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Old 07-28-2010, 12:35 PM   #1
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Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

This review adds some additional comments and a photo followup to Kecia's reviews on our blog; you can read Part I, Part II and Part III on the all new
Amazon.com: Britax Marathon 70 Convertible Car Seat: BabyAmazon.com: Britax Marathon 70 Convertible Car Seat: Baby
. The Marathon 70 replaces the original Britax Marathon that has a 65 pound limit. The weight and height ranges listed are rear-facing for children 5-40 pounds, up to 49 inches tall with a seated shoulder height of 9 to 16.75 inches. Newborns may require an infant insert accessory, sold separately by Britax. It is listed forward-facing for kids from 1 year and 20 pounds up to 70 pounds and 49 inches tall, with a seated shoulder height of 12 to 16.75 inches.

<img src=" />


Since Kecia's reviews are very thorough, I'm just going to post some pros, cons and comparisons and not ramble quite as much as I normally do. Please note that Part II of her review has some additional photos of an older rear-facing child, added after it was published. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I'll finish with additional photos of various kids in the Marathon 70. I may add more in the future so please check back periodically! Please check the blog review links above for lots more photos!

Pros:
  • Same very easy LATCH installs with premium connectors and adjusters on each side, plus no more re-routing of the attachments when switching from rear to front facing and back.
  • Easier harness height adjustment on top while installed; no more rethreading the harness or fiddling with multi-turn knobs on the side
  • Innovative SafeCell design, reinforced harness and steel reinforcement bars promise exceptional frontal crash head excursion and safety performance
  • 3-position recline (one rear, two forward) and 2-position crotch strap that is easily adjustable from the top; both are nice improvements over previous model
  • Rubberized base helps keep carseat in place while installing and means no sharp edges touch the vehicle seat, but the flip side is that this could mask a somewhat loose installation in certain cases, much like a rubber protective mat can do.
  • Forthcoming infant insert should accommodate typical newborns
  • Same soft covers (most styles) are now easier to remove for cleaning
  • 7-year lifespan (up from 6 years)
  • No increase in MSRP and still made in the USA!

Cons:
  • Would have liked increased seated torso height limits for kids in upper height percentiles, especially for rear-facing. I would guess that many kids will outgrow the rear-facing height limits before 40 pounds and the forward-facing height limits by 50-60 pounds, similar to the previous model.
  • The new lockoffs are not as easy or intuitive as the old ones, as you must clamp them first and then tighten the seatbelt. This is balanced by the fact that the lockoffs and seatbelt path are easily accessed from the front. Plus, the lockoffs are optional and may not be needed in many vehicles. They probably become easier after you are familiar with them, but overall seatbelt installations seem pretty typical of most carseats.
  • Would have liked to see LATCH allowed beyond 40 pounds (subject to vehicle manufacturer limitations of course).


Measurements- I know this is what everyone wants to know; how it compares to the old Marathon and other seats. Unfortunately, measurements are subjective. It depends where you place the ruler. Is the cover off? If the cover is on, how hard are you pushing down? If you show photos, does the angle of the camera perspective can make it look quite different than it really is? If you are comparing to another seat, did you match the installation angles? The vehicle seat positions and reclines? Add all these up and you can easily be off by a half inch or even an inch. Anyway, four of us took a look at the new Marathon 70 compared to the original Marathon (that had a Decathlon cover on it in the photos sorry!) and also a Boulevard. It was very hot outside so please keep in mind we were a bit rushed. Photos aside, we generally all agreed on the following (those present will add their own comments if they wish!):
  • Rear Facing Height Limit: The new Marathon 70 looks a lot shorter side by side with the old one. Some of that is because it sits lower in the base. Also, the the new model is more angled so the child's bottom goes deeper into into the seat. Even so, depending on how you measure with the more rounded bottom, we felt the seated torso height based on the top of the outer shell (not the head restraint section) was over one half inch shorter on the new model. It looks slightly more in the photo with the ruler, mostly because the new Marathon 70 shell is farther back from the ruler due to the head rest. Three quarters of an inch shorter in practical use is a subjective estimate, perhaps a bit less depending how you measure.
  • Rear Facing Leg Room: The new Marathon 70 has perhaps one half inch more legroom in a 2005 Sienna. Plus, it is angled a bit more so that may help too. In photos, it is doesn't seem like much difference, but it appeared to be a bit more in person. This could vary in different vehicles.
  • Rear-Facing Installation Room: The new Marathon 70 takes up a little less room than the original when installed at a similar angle and with similar or identical vehicle seat positions and recline. You should gain an inch or more of legroom for a front seat passenger with all else equal.
  • Front Facing Harness Limit: The top harness height setting goes a bit higher on the new one compared to the old one, maybe by one-quarter of an inch or slightly more. It's hard to compare exactly because the slots on the new one seem angled somewhat more than the original, but one of the kids who appeared to have outgrown the original Boulevard still fit with a little room to grow in the new Marathon 70. Our ruler measurements of the new Marathon 70 showed about the same rough increase compared to the original Marathon.
  • Crotch Strap Room: The original Marathon has only one crotch strap setting. The new Marathon 70 has two, easily adjustable from above while installed. The closest setting is a little closer than the original. The outer setting is a couple inches farther out; great for older kids!

Summary:

A great update of a very popular convertible child seat and is arguably one of the easiest to install [with LATCH] and easiest to use. With the optional infant insert, it should last typical kids from birth to around 3 years rear-facing and then forward facing to 5 or 6 years. Of course, it could be more or less for kids who are well above or below the middle percentiles for height or weight. For parents who are committed to keeping their kids rear-facing to 4 years or more, there are probably better choices. For everyone else, I don't think you will be disappointed with all the other improvements and the overall ease-of-use! As for safety, we have no way to compare with other models, but it sounds like Britax has made some great improvements there also. Though relatively expensive among convertibles child seats, the suggested retail price remains unchanged. Given all the enhancements, the Marathon 70 is better value than before and it is still made in the USA!

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Please consider supporting Car-Seat.Org if you decide to purchase by buying through one of our Sponsors or our affiliates like Amazon using our links! While this review mostly pertains to the
Amazon.com: Britax Marathon 70 Convertible Car Seat: BabyAmazon.com: Britax Marathon 70 Convertible Car Seat: Baby
, many aspects carry over to the other new models in the convertible line . These include the basic
Amazon.com: Britax Roundabout 55 Convertible Car Seat: BabyAmazon.com: Britax Roundabout 55 Convertible Car Seat: Baby
that has lower weight/height limits and lacks the no-rethread harness system and easy to remove cover. The
Amazon.Com: Britax Boulevard 70 Convertible Car Seat: BabyAmazon.Com: Britax Boulevard 70 Convertible Car Seat: Baby
has improved head wings for side impact protection and an optional Click & Safe version. Finally, the flagship
Amazon.Com: Britax Advocate 70 CS Convertible Car Seat: BabyAmazon.Com: Britax Advocate 70 CS Convertible Car Seat: Baby
adds innovative external side impact cushions that can absorb energy from intrusion or impact with a door, pillar or adjacent child seat. All these convertibles share the same basic shell and frontal impact safety features. You can see the Advocate (left), Boulevard (center) and SafeCell energy absorbing base cutaway (right) in the photos below.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Advocate70cs.jpg (98.4 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Boulevard70CS.jpg (152.7 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg safecell.jpg (604.6 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg ma70.jpg (232.4 KB, 100 views)
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:11 PM   #2
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 - Short Photo Review DRAFT

Side By Side, Marathon (with Decathlon cover, left) and Marathon 70 (right), then individual photos showing rough measurements of the top harness height setting. Also you can see the crotch strap adjustments. Kecia has photos with the cover removed in her blog reviews linked in the first post.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sidebyside.jpg (415.8 KB, 124 views)
File Type: jpg ma70harness.jpg (401.1 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg maharness.jpg (112.4 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg ma70crotch1.jpg (120.1 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg ma70crotch2.jpg (111.6 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg macrotch.jpg (124.5 KB, 42 views)
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:14 PM   #3
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 - Short Photo Review DRAFT

Front Facing Harness height limit photos.

I will allow the parents to post with the ages, heights and weights of the children along with their comments! We were somewhat rushed. Please consider these photos for comparison purposes only! There may be misuse in some photos that was not intentional and certainly not endorsed by any of those present!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ma70fflimit.jpg (114.8 KB, 104 views)
File Type: jpg ffblvd.jpg (102.0 KB, 99 views)
File Type: jpg ffma70.jpg (125.2 KB, 93 views)
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:17 PM   #4
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 - Short Photo Review DRAFT

The RF seated torso height limit (top of shell) was hard to judge but clearly the old Marathon is taller. You can also see some legroom comparisons. Please keep in mind it was very hot, very humid and we were rushing more than we would have liked to keep the kids and ourselves from overheating or sunburn! I apologize that we were not able to be more thorough. Also, please forgive any errors or misuse and use these photos for reference only. A tall-torsoed 2-year old and a leggy almost-5-year old were both approaching the rear-facing height limit of the Marathon 70. I'd guess most kids will make it to at least 3 years old rear facing then another 2-3 years front facing.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ma70rflimit.jpg (79.5 KB, 119 views)
File Type: jpg marflimit.jpg (58.9 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg ma70rfleg1.jpg (112.9 KB, 103 views)
File Type: jpg marfleg1.jpg (106.1 KB, 95 views)
File Type: jpg ma70rfleg2.jpg (117.9 KB, 99 views)
File Type: jpg marfleg2.jpg (105.9 KB, 95 views)
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:23 PM   #5
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 - Short Photo Review DRAFT

More RF comparisons:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ma70rfleg3.jpg (117.3 KB, 78 views)
File Type: jpg marfleg3.jpg (92.9 KB, 69 views)
File Type: jpg ma70rfleg4.jpg (113.5 KB, 58 views)
File Type: jpg marfleg4.jpg (108.4 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg ma70leg.jpg (119.1 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg maleg.jpg (116.4 KB, 46 views)
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:51 PM   #6
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

My DD (blue shirt and striped pants) is 37 lbs, 41" and 4Y9M. She indicated that she was perfectly comfortable in both seats when she had her legs up - and believe me, she's very verbal and has no problem telling me exactly what's wrong when she's uncomfortable.

I did have a smidge of trouble installing the MA70 RF with the seatbelt, but it turned out that there's an elastic strap under the cover, and the seatbelt latchplate had gotten hung up on it. I think after installing it a couple of times, this would be just as easy to install as the soon-to-be-retired Britax convertibles.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

"YEAH BABY!" LOL cute!

I am disapointed that the shell is shorter, I just can't understand what they were thinking other than making the seat better for forward facing. And to be fair I guess the majority still does not ERF so having a seat that has focused on reducing head exursion numbers is good, I guess, though the best way to reduce those is to keep kids rear facing!!!! The seat looks like it will work better for forward facers than the older models did.

Sad

Oh well I am still excited about my new blvd 70 and it just means that I might get to buy another car seat down the road lol!
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:35 PM   #8
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

The pink shirted forward facer with the long torso in the MA70 is 5Y1M, 45" tall and weighs 48 lbs. Her shoulders are slightly over the MA70's top shoulder harness position and she has outgrown the MA70 by height forward facing. And please pardon the too low "belly clip." We were focusing in this instance specifically on shoulder harness height when installed FF on a very hot and humid August afternoon.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:14 PM   #9
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

My son is the model in the FFacing series. He is 4yrs 5mos, 43.5" tall, 15.5" torso and 43.5lbs. He has outgrown the BLVD by less than an inch. He had about 1" of growth left in the MA70.

My daughter is the toddler with no hair and pink shoes pictured in the RFacing series. She is 2yrs 3 mos, 36.75" tall, 13.5" torso and 35lbs. She measures just over 2" top of head to top of shell in the MA. She measured only about 1.5" top of head to top of shell in the MA70.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:07 AM   #10
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

The pics are great! Thanks everyone!!
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:31 AM   #11
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

Quote:
Originally Posted by yetanotherjen View Post
"YEAH BABY!" LOL cute!

I am disapointed that the shell is shorter, I just can't understand what they were thinking other than making the seat better for forward facing.
Who knows? Perhaps in focus groups most parents were more concerned about front seat legroom and fitting into smaller back seats, so they made a compromise. Just one of many possible reasons I can guess.

I think it's fair to say that we were all hoping for improvements in every area and this one particular area was disappointing. On the other hand, it could also be one of the easiest to "fix". It's not unreasonable to hope they would simply change their guidance on rear facing height limits. After all, these height limits were much more generous when the Marathon and Wizard were first released and only later was the guidance revised with an update to the instructions. Failing that, it's definitely reasonable to hope a future update would improve the product in this area. Look at the tremendous improvements they made on the Frontier 85, many due to customer feedback!

Quote:
And to be fair I guess the majority still does not ERF so having a seat that has focused on reducing head exursion numbers is good, I guess, though the best way to reduce those is to keep kids rear facing!!!! The seat looks like it will work better for forward facers than the older models did.

True- the majority of parents don't keep their kids extended rear facing past 1 year and 20 pounds minimum for forward facing. The overwhelming majority don't go past 2 years, the current point where we have at least one study with limited statistics in the USA to show the safety benefits. It's only a very small percentage of kids that are kept extended rear facing beyond 3 years, the rough point at which many will begin to outgrow the current height limitations on the Marathon70. Granted, the number of kids kept ERF is growing daily with community outreach and education because it is an important safety related issue. In a community like ours, that percentage is obviously much higher due to awareness.

The rear facing height limit is also a "feature" that is directly related to the seat design and not a variable that can be controlled by a parent or technician. That means advocates and techs can focus on this one specific factor as being the most important to them, because other elements relating to installation, fit and ease-of-use become less important due to their personal experience regarding correct use. For most parents, other factors that have to do with fit to the child, fit to the vehicle, ease of installation and overall ease of use are equally important, if not moreso.

Still, how awesome would it be if you could have a rear-facing child up to within 1" of the top of the adjustable head rest in the Boulevard 70 or Advocate 70? I'm sure there will be various critiques to surface about the new Britax convertibles, but this one change could make it an all-around top choice for advocates as well as parents in general! As is, I think it's still a very good choice overall.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:27 PM   #12
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

I actually one of the few that need a seat with a little bit shorter shell than the old version for fit issues in my vehicle. So the headrest extends beyond the shell in the boulevardand there is a possibility that you can use the 1 inch rule with that if the manufacturer says it is ok? I wonder how well the new seat it puzzles with other seats for 3 across situations. There are seveal seats out there with really tall shells and there are people that need shorter shells for fit. We need lots of options. The britaxs seats cost a lot more than I want to spend but I don't see the shell thing as a huge deal. There are people with smaller cars or short kids that it is useful for.
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:07 PM   #13
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 - Short Photo Review DRAFT

Here are some additional photos of the Marathon 70 vs. the original Boulevard CS. This is my son, who is 5 years and 3 months old. He is just over 45" tall and just over 45 pounds. Please take the photos with a grain of salt. Even a slight adjustment in how you hold the ruler or the camera angle can easily make a half inch difference in what you see in the picture. My best estimate using more careful eye measurements is that the outer shell of the new Marathon 70 CS is one-half of an inch shorter than the original Boulevard, as Jeno measured. I think the difference in the top harness height setting is a bit less than I thought, with the new Marathon 70 adjusting perhaps only a hair over one-quarter of an inch higher than the original Boulevard.

My son has room to grow in both seats, a bit more in the Marathon 70. YMMV!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg blvdff1.jpg (376.9 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg ma70ff1.jpg (418.6 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg blvdff2.jpg (132.8 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg ma70ff2.jpg (190.7 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg blvdff3.jpg (164.3 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg ma70ff3.jpg (149.4 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg blvdshell.jpg (138.1 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg ma70shell.jpg (86.0 KB, 28 views)
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:15 PM   #14
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

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I actually one of the few that need a seat with a little bit shorter shell than the old version for fit issues in my vehicle. So the headrest extends beyond the shell in the boulevardand there is a possibility that you can use the 1 inch rule with that if the manufacturer says it is ok? I wonder how well the new seat it puzzles with other seats for 3 across situations. There are seveal seats out there with really tall shells and there are people that need shorter shells for fit. We need lots of options. The britaxs seats cost a lot more than I want to spend but I don't see the shell thing as a huge deal. There are people with smaller cars or short kids that it is useful for.
Sorry for the confusion, my comment was just wishful thinking. At present, according to the manufacturer, you must consider the outer shell for the height limit, not the headrest. If the manufacturer was to change their guidance, then we would go with any new instructions, of course.

The outer shell is about one-half inch shorter in the new model, but the head rest actually extends higher at the top setting. Having lots of options is indeed a great thing so that everyone can find a model that works for their child and their vehicle!
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:23 AM   #15
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

Thanks for all the info! Your DS's hat in the video makes me laugh!
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:16 PM   #16
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

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Thanks for all the info! Your DS's hat in the video makes me laugh!
I was wondering if someone would notice. It matches the Marathon 70 nicely, doesn't it?

DW bought that for my son the day I took the video and now they cannot be separated. He doesn't even have a clue what it says or means, but that's HIS cap now. I just went with the flow lol.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:21 PM   #17
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

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Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
I was wondering if someone would notice. It matches the Marathon 70 nicely, doesn't it?

DW bought that for my son the day I took the video and now they cannot be separated. He doesn't even have a clue what it says or means, but that's HIS cap now. I just went with the flow lol.
LOL! He is very cute. I love the "YEAH, BABY!" comment.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:55 PM   #18
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

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Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
Who knows? Perhaps in focus groups most parents were more concerned about front seat legroom and fitting into smaller back seats, so they made a compromise. Just one of many possible reasons I can guess.
So is it true that it takes less space than the old marathon? Can the front seat be farther back with this seat, even if it's just a little? I have a small back seat and a tall DD so both factors matter to me, but if it's just a little shorter and fits better in our back seat, I might consider it. Thanks for all the pics and info! I have not seen one IRL yet so this is great.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:03 AM   #19
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

Almost certainly less, at least an inch or so if the recline angle and seats and such are all equal. Now that's with the head restraint flush or nearly flush. Extended beyond the shell, things may be different depending on your vehicle!
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:39 AM   #20
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Re: Britax Marathon 70 Review - Photo Followup

Awesome review! Thanks so much Darren! I have a feeling those anti-pre-tension lock-offs are going to create some real misuse issues in the "field."
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