UK Run 5 : Southampton

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

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Date : 8th October, 2018

Time : 59’ 23”

Number of runners (total to date) : 45 (2526)

Total distance run to date : 1560 km internationally + 50 km in the UK

Run map and details :  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3075958439

I was chatting to Gil after the run when the thought popped into my head, “Everyone’s English has been surprisingly good this evening.”

And then I realised that this was hardly unexpected. Because the run had been in Southampton. On the south coast of England.

I shouldn’t have been so disorientated as there’d been plenty of clues that I was now back in the UK after 7 runs in South West Africa and Portugal. It had been cool unlike, say, Gabon or the Democratic Republic of Congo. And the humidity levels had been low unlike, say, Sao Tome. And I’d been able to drive to the meeting point…

Which was at the Feather in the Woolston Memorial Garden in the shadow of the Itchen Bridge.

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There were 45 of us at the start – 44 members of the Itchen Spitfires Running Club and me. And they were all good enough to join me for the start of the run before we split into two groups. Some to do the club’s planned training session that evening – a 2 mile timed run – and some to do the 10km run.

For the 10kers amongst us, Tash led the run out along the north shore of Southampton Water, stopping briefly to take a picture of White Star Dock (later Ocean Dock) which is where the Titanic’s ill-fated voyage began. A tragedy that affected Southampton more than anywhere else in the world with more than 500 households losing a family member.

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From there we ran as far as Royal Victoria Country Park

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Before heading back to the Feather, passing close to Netley Abbey on the way. (At least that’s what the map tells me ; it was a little dark for sightseeing by this stage.)

There were plenty of good chats as we ran. Here are a few highlights which I hope my fellow runners won’t mind me sharing :

“I’m not pregnant ; that’s an asthma kit under my running top.”

“It’s not a good idea to run round the Isle of Wight ; I’ve done it and it’s a very hilly, 70 mile nightmare.”

“Do you know what old rock stars, the likes of the Stones and the Who, talk about when they get together?”

I also talked to a COPD nurse who told me that inhaling anything – a joint ; a wood fire ; cooking fumes – can damage you and cause cancer. In other words, it’s not just cigarettes ; a point I must remember to stress next time I’m giving a Run the World healthy living talk. (By coincidence there was an article on exactly this issue in today’s newspaper.)

I think you’ve got the idea by now : it was a great run with great people. Thank you to Gil and everyone at the Itchen Spitfires Running Club for the welcome and the company. I very much hope to see you all in London on July 4th 2020 for the UK (and final) leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

 

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Run 156 : Portugal – Lisbon

rtw portugal 1

Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 28th September, 2018

Time : 59’ 33”

Number of runners (total to date) : 30 (2481)

Total distance run to date : 1560 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105923

Media : https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/run-the-world-complete-a-10km-run-in-all-206-countries-in-the-world-by-the-2020-tokyo-olympics/

http://portugalresident.com/lisbon-among-next-stops-for-brit-who-is-%E2%80%98running-the-world%E2%80%99-to-support-cancer-research

“You picked the worst night to run with me”, said Bruno aka ‘The Boss’. And he was right – for it was the night of the dreaded hill run.

If I understood it correctly, it works something like this. Everyone does the hill run and the person with the fastest time can then challenge Bruno on the hill. The winner takes all.

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If you ever decide to take on Bruno’s hill challenge, then this would be my recommended schedule:

  1. A week’s break before the run to rest your legs.
  2. The night before, get a good sleep in your own bed.
  3. Do nothing the day of the run apart from some gentle stretching.

Unfortunately, my actual schedule looked like this :

  1. 6 x 10km runs and loads of travel in the week before.
  2. An overnight flight from Sao Tome. In economy.
  3. 4 hours walking round Lisbon in the hot sun.

There were about 30 of us at the start of the run and we set off downhill from the Dolce Vita shopping centre.

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Which seemed OK until Bruno pointed out the hill top that was our target – and I realised that every metre downhill was another metre we’d have to climb later.

Eventually we got to the start point and everyone set their watches. And then we began to climb. Followed by some more climbing. Then some more. And finally some more.

A lot of it was pretty steep and, over time, we’d separated out into smaller groups. As we neared the top I was running with one other person. And when we finally got to the top, we couldn’t see anyone else. So we turned round, headed back downhill and bumped into a runner. Turned out we’d gone the wrong way and done an extra 400m of uphill. Aaargh!

Back on the correct path, we completed a downhill section before a shorter but even steeper climb. I swear my legs were about to collapse under me when we finally came out on a flat stretch. And found the rest of the group waiting for us.

It wasn’t too bad after that and the final downhill was actually quite exhilarating with everyone picking up speed.

When we got to the end point I checked my Garmin and discovered that , although it felt like we’d run a marathon, in fact we’d only covered 8.25km. My legs weren’t too keen on the idea of another 1.75km of running but, thankfully, a few of the other runners kept me company.

Bruno, I can’t tell you that I enjoyed the run. But the company and welcome were great. Thank you correr lisboa!

Bruno, and everyone else who ran that evening, you are formally invited to the UK leg of Run the World in London on July 4th 2020. Most of us will be running on Hampstead Heath but I will create a special route for Bruno taking in Highgate Hill, West Hill, Fitzroy Park and Swains Lane. The names won’t mean anything to you but they are some of the most notorious climbs in London. Revenge will be mine!

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Portugal [puɾtuˈɣal] is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe. It is bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Portugal is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. The Pre-CeltsCeltsCarthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples.

Portugal as a country was established during the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Despite attempts at independence since its foundation as a county in 868, only after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128, where Portuguese forces led by Afonso Henriques defeated forces led by his mother, Theresa of Portugal, the County of Portugal affirmed its sovereignty and Afonso Henriques styled himself Prince of Portugal. He would later be proclaimed King of Portugal at the Battle of Ourique in 1139 and was recognised as such, by neighbouring kingdoms, on the Treaty of Zamora, in 1143.[

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias‘ sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope (Cabo da Boa Esperança) (1488), Vasco da Gama‘s discovery of the sea route to India (1497–98) and the European discovery of Brazil(1500).

During this time, Portugal monopolized the spice trade, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, the Industrial Revolution, the Seven Years’ War, the country’s occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of Brazil (1822), erased to an extent Portugal’s prior opulence.

After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, later being superseded by the Estado Novo right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, ending the Portuguese Colonial War.

Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories. The handover of Macau to China in 1999 marked the end of what can be considered the longest-lived colonial empire.

Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, a legacy of 300 million Portuguese speakers, and many Portuguese-based creoles. A member of the United Nations and the European Union, Portugal was also one of the founding members of NATO, the eurozone, the OECD, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

Portugal is a developed country with a high-income advanced economy and high living standards. It is the 4th most peaceful country in the world, and its state is the 15th most stable one, maintained under a unitary semi-presidential republican form of government. Additionally, the country ranks highly in terms of democracy (10th), social progress (20th), prosperity (25th), press freedom (14th), moral freedom (3rd), LGBTI rights (7th in Europe), ease of doing business (29th)[  and road network (3rd).

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Portugal – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $205.2 bn 2016 $118.4 bn 2000
         
Population 10.3 m 2016 10.3 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 105% 2016 122% 2000
         
CO2 Emissions** 4.3 2014 6.1 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 81.1 yrs 2016 76.3 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $19850 2016 $12140 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Portugal performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – 49th

Per Capita Cup – 38th

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

 

 

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Run 155 : Sao Tome and Principe

 

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Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 27th September, 2018

Time : 48’ 24” (fastest time in West Africa)

Number of runners (total to date) : 17 (2451)

Total distance run to date : 1550 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105894

“Does sex count as physical activity?”

I get a huge range of questions at my school talks but this one, from a Y 12 student at the Liceu Nacional in Sao Tome, was a first.

I asked him how long he spent having sex each day and he held up three fingers. Assuming he meant three minutes, I pointed out that he would need to have sex 20 times a day to achieve the recommended one hour of daily activity.

He then claimed he meant three hours – and his classmates fell about laughing.

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As regular readers will be aware, I always enjoy the school talks. Not least because they often throw up something unexpected. Only the day before, in Luanda, someone had asked me if I had cancer…

This talk had been organised, and translated, by Alex who, along with her mother Jane (the UK’s honorary consul in Sao Tome) had arranged everything.

Jane and her husband Peter had picked me up at the airport at 1 am that morning and put me up for the night in their brand new hotel – the Emoyeni Gardens. Which is very nice – full of light, spacious, tastefully decorated rooms with a garden and pool attached

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And that’s where we started the run. All told there were about 15 of us and we set off along the coast road following a pink pick-up truck driven by Alex.

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It was a beautiful evening, the course was flat and the athletes, whom Alex had invited to join the run, were straining at the leash. A combination that persuaded me to drop my original plan for a sensible 55 minute run and push on a bit.

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We started at a 5 min / km pace and, helped by the occasional splash of bath temperature sea water as the waves hit the sea wall, accelerated towards a 4.30 pace. Which was quite fast enough for me although, looking at the footage shot by Alex of us all running, I have a feeling my fellow runners wouldn’t have noticed a 3.30 pace….

Having run north for 5km we turned round and ran back 5 km to the Emoyeni Gardens, finishing in 48’ 24”. Everything I saw on the run reinforced the impression that Sao Tome is, as people had told me elsewhere in Africa, a rather lovely chilled out place.

Working on the assumption that most readers probably wouldn’t be familiar with Sao Tome – it seems to make most lists of the top ten least visited countries in the world – I asked Alex if she would be so kind as to take plenty of photos / video during the run. Here’s a small selection :

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Run over, there was just time for a few more photos, some re hydration, for me to wring pints of sweat out of my Run the World top, a fast shower and pack before Alex

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took me back to the airport for the overnight flight to Lisbon.

I remarked to Jane, Peter and Alex at the time that they’d picked me up, put me up, arranged a school talk and a run, and that, as the slogan goes, all they got in return was a lousy t shirt. Well that’s not strictly true. They also get my huge thanks for a wonderful 20 hours in Sao Tome. I kind of fell for the place and hope to be back one day!

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

São Tomé and Principe is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 kilometres (87 miles) apart and about 250 and 225 kilometres (155 and 140 miles) off the northwestern coast of Gabon, respectively.

The islands were uninhabited until their discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Gradually colonised and settled by the Portuguese throughout the 16th century, they collectively served as a vital commercial and trade center for the Atlantic slave trade. The rich volcanic soil and close proximity to the Equator made São Tomé and Príncipe ideal for sugar cultivation, followed later by cash crops such as coffee and cocoa; the lucrative plantation economy was heavily dependent upon imported African slaves. Cycles of social unrest and economic instability throughout the 19th and 20th centuries culminated in peaceful independence in 1975. São Tomé and Príncipe has since remained one of Africa’s most stable and democratic countries.

With a population of 199,910 (2016 estimate), São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African sovereign state after Seychelles, as well as the smallest Portuguese-speaking country. Its people are predominantly of African and mestiço descent, with most practising Roman Catholicism. The legacy of Portuguese rule is also visible in the country’s culture, customs, and music, which fuse European and African influences.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Sao Tome and Principe – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $354.2 m 2016 $71.6 m 2001
         
Population 200 k 2016 139 k 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 110% 2016 102% 1999
         
CO2 Emissions** 0.59 2014 0.34 2000
         
% below poverty line*** 66.2% 2010 68.3 % 2000
         
Life expectancy at birth 66.6 yrs 2016 63.3 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $1730 2016 $570 2003

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Angola performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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Run 154 : Angola – Luanda

bty

Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 25th September, 2018

Time : 55’ 00”

Number of runners (total to date) : 17 (2451)

Total distance run to date : 1540 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105855

Media :

http://www.vivreenangola.com/agenda/2018/09/run-the-world-course-contre-le-cancer/

https://www.facebook.com/UKinAngola/

https://www.facebook.com/VivreEnAngola/

Sometimes, quite often in fact, I feel honoured by the support Run the World receives around the world. Angola was no exception.

We were at the Fortaleza de Sao Miguel overlooking downtown Luanda.

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The British Embassy including Ambassador Jessica Hand and Deputy Head of Mission Matt Shouler were there. Georg Schlactenberger (ex International Paralympic Committee) and a number of para-athletes were there.

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The Liga Angolana Contra O Cancro was there.

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And a TV crew.

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There were about 17 of us runners at the start – gracefully set off on our way by the Ambassador.

bty

Down the hill from the Fortaleza to the waterfront chatting to Matt. A man after my own heart, he’s visited a huge number of countries and later suggested that I should also visit Macau and the Faroe Islands as they’re both members of the Paralympic movement (but not the Olympic movement). Hmm…two more places to run…

Back to the run where we’d split into groups. We passed the fishermen in Luanda Bay

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and ran out onto the Ilha da Cabo. Here’s my group at the exercise station on the beach.

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Back into town and up the hill to finish at the British Embassy which is right next to the Fortaleza. All in all, a really nice run on a cool morning taking in the Fortaleza, the bay, the beach and downtown Luanda. Couldn’t have been much better.

More pictures (pls see below) and media interviews ensued

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and then juices and t shirt presentations under the tree planted (allegedly) by Livingstone a couple of centuries ago. An excellent end to an excellent morning.

bdr

The next day I went to E.S.C.O.L.A., an English language school in Luanda. (For security reasons, the photo below of some of the students only shows the back of their heads.)

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Regular readers will know how much I enjoy these school talks. One of the best bits is the Q&A when the students always seem to be able to come up with a new question. In this case, a boy asked me if I had cancer.

Well, I have had cancer – and very much hope that I don’t currently have it. But if I do get it again, I really hope that someone, somewhere has come up with an effective treatment. Which I guess is the point of donating to Cancer Research!

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to the Ambassador, to her husband Robert,

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to Matt, Tassia, Arlindo and Thais ; to Georg for all the hospitality and help ;

to the para-athletes and everyone else who joined the run ;

bdr

to Luzmila and Beth from the  Liga Angolana Contra O Cancro ;

bty

to Gillian, Sharon and all the staff and students at E.S.C.O.L.A.

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If any of you can make it to London for the UK leg of Run the World on July 4th 2020 then it’d be great to see you !

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Angola is a west-coast country of southcentral Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.

Although inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, what is now Angola was moulded by Portuguese colonisation. It began with, and was for centuries limited to, coastal settlements and trading posts established starting in the 16th century. In the 19th century, European settlers slowly and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior. The Portuguese colony that became Angola did not have its present borders until the early 20th century because of resistance by groups such as the Cuamato, the Kwanyama and the Mbunda.

After a protracted anti-colonial struggle, independence was achieved in 1975 as the Marxist–Leninist People’s Republic of Angola, a one-party state supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The civil war between the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the insurgent anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), supported by the United States and apartheid South Africa, lasted until 2002. The sovereign state has since become a relatively stable unitarypresidential constitutional republic.

Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is among the fastest-growing in the world, especially since the end of the civil war; however, the standard of living remains low for most of the population, and life expectancy in Angola is among the lowest in the world, while infant mortality is among the highest. Angola’s economic growth is highly uneven, with most of the nation’s wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.[

Angola is a member state of the United NationsOPECAfrican Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, and the Southern African Development Community. A highly multi-ethnic country, Angola’s 25.8 million people span tribal groups, customs, and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Angola – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $95.4 bn 2016 $9.13 bn 2000
         
Population 28.8 m 2016 16.4 m 2000
         
Primary school enrolment* 119% 2011 71% 1998
         
CO2 Emissions** 1.29 2014 0.58 2000
         
% below poverty line*** NA NA
         
Life expectancy at birth 61.5 yrs 2016 47.1 yrs 2000
         
GNI per capita $3450 2016 $360 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Angola performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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Run 153 : Republic of Congo – Brazzaville

rtw rc 1

Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 23rd September, 2018

Time : 57’ 41”

Number of runners (total to date) : 1 (2434)

Total distance run to date : 1530 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105812

Kinshasa – capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo – and Brazzaville – capital of the Republic of Congo – are the two closest capital cities in the world. Separated by a few kilometres and the Congo river .

You’d think it would be easy to travel between the two. Surely you just drive across the bridge? But the two countries are bitter rivals and there isn’t a bridge. (Apparently, the UN researches the issue every three years and concludes that a bridge isn’t feasible.)

How about flying then? Luke ‘the ever patient travel agent’ couldn’t find a flight that made sense.

You can, however, go by ferry or speedboat. But, even though I’ve done it, I couldn’t tell you how to do it. In fact, the only advice I can give you is : don’t attempt it if you’re not a local. Unless, like me, you really have to.

Thanks to Gregory and the Running Club de Kinshasa, Mr Ali from the Djambo agency helped me with the Kinshasa end of the journey.

He picked me up at 8 and we walked down to the docks together. And then the madness began. We were immediately surrounded by people, some in uniforms and some not.

I can’t tell you what happened next because Mr Ali packed me off to a waiting room where I sat for 2 hours while he sorted out tickets and ‘les formalites’.

At 10.30, much later than I’d hoped, I clambered onto the local ferry, put on a life jacket,

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and crossed the mighty Congo river.

We disembarked at Congo Brazzaville. Where the madness started again.

Rightly or wrongly (I’m not sure I had much choice in the matter), I put myself in Mbizi’s hands.

Mbizi promptly informed me that all Mr Ali’s careful instructions were wrong. ‘Les formalites’ were actually more expensive than I’d been told (though, to be fair, not that much more expensive.)

Mbizi then inserted himself in a bewildering array of queues and eventually it seemed that we were through. Ah no, those were the port formalities. I now needed to clear immigration. Who told me that I needed a letter of invitation failing which, a substantial payment might be necessary.

At this point I stood my ground and pointed out that I had a visa that I’d paid his Embassy a lot of money for in London. He could care less…

A stand-off appeared to develop when suddenly I was free to go through. Mbizi also did a bit of shouting which may have done the trick.

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By now it was 11.20 and I had been variously told that Brazzaville port closed at 12 am, 1pm and 3pm on a Sunday. In short, it was far from clear that I had the time to complete my run and make it back in time for the return trip to Kinshasa. Which was a slight issue as I only had my running gear with me..

I set off in the direction of the Corniche, and almost immediately passed a painted 10km on the road – which I told myself was a good sign.

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The Corniche is closed on a Sunday and would have made a nice place for a run if I hadn’t been so worried about the time. I made it as far as the Chinese funded bridge (almost all new construction in this part of the world seems to be Chinese) and then retraced my steps..

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I got back to the port at 12.00, having done 7.3 km, and managed to get hold of some of Mbizi’s team. The general opinion seemed to be that I had a bit more time so I completed my 10km and recommenced ‘les formalites’.

You’ve got the picture by now so I’ll just say that I was mightily relieved when I got my passport and vaccination certificate booklet (‘la jaune’) back and boarded the speedboat to Kinshasa.

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Needless to say, getting back into Kinshasa wasn’t easy but eventually I tracked down a by now somewhat worried Mr Ali. This time it only took half an hour and Mr Ali bundled me into a taxi back to the hotel.

I was just beginning to relax when the taxi driver shouted out a warning and wound up my window. We were surrounded by a gang of thieves and their leader had just come up to my window…

Once my window was up they decided to move on. In the same direction we were going. You could see people on the street, and the security outside local businesses, tense up.

I was shepherded back to my hotel – by now very clear why visitors are advised to be cautious about where and when they walk in Kinshasa.

For what it’s worth, if you’re considering going there, Brazzaville is, by all accounts, much safer and calmer than Kinshasa. Just stay clear of the port…

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Republic of the Congo also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply the Congo, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by five countries: Gabon to the west; Cameroon to the northwest; the Central African Republic to the northeast; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southeast; the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to the south; and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest.

The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes at least 3,000 years ago, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. Congo was formerly part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa.The Republic of the Congo was established on the 28th of November 1958 but gained independence from France in 1960. In 1970, the People’s Republic of the Congo was established as a Marxist–Leninist one-party state; this lasted until 1991. The sovereign state has had multi-party elections since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War, and President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who first came to power in 1979, has ruled for 33 of the past 38 years.

The Republic of the Congo has become the fourth-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea, providing the country with a degree of prosperity despite political and economic instability in some areas and unequal distribution of oil revenue nationwide. Congo’s economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, and economic growth has slowed considerably since the post-2015 drop in oil prices.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for the Republic of Congo – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $7.83 bn 2016 $3.22 bn 2000
Population 5.13 m 2016 3.23 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 104% 2012 86% 1999
CO2 Emissions** 0.64 2014 0.33 2000
% below poverty line*** 46.5% 2011 50.7% 2004
Life expectancy at birth 64.6 yrs 2016 51.4 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $1700 2016 $550 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how the Republic of Congo performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

 

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Run 152 : DRC – Kinshasa

rtw drc 5

Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 22nd September, 2018

Time : 54’ 39”

Number of runners (total to date) : 30 (2433)

Total distance run to date : 1520 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105779

Just about my least favourite part of visiting a new country is the airport transfer. What’s the best way to get to your hotel? How much should you pay? Do you need local currency? Is it safe?

It doesn’t help that you’re often tired after a flight and surrounded by people clamouring to ‘help’…

And it also doesn’t help if the country in question seems to have been somewhere between civil war and crisis for most of your adult life…

So it was a great pleasure to walk through customs in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and be met by someone who whisked me off to an air conditioned room to wait for my luggage to be collected. And then to be driven to my hotel through some of the liveliest street life I’ve seen to date. (No pic of the street life I’m afraid – I took a picture from my taxi in Lagos and a man got very angry and started to thump the car.)

All of this had been arranged by Gregory and the Running Club de Kinshasa. As was just about everything else during my time in Kinshasa including the Saturday morning city tour with Djambo.

We started at the train station and the fresco commemorating the 132 Europeans and 1800 African and Asian lives lost while building the first railway line. (You get the sense the European deaths may have been more carefully recorded…)

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From there to Laurent Kabila’s statue (pls see Facts & Stats below for more on Kabila who replaced the notoriously corrupt Mobutu as the country’s leader in 1997 )

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and mausoleum in the closed off part of the city centre

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and then on to the Musee National de Kinshasa with its historic artefacts inside and colonial era works – including a huge statue of Stanley (famous for finding Livingstone and infamous for his part in King Leopold of Belgium setting up a personal colony in the the DRC – again pls see Facts & Stats below)  – outside.

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They also arranged the run that evening which featured about 30 of us in total including Ambassador John Murton, Nick and Nico from the British embassy.

The route took us through the Gombe district – the westernised part of town that’s home to most of the Embassies and NGOs. And a very nice run it was too taking in the Congo river,

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a family of pigs

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and some good chats.

Afterwards, some of us went for a drink at the embassy before heading back to homes and hotels.

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Altogether an excellent 24 hours in Kinshasa. Things went downhill from there but that’s for another blog!

In the meantime, it just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Gregory and the Running Club de Kinshasa, and to the Ambassador and Nick and Nico from the British Embassy.

I hope to see you all in London one day, ideally on July 4th 2020 for the UK leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo also known as DR Congo, the DRCCongo-Kinshasa or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. The DRC borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; UgandaRwandaBurundi and Tanzania to the east; Zambia to the south; Angola to the southwest; and the Republic of the Congo and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second-largest country in Africa after Algeria, (the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa) by area and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populated country in Africa and the 16th-most-populated country in the world.

Centred on the Congo Basin, the territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers around 90,000 years ago and was reached by the Bantu expansion about 3,000 years ago. In the west, the Bantu Kingdom of Kongo ruled around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. In the centre and east, the kingdoms of Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century. In the 1870s, just before the onset of the Scramble for Africa, European exploration of the Congo Basin was carried out, first led by Henry Morton Stanley under the sponsorship of King Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Berlin Conference in 1885 and made the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population to produce rubber, and from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of disease and exploitation. In 1908, Belgium, despite initial reluctance, formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo.

The Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960 under the name Republic of the CongoCongolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba was elected the first Prime Minister, while Joseph Kasa-Vubu became the first President. Conflict arose over the administration of the territory, which became known as the Congo Crisis. The provinces of Katanga, under Moïse Tshombe, and South Kasai attempted to secede. After Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for assistance in the crisis, the U.S. and Belgium became wary and oversaw his removal from office by Kasa-Vubu on 5 September and ultimate execution by Belgian-led Katangese troops on 17 January 1961. On 25 November 1965, Army Chief of Staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, who later renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko, officially came into power through a coup d’état. In 1971, he renamed the country Zaire. The country was run as a dictatorial one-party state, with his Popular Movement of the Revolution as the sole legal party. Mobutu’s government received considerable support from the United States, due to its anti-communist stance during the Cold War. By the early 1990s, Mobutu’s government began to weaken. Destabilisation in the east resulting from the 1994 Rwandan genocide and disenfranchisement among the eastern Banyamulenge (Congolese Tutsi) population led to a 1996 invasion led by Tutsi FPR-ruled Rwanda, which began the First Congo War.

On 17 May 1997, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a leader of Tutsi forces from the province of South Kivu, became President after Mobutu fled to Morocco, reverting the country’s name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tensions between President Kabila and the Rwandan and Tutsi presence in the country led to the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003. Ultimately, nine African countries and around twenty armed groups became involved in the war, which resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people. The two wars devastated the country. President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards on 16 January 2001 and was succeeded eight days later as President by his son Joseph.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is extremely rich in natural resources but has had political instability, a lack of infrastructure, issues with corruption and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation with little holistic development. Besides the capital Kinshasa, the two next largest cities Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi are both mining communities. DR Congo’s largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC’s exports in 2012. In 2016, DR Congo’s level of human development was ranked 176th out of 187 countries by the Human Development Index. As of 2018, around 600,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries from conflicts in the centre and east of the DRC. Two million children risk starvation, and the fighting has displaced 4.5 million people. The sovereign state is a member of the United NationsNon-Aligned MovementAfrican Union and COMESA.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for the Democratic Republic of Congo – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $35.0 bn 2016 $19.1 bn 2000
Population 78.7 m 2016 47.1 m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 108% 2015 53.4% 1999
CO2 Emissions** 0.06 2014 0.02 2000
% below poverty line*** 63.9% 2012 69.3% 2004
Life expectancy at birth 59.6 yrs 2016 50.0 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $460 2016 $130 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how the DRC performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – NA

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

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Run 151 : Gabon – Libreville

rtw gabon 11

Please donate generously to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter

Date : 21st September, 2018

Time : 51’ 10”

Number of runners (total to date) : 2 (2403)

Total distance run to date : 1510 km

Run map and details :   https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3051105721

Media :http://gabonreview.com/blog/run-the-world-dan-thompson-a-libreville/

http://gabon.niooz.fr/run-the-world-dan-thompson-a-libreville-27322944.shtml

http://gabonallsport.info/autres-sports/athletisme/907-athletisme-dan-thompson-le-coureur-pour-la-lutte-contre-le-cancer-au-gabon

http://www.africain.info/news=2370660

https://www.facebook.com/ecolerubanvertGabon/

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the First Lady of Gabon, founded the Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation which works in a number of fields including women’s, youth and community initiatives.

The British Embassy team in Libreville thought there might be areas of mutual interest between the Foundation and Run the World – particularly cancer awareness and healthy living education –  and was good enough to contact the Foundation.

Thanks to their introduction, I was invited to give two talks at the Ruban Vert School in Libreville

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one to the senior school

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and one to the junior school (at the top of the blog). School talks are normally great fun and these were no exception.

rtw gabon 10

The junior school had so many questions that the session could have gone on all day.

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Which would have been fine by me except that we were due at the Maison d’Alice (another project supported by the Foundation) at 12.30 and we had a lot to do before then.

Firstly, we were off to the Marathon du Gabon who’d organised a route and a trainer to run with me.

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From their offices we made our way to the seafront and got ready to run. By now it was 10.30.

Those who know me well may snigger in disbelief when they read this, but I greatly dislike being late. And, even with my rudimentary knowledge of Libreville’s geography, I knew we were going to be pushed to complete the run, get back to the hotel, shower and pack, and then get to the Maison d’Alice by 12.30

So I decided that, to give ourselves the best chance of sticking to the schedule, I’d try to complete the 10km in a decent time. That’s a decent time by my standards rather than my trainer’s standard. He’s a 33 minute man ; I am not.

We set off at a reasonable pace along the coastal road (bord de la mer) – which is ideal for running (though I’d advise running early in the morning or in the evening rather than midday-ish..).

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For readers not familiar with Libreville, a little north of where we were running it also has a great beach.

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Back to the run. After about 500m I saw a road sign on my left. To avoid it, I started to swerve right when I realised that my running companion was riding shotgun, a very close shotgun. And that, if I went into to him, he might end up in the road.

A hasty last minute adjustment meant that my left hand caught the road sign. Cue some gouged flesh and three rivulets of blood.

Far more importantly, I’d knocked my Garmin. My Garmin records my runs and is, I guess, the only real proof that I’ve done them. So it has to show that I’ve run 10km. Meaning that we had to start again….

I won’t bore you with the details of the rest of the run but suffice it to say that this was the first of a series of mishaps that, combined with the heat and humidity, meant that it was both a painful run – and a slow one.

And the worst bit about it? My efforts underneath the hot sun were a complete waste of time. The traffic was so bad that I’d have had to set a new world record for us to make the Maison d’Alice on time.

Late though we were (for which many apologies), Jessye and the team at Maison d’Alice

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looked after us extremely well and showed us round with justifiable pride. It’s a beautiful facility for cancer sufferers and their families to stay, relax and give themselves the best chance of fighting cancer.

At the end of the visit, there were a few cameras and a few questions.

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Aided by the ever helpful Patrick who was translating (and fine-tuning) my answers, I was honestly able to say how much I’d enjoyed my time in Gabon and how impressed I was by the Maison d’Alice.

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to the Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation, to Richard Welford and the staff and students at the Ruban Vert School, to Sebastien and Philippe and the Marathon du Gabon, to Jessye and everyone at the Maison d’Alice and to Ambassador Laxton, Marante, Fiacre and Patrick at the British Embassy.

I hope to see you all in London one day, ideally on July 4th 2020 for the UK (and final) leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!

Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Gabon is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 2 million people. Its capital and largest city is Libreville.

Since its independence from France in 1960, the sovereign state of Gabon has had three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions.

Abundant petroleum and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 4th highest HDI[4] and the fourth highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Mauritius, Equatorial Guinea and Seychelles) in the region. GDP grew by more than 6% per year from 2010 to 2012. However, because of inequality in income distribution, a significant proportion of the population remains poor.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Gabon – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $14.01bn 2016 $5.07bn 2000
Population 1.98m 2016 1.23m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 139% 2011 134% 2001
CO2 Emissions** 2.8 2014 3.8 2000
% below poverty line*** NA NA 32.7% 2005
Life expectancy at birth 66.1 yrs 2016 59.3 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $7170 2016 $3090 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Gabon performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – 102nd

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

 

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