale, before working that night.

At about 7.15 we were out the door and walked down the windy road out of the village. The pack felt ok, if anything it would be mildly lighter today as I'd eaten some food from it yesterday. Onto the main road into Ripon past the race course and we had a jog, before hitting the Ripon canal towpath and passing Ripon marina. This is a nice pleasant section of running on gravelly path, which after a few miles brought us to the junction of the canal and river Ure.

We followed the now, easy flowing, widening river along wet grass paths - rain overnight - and through some slightly overgrowing foliage, which meant that pace was slowed down to walking again. Feet felt a bit sore and uneven footplants seemed to tear at the bottom of my feet. Again I tried not to dwell on the distance remaining today and over the week with already breaking feet.

We reached the river bank section across the river from Newby Hall and took some pictures of the great view of river, gardens and hall. Then I said my thanks and we said our good byes as mark was now heading back and I had a day of about 50m still left. I though it would be interesting to see how I coped with my change in status to lone runner. I don't do too badly in solitude and have done challenges all alone before, but after having a sociable long run yesterday the format was now quite changed for the remainder.

Onwards and own the river bank, more wet grass and foliage, but a really pleasant river bank section overall. I also managed to have a 'comfort' break, which was something else that had been bothering me the last few miles. Before not too long I'd passed through Roecliffe and onto road, crossing under the A1 before entering Boroughbridge. A bit of road helped ease my foot worries as I could rely on more even footfalls and get a move on, which was desired as with a shorter day today I hoped to finish a good few hours earlier and have more time to relax tonight.

Through the roman town of Aldborough and I now enjoyed a couple of faster miles on quiet lanes. There was a brief interruption from a "farmed over" footpath crossing field and overgrown field edge top get me wet and tear at my feet. Then respite on road through a small village to join a nice firm and trod field crossing path to bring me into Great Ouseburn and nearly 14m in the bag - moving along nicely at over 4mph and legs feeling pretty good.

Through the village and a left turn to follow a fast-trafficked road and cross the Aldwark toll bridge over the Ure. I think the traffic moved fast along this road knowing that the bolted wooden-decked bridge was single track and the one guy taking tolls wasn't exactly in a rush.

Edited: 08/09/2014 at 10:07
08/09/2014 at 12:19

Day 2 (cont..) -

Along another quite-fast trafficked b-road I rounded the RAF airfield before entering Linton-on-Ouse. I had also just passed a bend in the river where the River Ure became the River Ouse. I stopped to enjoy my sandwiches and nibble on a posh trail mix - from Poundland - including chocolate covered peanuts and raisins. Today would be a bit of a split-lunch day as fancied this now and would be passing through York later where there should be plenty of options for a top-up.

Following the large bends of the Ouse I was back on grassy trail on a path around Benningbrough hall, then into rough and muchly overgrown paths for a few miles. The path widened and became more foliage free after awhile, but this couldn't stop a 'bad patch' as I had to negotiate cows on thin strip of land between fence and river, which meant the damn things kept running along with me. It also started raining a bit.

This annoyance and my general cow-phobia when running tired meant I came off this path and took a sneaky detour through farmyard (naughty) to cut through village of Overton. Then when through the village I followed a track to rejoin river which had bent around to meet.

There was now following of the Ouse on a short section of hit and miss paths before getting closer to York where I joined the 'cycle trail 65' which links to the transpennine trail and assured me the option of solid path and easy running into York. It was quite nice to run into the city this way and see 'people' and activities along the riverbank.

Into the city centre and I detoured my smelly-ass into the shopping 'maze' and grabbed a Greggs (again) sandwich and cola as well as a water bottle so I could top-up my twin bottles of chia charge and water with electrolytes. I probably looked odd hunching at the edge of the street filling up bottles place on the floor with water and strange powders and tablets!

Back to the river and I crossed to the east bank whilst eating and walked/ran along the tree-lined path beyond the millennium bridge - another rain shower started - and turned off to pass the old terry's factory with its iconic clock tower and then around the most of and across the race course (taking marshalls advice crossing track as it was a race day).

After crossing under the A64, this led me to a cycle path on an old railway line offering tarmac much of the way to Selby on a long and fairly straight section. Good for progress, but the lack of variety might well do my head in. But now the sun was out and there were distractions such as a scale milky way with the sun statue at the start of the path and then planets located along the next 10k to mark the scale of the galaxy - the inner plannets all being a few hundred metres apart, then outer ones being km or more.

Harder surfaces, which had been respite for the blisters were now presenting their own issues though as my battered feet started to feel more-and-more swollen throughout this day. Where possible I'd take a parallel softer path or run on the intermittent softer bridleway alongside this cycle path.

The footpath hit the A19 at Riccall and my route took me through here. In fact my planned route now detoured me east across the river again and through a few more villages. But with extra miles already in the bag I decided to follow the more direct route paralleling the A19 on a grassy path, then taking a road off and riverside path (on flood embankment) as it followed a few more bends towards Selby. These remaining miles of trail were mostly unchallenging terrain, not ripping or battering my feet and the river soon delivered me past industrial works and into Selby.

Edited: 08/09/2014 at 12:20
08/09/2014 at 12:21

Day 2 (conclusion) -

As the day cooled into the evening I walked through the town centre, grabbing a milk drink to keep hunger at bay a bit longer and located my B&B for the nights stop. A spacious room was much welcome so I could spread out my kit and lay down awhile whilst I went through my mental list of what I needed to do. It was nice to be finished earlier in the day after 10hrs58 on the go and 44.2m covered.

The rest of the evening consisted of shower, dressing in spare kit and hobbling down the road in the cool evening air to the Wetherspoons I saw on the way through the centre. A pint of cider and double-Mexican burger with chips really hit the spot and I had a bit more time this night to catch up on calls, messages and other normal things.

A good, but different day to the last, mostly flat, more hard surface and as such my feet and leg joints were definitely more stiff and swollen than 24 hours ago. But, undefeated I was able to relax into sleep.

24/09/2014 at 13:03

Day 3 – Selby-Hull (43m) –

After a good sleep to try and recover as much as possible it was again about 5.30am and time to get up and get prepared for the day ahead. Despite the tiredness and stiffness associated with over 100  miles – mostly run – in less than three days there was an immediate positive to start today, a cooked breakfast. My B&B option here in Selby had a fantastically early breakfast start time of 6.30am. So after taking time to get dressed, bag readied and feet patched up – yesterday’s blister plasters were mostly off so I took great care to adhere more “moleskins” to the sore patches on the balls of my feet – I was downstairs at just after 6.30. And I wasn’t even the first down in the breakfast room!

Cereal, fresh orange and then scrambled egg on toast really filled my tank up nicely, without stuffing myself. I then paid my bill and I was off at 7.16am. I walked at first through Selby to gently ease stiff joints into motion, before breaking into a ‘slog’ (how it felt at times and an abbreviation for slow jog) down the main street and over the Ouse bridge. My choice route on the river-side, transpennine trail cycle path out of town was off-limits as blocked by works on the railway bridge. So a detour through industrial Selby followed, before meeting the river about half-a-mile out of town.

I now followed hard, stoney track or flood embankment top path for the following few miles tracking large bends in the river, which really made the route far from direct today. The legs didn’t have much speed today, but by running long periods with much shorter walk-breaks I was making faster than 4mph progress as per yesterday. The bounce of harder surfaces was faster, but the softer embankment top path was kinder on swollen feet, on the condition that the path was even and didn’t aggravate the blisters!

After some more fun with cows, much as per yesterday pre-York, I arrived at a place called Newhay and was greeted by an aggressive dog at a path junction, where I was unsure of the correct path. The grumpy owner came over from his front garden after making some snide trespassing comment - despite me being at the path junction still – gave me some less than cheerily-toned guidance. I got back on my way, a bit upset/wound up by this as the map wasn’t conclusive. My last word on this should I see the man again would be, if this happens enough to bother you then why not aid the long-distance walkers, runners, cyclists who frequent this route with a helpful sign? I would.

Back onto the embankment path down the Ouse and at Barmby tidal barrage I decided to deviate from my planned route along the river and go through Barmby towards Howden – conscious my route today had large sections of little civilisation and I really could do with a shop before not too long to top-up water and maybe get some lunch in for later. If not my next “sure thing” was Brough where I wouldn’t be until potentially hours after lunchtime. Barmby didn’t offer much, but it was a gimme few miles along a straight road before I hit Howden.

Edited: 24/09/2014 at 13:05
24/09/2014 at 13:07

I only skimmed the southern edge of Howden and I looked like not hitting a shop. Should I deviate further into town as surely there would be a shop? Or do I push on and make do with the water I have and snacks I have until Brough? I decided on the latter and it worked out well enough as I came within only a 100yard detour from a garage on the way out of town. I put my money to good use snapping up a meal deal; a big chicken Caesar wrap, crisps and water. I topped up by bottles, packed the wrap, but wouldn’t be able to stash the crisps in my relatively full pack without crushing them. So I had a mid-to-late morning snack on-the-walk as I undertook one of the only climbs of my day to rise a few dozen feet over the M62 on the road bridge.

Heading south of the M62 between Goole and South Cave took me into the large, flat and not unpleasant (on a sunny day like today), vast expanse of super-flat farming land that I think of as a little step back in time every time I visit. I would now have miles and hours of quiet roads and paths and would probably see as many transpennine trail cyclists as I would cars in this time. Such an experience may not be unique in our country, but would more likely be experienced in the mountainous areas of the UK.

I passed through Kilpin and Laxton before winding my way closer to the river through Yokefleet and then joining the bank at Blacktoft. I decided to run atop the flood bank again here for a while so I could try and photograph the end of the river Ouse as it spilt out into the Humber Estuary. After so many miles and so many of them on road my leg motion was very restricted by tiredness and stiffness, so running on the quite even grass bank top was slow going. So I slowed to a walk to eat my wrap and try and recharge my batteries.

Outside the village and I was back onto quiet minor roads as regained a stiff jog. My overall pace today was marginally faster than the previous two days, the slowest being the first day. But on the first day I tackled more off-road and hill and seemed to walk a fair bit more as I gabbed with Mark. Day two had seen a preference for road, but some off-road that was far more challenging than today. Today I simply had to ‘slog’ most of the time, otherwise I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast.

I moved onto a gravelly track and then as that swung north and off-route to a village I followed straight on to a path marked on the map. Which was really now a mostly chewed-up field edge between a ditch and dried-mud plowed fields (very nasty on blistered feet). Even running bits I slowed massively here and motivation nosedived. I was glad to eventually get a grassy track to a farm and – after trying to figure my way out of the yard for a few minutes – another grassy flood embankment in the land between riverside marshes and lots more fields.

This was quite a good surface for progress, the natives, 100’s of sheep had beat nice trod along the flat-topped bank. And running through the numbers of these gentle creatures cheered me up simply because they weren’t aggressive cows for a change! And also reminded me of my little boy at home whose favourite toy is his fluffy sheep ‘Bah-bara’. At the edge of Brough a different emotion was stirred as my path passed the Humber Yawl club. I choked up a bit as I had in the past picked up my late-mother from here after she’d been sailing with members of the blind/partially-sighted activity group she supported.

Edited: 24/09/2014 at 13:08
24/09/2014 at 13:25

I was back to civilisation, in the large village/small town of Brough. Which had shops, cafes, pubs, you name it…. But I just wanted to get on with it and all I needed was a water top-up. Before that though, it was a sure sign I was back in familiar territories as I ran into a friend of my dad’s, who was taking on a gruelling challenge of his own landscaping the garden of the house his son had brought. I stopped to chat and tell him of my venture and got some more sponsorship J

I got a bottle of water to fill my bottles and a ‘for goodness shake’, which I stashed in the bag for after I finished today. And then headed out of Brough via the only slightly hilly section of the day through Welton, Melton and then over the A63 to Ferriby. I then headed back downhill to the riverbank and stiffly-jogged along the riverside path towards Hessle. After a brief stop to picture the outlines and plaques of the historic “Ferriby Boats” to add to my collection of journey memorabilia. The sun was out this afternoon so I passed numerous people out walking the river and further family groups as I headed into the shaded paths of the country park. From here I climbed the short section of steps from the old quarry and followed the raised path with great views under the vast Humber bridge. As I skirted Hessle and rejoined the river at the edge of Hull my thoughts were now “last leg” as I used to live in Hessle and would sometimes run to work in Hull centre and it was little over 5m using the most direct route. However my riverside path weaved a bit more so it could be more like 10k left today.

My path now followed a fine line of solid land between high-reeds and marshy land by the river and the A63 dual-carriageway, the central artery between Hull and the outside world. Still mostly beating out a slog with my swollen, sometimes painful feet I rounded the old overgrown and dilapidated docks which sandwiched the St Andrews Quay retail park with my first view of “jewels” of civilisation such as Starbucks and McDonalds since York.

I was now journeying back into the old-industry areas of landscape that fill many of my midweek run miles each week. Leaving St Andrews quay I got lucky that although the old dock-buildings to the east had started the process of being demolished since I last past not that long ago, I could get through and didn’t have to take an extensive detour at this late stage. One more ascent and descent as I passed over the raised walkway built over the Albert dock warehouses (which I always thought a pleasant and unusually dramatic way for this path to enter the city, but it’s good for a city panorama).

It was then across the lockgate of the marina and through the old fruit market area before crossing the river Hull – dividing the tribes of east and west – on the millennium bridge, around the dramatic deep building at Sammy’s point and onto the path along the riverfront of the Victoria dock village. I’d contacted Clare at 5pm and maybe 3.5m ago ago to meet me at about 6pm at the end of the village. Which meant I had little respite from slog-speed if I wanted to stop at the shop and collect a cool drink to sink at the end. In fact, just as I ran up the road to the roundabout Clare who was driving up spotted me. In a rare event me and Clare were both a few minutes early!

Edited: 24/09/2014 at 13:26
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