Tag: Abbey D’Agostino

Abbey D Interview

There we were, jammed into the small office area at the back of the store with the live video feed up on the computer screen. It was a late-November Saturday afternoon at the New England Running Company shop in Beverly, MA, and free time was scarce. We hoped that it would stay quiet just long enough to watch Abbey D’Agostino nail down a national cross country title.

Watching Abbey cross the line victorious, live and at work.

Iona’s Kate Avery aggressively got out to a big lead and knowing full well that front-running isn’t the smart play in a championship race, it still made us anxious watching it. Come on, make a move already Abbey! I was still relatively new on the staff there, having only started back in the spring. Prior to joining the crew I had been involved with Level Renner for almost two years, and one thing we love to see is a runner with local ties breaking through on the big stage. It wasn’t exactly breaking through for Abbey since she already had titles on the track, but this was to be her big moment in cross country.

What made this even more interesting was that Abbey grew up on the north shore and shopped at the store, going back to her high school days. So now members of the staff were watching a customer, someone they knew from when she was starting out just like any other runner, capture a national title. How often do you see a former high school runner from your community win a national championship?

With that in mind, we went about setting up the interview. And what better place to do the interview than at the store itself, right? I had to work there anyway and Level Renner currently has no office, so getting to work a bit early and turing the floor into a studio (before the doors opened to customers) seemed like the best bet.

Once we sat down, we learned right off the bat that Abbey D’Agostino suffers from Track Hack, or as she calls it, The Reggie Cough. She is human! The first thing that came up was Abbey’s indoor track season-opening 5k win at the 2013 Jay Carisella Track & Field Invitational on 12/14 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, MA (namesake of the aforementioned ‘reggie cough’). Abbey ran a 15:40 and secured herself a spot in the 5k field when the indoor national championships come around. “I always have to remember at the beginning of the indoor season how harder it is to breathe in the indoor arena. So yeah, that was a bit humbling for me.” Not bad for a rust-buster though.

Abbey did this flying solo, too. The next closest competitor was almost 90 seconds behind her. Just think what could’ve been; the PC trio of Emily Sisson, Sarah Collins and Laura Nagel had all run the 5k the weekend before and all ran between 15:40 and 15:42. It’s all irrelevant in the big picture since it was an early season meet and they were all undoubtedly running just fast enough to get the standard. However, Abbey running with the PC women is far more exciting than Abbey running solo.

National qualifier for the 5k in hand, it’s now time to focus on the 3k. “What I’ve done in indoor season in the past, too, is just done a little speed work so I’ll be in some fast miles, I hope, and then you know a couple of those before 3k, like mid-February.”

Naturally, the focus shifted to what was a bit further down the road: going pro. Obviously it’s not like asking a football free agent where they want to go. The NCAA is pretty clear (and strict) about what athletes can and can’t do (mostly can’t) regarding their future. But only a small amount of runners make the leap from the college ranks to the pros so there’s a lot of interest in the process surrounding the transition.

One thing that Abbey can do is get advice from people who’ve been through it, and luckily one of her good friends just recently made that move. Alexi Pappas went from Dartmouth to the Oregon Track Club and has been a valuable source of info. Abbey said that Alexi told her to “be at Dartmouth while you’re at Dartmouth, you don’t need to worry about it (going pro) yet. But she’s made it known that she’s available for advice because she’s been through the whole process before.”

There’s so much that goes behind any decision anyway that it takes its fair share of homework. “I sort of have to educate myself a little bit before I even have the vocabulary to ask the questions, so that’s the focus for the rest of this time off from school,” said Abbey regarding how she was to be spending the rest of her winter break.

“I’m trying to stay as open minded as possible as to what I’m looking for and where I want to be next year,” continued Abbey. “Obviously the location is a huge variable in where I decide I want to train and what I decide I want to do.” Speaking of location, that seems to be exactly what people are talking about lately.

In the days since we sat down, there was obviously one big announcement that we’d be remiss to overlook here: Abbey’s coach Mark Coogan has left Dartmouth to join New Balance. Mark accepted a position as part of the marketing team and will head up an elite training group based out of Boston. It’s very easy to speculate as to what will happen in a few months when Abbey graduates, but that’s just it: it’s all speculation.

If there’s one person who can ignore all of the noise surrounding that, it’s Abbey. She seems like she’s truly enjoying her time at Dartmouth and isn’t too worried about what will happen after her time is up in Hanover.

What she might have to worry about in the meantime is what to do about all of the marriage proposals. Okay, so far none of them have gone to her directly, but we received a few of them when we put out a call for interview questions from our readers. To see her response, well, you’re just going to have to watch the video.

We just hope we can get a Burning Love-style competition up off the ground. It would be epic.

A pic of from our session is featured in the latest issue of Level Renner, which is free to all and available now!

Abbey D Coming Soon…

As promised, our big interview with Dartmouth phenom Abbey D’Agostino is on the way. Here’s a little something to hold you over. It’s our first ever GIF:

It sums up the interview: fun. We wanted it to be informal, laid back, goof around a bit. Most of our reader-submitted questions were marriage proposals. Did we ask her? Of course we did. You’ll have to check back to see her reaction.

This opens up the door to much more than that: Level Renner-produced reality shows. All of these potential bachelors could be lining up to win her heart in some sort of Burning Love-style competition. There was already some talk of a Real World-style show revolving around Sam Alexander’s talk of moving to Boston. We might be shifting completely to running based reality shows before long.

Wrapping up the video editing now, it should be up on the site by Wednesday.

2013: A Look Back, Pt II

Part II of a multi-part year end review by Jim Dandeneau


June saw the 53rd Mt. Washington Road Race dominated by 45 year old Laura Haefeli of Colorado. Laura won by an astounding 5:43. Connecticut’s Eric Blake, 34, won his 3rd title finally dipping under the magical 60:00 barrier (by 3 seconds). Craig Fram, 54 (and the 50-54 record holder), dominated the division yet again with a superlative 1:09:52 even though he was still well off his amazing division record 1:06:58. Jacqueline Gareau, 60, the 1980 Boston Marathon winner, destroyed the 60-64 course record by almost 8 minutes running 1:33:24.

On the track, Henry Wynne dipped under 1:50 at the New England high school championship and won the New Balance Outdoor national championship. New Canaan’s James Randon finished second in the 2 mile (8:52:56) and 4th in the mile. Westport ,CT star Hannah DiBalsi (only a freshman), finished 3rd in the 2 mile.

At the NCAA Div I Track and Field Championship in Eugene, OR Riley Masters, a Maine native running for Oklahoma and one of the favorites for the 1500 meter national title, got caught up with 120 meters to go, falling to the track finishing 11th. Abbey D’Agostino pulled away to win the women’s 5K with Emily Sisson of Providence College finishing 6th and teammate Laura Nagel 12th.

At the USATF national championship Molly Huddle finished 2nd in the 5K qualifying her for the IAAF World Track and Field championship in August. Ben True, after a pedestrian first 2 miles, took the pace and ran 3:55 for his last 4 circuits however was only able to finish a heartbreaking 4th in the men’s 5K. 2012 Olympian Donn Cabral finished 6th in the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase.

Kenya’s Stephen Sambu (28:08) and Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska (31:45) won the BAA 10K road race. Brighton’s Mark Reeder, 53, an age group sensation, ran a fantastic 34:48 in hot conditions.

Tim Ritchie (13:47) led 4 under the magical 14 minute barrier at the USATFNE 5K in Hollis, NH while Erica Jessman (15:30) reversed places with Olympian Steph Reilly (15:46) at the 3rd stop of the road race grand prix. Maria Servin, 50, a former Olympian from Mexico ran 17:31. Richard Larsen, 61, ran 17:07.


July saw Eric Blake win the insanely tough Loon Mountain race by 2 1/2 minutes with Hopkinton’s Christin Doneski, 42, dominating the female race winning by almost 4 minutes.

At the USA National Mountain Running Championship later that month in North Conway, Morgan Arritola, of Ketchum, ID, finished clear of Stevie Kremer, Crested Butte, CO and world class marathoner Magdalena Boulet, Oakland, CA, to claim the title. Doneski finished 12th with Kasie Enman, the 2011 world mountain running champion, right behind in 15th. On the men’s side, Joseph Gray, Renton, Wa, pulled away from Zack Ornelas and Max King to solidify his place among the nation’s best. Locally, Eric MacKnight finished a solid 11th.

Sam Alexander, Waterford, CT won the Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile road race by 7 seconds over collegian Brian Doyle while Irish Olympian, and former Providence College star Marie Davenport, 38, making a comeback, won the women’s race.

In Little Compton, RI, Amos Sang and Glarius Rop formerly of AIC took a shot at Dylan Wykes course record (22:38) coming up just short, running 22:47 and 22:49, 4:45 pace for the 4.8 mile race. Jessica Barton won the women’s division.

At the hot/humid Carver 5 mile USATF road race Tim Ritchie held off a very game Ruben Sança winning by 4 seconds in 23:59. Steph Reilly won the women’s race to increase her lead in the series while Sean Duncan (5th 24:30) started to take command in the men’s grand prix standings.

At the Yankee Homecoming 10 mile race, NINE men broke 51:00, something rarely seen these days in New England with Brian Harvey (50:17) finishing 5th being the top NE result. Heidi Westover (58:41) won the female division. Robert Cipriano, 53, ran 58:13. Pat Fullerton tuned up for his sub 4 road mile a week later winning the 5K in 15:21.

If you missed Part I, check it out here. As you can see, we were quite busy in 2013, and the clips thrown in here only represent a fraction of what we did. To see the rest, check out our YouTube channel. More to come on 2013.

NCAA DI Nationals Preview

Some helpful info to help you get ready for tomorrow’s XC races.

It’s all come down to this. Saturday November 23rd (tomorrow!), the NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championship will be held in Terre Haute, IN. Thirty-one teams. Thirty-eight individuals. The best of the best. The men start things off with their race at noon ET, and then the ladies cap their seasons off with their race at 1:15 pm.

There were a lot of runners with local ties that did quite well in both the DI and DIII regionals that were two weeks ago. From a nice write up on milesplit.com:

Columbia University senior Jacob Sienko, a onetime standout from Bishop Hendricken, finished sixth overall in the 10-kilometer race with a time of 30 minutes, 24.30 seconds. Less than five-seconds behind Sienko was his former teammate at Hendricken, Providence College junior Brian Doyle, who was timed in 30:29 for 12th overall.

The Friars, who were fourth as a team, had two other ex-high school all-staters finish strong. Recent Cumberland High grad Trevor Crawley, a freshman, was 70th overall with a 31:49.8 clocking. Smithfield’s Liam Hillary was 87th at 32:07.20.

Getting down to it, here’s who’s going from the northeast region:

The Men

Princeton (automatic)

Kevin Dooney, Yale
Kelton Cullenberg, Maine
Wesley Gallagher, Northeastern
Craig Hunt, Central Connecticut

The Women

Dartmouth (automatic)
Providence (automatic)

Waverly Neer, Columbia
Kate Avery, Iona
Liv Westphal, Boston College
Silvia Del Fava, Albany

Automatic teams were the top two from each of the nine regions. The remaining thirteen were selected at-large. The individuals were also selected on an automatic and at-large basis, based on finishes at regionals. Found out more here.

The countdown is on! Plenty for us to follow here. Can the PC women cap off their impressive season with a championship? Will Abbey D’Agostino finally get that elusive cross title? We’ll find out.

And on a disgusting note, it appears that the entire Stonehill men’s team had their bags stolen out at DII nationals.


That is some bad karma for whoever pulled off that d-bag stunt, to say the least. We hope that the boys crush it out there. Nobody should have to put up with that crap while trying to focus on a race of this magnitude.

Wisconsin Adidas Invitational

The eyes of the collegiate cross country world focused on Franklin Park back on September 27th when the Boston College women’s team held their invitational (The Coast To Coast Battle in Beantown). Wisconsin was one of many strong programs to make that trip, and this weekend they return the favor by hosting many of the nation’s top programs at their Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.

The men’s championship 8k race will take place at 11:00 am tomorrow morning, followed by the women’s championship 6k at noon. Here’s a preview of both, with a focus on the northeast teams venturing out west.

The Men’s Race

The men’s race goes off first, and it should be a good one. Last year it was won by Stanford, with Lawi Lalang (Arizona) taking the individual honors in 23:03. Stanford is not coming back to defend their title, but Lalang is back and he is in fact racing tomorrow:

Flotrack Tweet Lalang
The men’s field contains 36 teams, and the highest ranking teams in attendance are: Northern Arizona (3), BYU (5), and Arkansas (6). The teams venturing out there from deep within the heart of Level Legion are Columbia (8), Providence (17), Dartmouth (27), Harvard, and UMass.

The Women’s Race

After the men are finished warming up the course for the ladies (like true gentlemen), the 37 team field will get to it. In 2012, Iowa State won it as a team with Cal Poly freshman Laura Hollander capturing the individual crown in 19:33. The 25th ranked Iowa State team is coming back, but Cal Poly isn’t. By default, there will be a new individual champion. Who could it be?

Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth is probably the front runner for this. Not really going out on a limb there, are we? Abbey looked real good in winning the Paul Short Invitational in downright crappy conditions (excessive heat and humidity) and is poised for a big year. The Providence College trio of Emily Sisson, Laura Nagel and Sarah Collins were quite impressive in taking three of the top four spots at the aforementioned Battle in Beantown. Collins herself took 6th in this race last year as a freshmen. Breaking up that PC trio was Liv Westphal of Boston College.

As far as the women’s teams go, Providence (1), Arizona (3) and Duke (4) are the top ranked teams in the field. The big guns are really showing up for this one. Representing our corner of the map are PC (1), BC (22), Harvard, Dartmouth, Columbia, UConn, Stony Brook and Yale.

Live Feed

Possibly most exciting is that there will be a live stream available via Flotrack. Not sure if that’s free or part of their premium service, but is probably worth looking into if you’re near a computer and are overcome with XC Fever. Remember, XC Fever is contagious so try to spread it as much as possible.

Another Weekend Wrap Up

The Pros: The US Marathon Championships were held at the Twin Cities Marathon and Tim Ritchie ran the race that we’ve been expecting. That’s not meant to downplay it at all since running a 2:14 in your second attempt at the distance is absolutely spectacular. Summing it up best, Matt Pelletier said, “I think we all knew it was coming.” Indeed, Matt, indeed. What Tim has shown in race results at other distances over the last year or so has not-so-subtley hinted at something like this. The end result was another top ten finish for the BAA stud (6th, to be exact). The men’s race was won by Nick Arciniaga (2:13:11) and the women’s race by Annie Bersagel (2:30:53).

Tim now sits at 5th place overall in the season standings with only one event left (the .US Road Racing National Championship). Over the course of the season, Tim has earned nearly $11,000. That seems like a petty sum for someone who has five top ten finishes in championship races. Just think of how much money the Braves are paying Dan Uggla right now to sit at home during the playoffs. Runners really are underpaid.

The Kids: College kids, that is. A big race this past weekend for the kids was the Paul Short Invitational (hosted by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA). Dartmouth senior Abbey D’Agostino won her second race in as many attempts this season in repeating at this prestigious event. Abbey ran a 19:44 and easily outpaced the runner up (Samantha Ginther of Indiana, 20:10). Dartmouth scored second place finishes for the both the women’s and men’s teams on the backs of strong races by D’Agostino and then senior Will Geoghegan’s third place effort in the men’s race.

Said Dartmouth coach Mark Coogan of his team’s efforts: “This past weekend was good, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the women ran. I think we handled the heat and ran very well as a group helping each other out during the race. That is best the women have done as a team in a long long time.”

Luckily the Dartmouth squads had their chance to do their thing before the remaining races were called due to the weather. The excessive heat was a bit much for both the runners and the medical staff. How hot was it? Excellent question. Couldn’t find it in a quick web search, but we’ll go out on a limb and say it was hot to very hot.

Ridiculous weather aside, Abbey continues to steamroll along, winning by almost a minute in her first meet and then nearly 30 seconds in this latest race. “I think we all knew it was coming,” said Matty P once again, and it was still oddly appropriate. Anyway, too bad Abbey and the rest of Dartmouth’s top seven won’t be competing at the New England Championships at Franklin Park this weekend.

The Other Guys: One race that caught our attention from the weekend was the Grace Race in Chelmsford, MA. This was a small race, with only 75 people finishing. Think about that: seventy-five people. In that tiny field two runners went under 25:00 for five miles, and another two broke 26:00, and fifth place was still under 27:00. Glarius Rop and his training partner Amos Sang tore it up. Those were the two aforementioned gentlemen who went under 24 minutes. Glarius (24:37) edged Amos (24:44). The rest of the field was running for third.

Lindsay Willard easily won the women’s race with her 29:12 effort. That was fast enough to break into the top ten overall.

Newbould Kozloski Nahant

Newbould cruises along at Nahant, courtesy of Krissy Kozloski.

Brandon Newbould made the trip to Chelmsford, lured by the cash prizes even though his legs still had some Nahant 30k residue lingering in them. Brandon didn’t expect to see such a deep field waiting for him there on the starting line. According to Brandon, Glarius and Amos took it out with a 4:30 uphill opening mile. Perhaps Glarius is really motivated by his loss at the Level Renner 10k back in August and really wants to exact his revenge on poor unsuspecting runners, or perphaps he’s really just that good. Either way, “I think we all knew it was coming,” said Matty P. We’d be annoyed that Matt keeps giving us the same line, but damn it, it’s just so appropriate for everything we’re discussing here. Well said, Matt.

Anyway, Newbould had to settle for only a 4th place finish after running a 25:34. Not bad a for a guy still getting over a 30k and focused on a quickly approaching fall marathon.

D’Agostino Rolls In Opener

Dartmouth College opened up its 2013 season on Saturday with the Dartmouth Invitational. For senior Abbey D’Agostino, it was a familiar story line playing out again: winning on her home course. Not only did she win for the third year in a row, but she did it in such a convincing way that the Topsfield, MA native appears to be primed for yet another big year.

Cruising through the early stages of the race, D’Agostino patiently awaited the moment to break it open. Instead of surging right to the front, she sat back with her teammates and glided along in a pack of Dartmouth harriers behind the leading Georgetown ladies. A few minutes later it was the Dartmouth trio leading the way. Despite sitting back early on, Abbey’s margin of victory was about the size of those from 2011 and 2012 combined.

As far as the team competition went, Georgetown took care of business by way of strong races from two sophomores: Haley Pierce (4th) and Rachel Paul (6th).

Here is our interviews with both Abbey D’Agostino and Dartmouth coach Mark Coogan, along with highlights from the race:

For more on the race, check out the full results and the write up on the Dartmouth website.

Special thanks to coach Mark Coogan and media guru Patrick Salvas for welcoming the Level on campus and making our job easier.

Jenkins: Ranked & Ready To Roll

Running Times reported some collegiate national indoor rankings yesterday and we were happy to see a couple of New England school represented: Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth and Eric Jenkins of Northeastern both appeared multiple times on the short lists presented.


D’Agostino was tops in the women’s mile (4:31.47) and the 3,000m (8:55.41), but she wasn’t the only New Englander representing the ladies. Emily Sisson (Providence, 15:44.40) and  Katie Matthews (Boston University, 15:46.13) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, and both earned their times at the Terrier Classic back on Jan. 25th.

Jenkins was the only guy representing New England schools to crack the list. His 3:58.11 mile (also at the BU Terrier Classic) was fast enough to place him fifth. That performance might’ve slipped under the radar a bit considering he toed the line with Rupp et al as part of Rupp’s record attempt that day. Eric is also tied for fourth in the men’s 3,000m with his  7:50.44. Not a bad indoor season so far for a guy who had to redshirt outdoor last season and then cross country this past fall.

To find out a little more, we reached out to Eric Jenkins for his second interview on the Level.

You’re ranked 5th in the mile and tied for 4th in the 3000. Which are you more excited about?

I’m a little more pleased with being 4th in the 3k right now. Not just because its better than 5th which is where I’m at in the mile, but also because I haven’t run that race in a couple years and it’s not really my main event.

Are you about where you expected to be for this point in the season?

Yeah I think I am right where I should be at this point in the season. I’m in great shape, I’ve gotten a lot of hard training in and am feeling great about the rest of the season.

Will there be any shift at all in your training approach (like focus more on one event over the other)?

I’m not too sure if there will be a shift in my training towards one event. My coach and I still have to figure out which event I would run at nationals if I end up making it in both. But I’m sure when we do that then the training and workouts will start to be geared towards one or the other.

Jenkins gearing up at the Exeter Mile last summer, third from left in the black singlet (courtesy of Anne London… NACHO!!!)

Jenkins gearing up at the Exeter Mile last summer, third from left in the black singlet (courtesy of Anne London… NACHO!!!)

Back in August you told us (after running a 4:00.13 at the Exeter Mile): “I won’t be happy with just breaking four” later on the in the year. What mile time would make you happy right now?

I think I’m in shape to run atleast 3:55. I wasnt really pleased with the time I ran during the Terrier meet but it went out a little slow and it was hard to make up time.

Of your experience at the BU Terrier Classic, what did you come away from that with? Was it a challenge to stay focused on the task at hand with Rupp making a run at a record?

The Terrier meet was an awesome experience for me. Being able to race against someone like Rupp is a great opportunity in itself. A couple weeks before the race my coach had talked about using the race as sort of a tune up workout to prepare for the 3k in Seattle. Then Rupp announced he was going for the record there and everyone and their grandma showed up to watch. It was really nerve wracking, but those types of big races are important learning experiences for the future.

A little less than half the season to go. We’re excited to see what both Eric and Abbey can accomplish the rest of the way.

Awards and a Dance Clinic

The USATF-NE held their annual awards banquet last night. The big awards were Male and Female Athletes of the Year and the Club of the Year. Nominations were accepted online and ultimately the voting was done online for these honors. The winners:

Male Athlete of the Year: Ruben Sança (formerly of GBTC, currently of Whirlaway)

Female Athlete of the Year: Lindsay Willard and Abbey D’Agostino…a tie!

Club of the Year: Whirlaway and Western Mass Distance Project…another tie!!

Everybody dressed up nicely for the evening, so I guess it’s no surprise that ‘Tie’ was the unofficial theme.  It was incorrectly stated a couple of times that Lindsay Willard was second to Helen Dinan n the Grand Prix series, but she also tied for the lead in that. Lindsay was the Grand Prix women’s open co-champion along with Helen.

Lindsay Willard and Tim Ritchie, heavily vested in the evenings activities.

In other news, Bolt made an appearance:

Hammond getting down, courtesy of Sarah Prescott.

Wait…I think that’s Paul Hammond. The dance party portion of the evening didn’t exactly come to fruition, but that didn’t stop Jason Ayr (Wester Mass Distance Project) from putting on a clinic:

That, my friends, is how it’s done.

D’Agostino Shines at Paul Short

By Paul Cina

Several New England teams traveled down to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Friday for what’s considered the opening weekend for many of the top cross country programs around the country.

Over the past few years the Paul Short Invitational has developed a reputation for two things: loaded fields and rain. For the third straight year the seemingly flat, “fast” course turned into something more of a sloppy pigpen with muddy fields, slick sharp turns, and large deep puddles.

Headlining the women’s gold race was Abbey D’Agostino from Dartmouth College who last year finished third at the NCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships, won the outdoor NCAA 5k, and finished fifth in the Olympic Trials 5k.

D’Agostino showed why she’s the favorite for this year’s national XC title by winning the 6k course comfortably in 19:58, well ahead of second place finisher Katie Kellner of Cornell University. Note: see full results here.

By the time the women’s gold race was run the course was already chewed up from the numerous races prior, which may have been the reason for the considerably slow first mile of 5:34. However, the pedestrian start would eventually pick up as the leaders began to take off as they approached the second mile.

“I just tried to grind it out starting at ‘3k-ish’ and that’s where it started to break up,” said D’Agostino.

With a little more than a mile to go, there was still a large group of about 10-15 women in the lead pack. Over the last mile however, Abbey D dropped the hammer closing in a 4:50 and putting a 24 second gap on the field, and securing a comfortable win.

One mile to go (women appear at :18):

Dartmouth College would stand as the top New England team in the race with a 5th place finish (out of 40 teams) with 149 points. Cornell University took the overall victory, having three women finish in the top 10, with 55 points.

Finish line footage:

Top 10 team finishes were also captured by Providence College who was 6th (167), Brown University 8th (196), and University of New Hampshire 9th (331).

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