Longlands, Cartmel, Turner Landscape, Grange-over-Sands.

Well we are now in Scotland loving the hospitality of Claire's parents in Hamilton after travelling up from Cartmel, after a morning breakfast in rainy Grange-over-Sands.

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Friday saw us head up to Cartmel for a last minute booking via Sykes Cottages at an undiscovered gem called Longlands, walking distance from the village, where we stayed for three nights in the old Coach House. A much needed break after a hectic week which saw Claire and I start to sort Dad's affairs, me work on the business, and Claire help out.

Cartmel is mostly famous for its racecourse and races, and despite this the village does offer a place to wander via curiosity and vintage shops, see the medieval priory, and hark back to an older Lakeland England of narrow streets, cobbles, tea and scones, and not really giving a fig as to the outside world.

Friday night we bedded in and had a relaxed meal at The Pheasant in Allithwaite; highly recommended and Ted friendly, with lovely staff. Saturday was race day for Claire at the Turner Landscape Fell Race from Turner Hall Farm in the Duddon Valley. A Lakeland classic and in the English Champs calendar for 2018, and thus over 300 runners. Roughly 11 miles and 3k feet of cumulative climb on what was a warm day with little breeze. Claire, Sandrine, Monica, Tanya, and Chris all competing from the Saddleworth Runners.

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The girls delivered a sterling effort for team Saddleworth whilst Ted and I dragged ourselves up a long Walna Scar Road to watch from Dow Crag, and it was a climb and a half with us both not realising it is over 2k feet climb from Turner Hall Farm to Dow Crag over 3 miles. That said we sat down and enjoyed the runners trotting by, to then make our way back down.

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Dinner was fish and chips in an absolutely rain drowned Grange-over-Sands, nice mind you, and then back to the cottage for sleepy Claire to rest her head in the four poster bed that we decided was "indoors camping".

Sunday was relaxed and we commenced a walk to the top Hampsfell that Longlands sits directly under, aiming for the Hospice that was build years ago by one of the previous estate inhabitants. It's a tower with a view, and shelter with a heath for weary walkers and on top you can use the equivalent of a compass to see all the major fells as you look into The Lakes. Cartmel technically sits outside of The Lakes, situated close to the sea and out of the fells. A potter then occurred, with a brief interlude to hide from the rain as we headed for Cartmel to sample the shops and a visiting antiques fair, with a bite to eat and coffee. A cross country walk back across fields saw us back at the cottage with only one incident involved Ted being chased by a cow protecting its calves; it was noteworthy to see how fast Ted can shift when he wants to, mind you it was one big cow that had taken a dislike, and unusually for Ted he did not query or ignore size in this clearly one sided instance.

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A dinner at the cottage then saw us bed down for the night, before the drive to Scotland, first taking in breakfast and then a wander in Grange-over-Sands at the rather (but dog friendly, as long as you observe the rules) posh Hazelmere. The wander was good as Ted and I escaped The Boss to bimble off onto the Salt Marshes, chatting to a local, well he comes originally from Milnrow, about the sands and the tides. He explained he was waiting to watch tidal bore and so we waited with him transfixed at what was to come; while all of this was going on (in the rain, but armed with a brolly) we watched as his female collie decided Ted was a sheep that needed herding. Ted was not happy.

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The tidal bore, whilst not wild or high, was frighteningly relentless as it moved toward Arnside. A huge volume of water, faster than a man can run engulfed the sands and you would not have stood a chance if out there as the sea would have consumed you or trapped you with its vicious currents. It was fascinating to watch but chilling. It is true what they say about the sands of Morcambe Bay, they are lethal.

Flickr photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgMez9j

 

Recce of Saddleworth Round, Navigational Jinx, and the Cracken Edge Fell Race

Last week saw some action packed running antics, Monday 30th July was a recce of the Saddleworth Round fell race, Tuesday was a navigational race with club members, and Wednesday saw the Cracken Fell Race from Hayfield.

Monday, Claire and I ventured out on what was a hot day, hot with a bit of cloud, to recce the Saddleworth Round, a new fell race being organised by the Saddleworth Runners. We started off above Uppermill and Diggle at Running Hill Gate and Running Hill Lane, and made our way to the summit of Alderman above Dove Stone Reservoir, dropped to Dove Stone, then up Ashway Gap which was hot and humid to then head for Fox Stone, with a fast run down to Dove Stone. Weather still good. The climb up to Chew Reservoir took a while, and so we began to cross to Laddow Rocks, at this point the heavens opened with driving rain, that changeable, which required cags to keep warm. It's a long old drag to Black Hill, and then a long run down from Black Hill via the old Pennine Way route to the Holmfirth Road. You then cross to pick up the Cotton Famine Road to head back, which proved to be quite a long drag on tired legs as the race is over 16 miles with 3k of cumulative climb. A good experience and recce before the race on Sunday.

Tuesday was the traditional club night with a difference. Jim Butt kindly organised an orienteering event around Dove Stone (back there again) utilising the fixed orienteering locations. All in all good fun, but if honest I was out of practice, running solo, and rushing too much which led to some terrible navigation and thus timekeeping within a 1.5 hour allowance, suffice to say I ended up mid-way down the scoring. But had a good run. Matters became complicated on realising as I headed back to the finish that I had lost my mobile phone when taking a tumble at a checkpoint above Dove Stone in ridiculously deep tussocks and grass (note to self, where were the sheep?) I borrowed Ron Gilmour's iPhone to find the exact location and off I ran with fading light leaving the others behind. On getting back to the tussocks it became apparent that whilst I might be in the right location, finding the phone was the proverbial needle in a haystack... Thankfully I remembered my Garmin watch is able to get the iPhone to make a noise. So after wandering about to Bluetooth connect both, I pinged the phone and luckily found it buried in a tussock - very lucky indeed.

Wednesday Ted and I went on an adventure to head back to the same site, with my having lost a Staedtler pen when trying to find the phone; a comedy of errors. No pen could be found and Ted had an ordeal in the grass.

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Wednesday, having the taste for running led me to head for the Cracken Edge Fell Race over in Hayfield at 7.30pm in the evening and run by the Kinder Mountain Rescue Team as a fund raiser. I arrived there later than planned and was the last runner to sign up, with a dash to the start, of which I had no clue; by the time I arrived the runners were formed, over 200 of them. I was a good 50 metres away when the horn sounded... I was literally the last runner. There was no choice in stiflingly hot weather but to leg it past runners up an initially tight track. Plenty of "excuse me" and darting between bodies. I ended up finishing 86th out of 220 runners, so I managed to pass 134 runners, all in all quite pleased in tough conditions on a fast race, but I won't be repeating that again. The race is 7 miles with 1.5k feet of climb and as I said fast.

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(Whilst all of this was going on, in the background was the knowledge that my father had been in hospital since 23rd August, having picked up a serious infection.)

 

 

Inglebrough fell race, Gareth Evans, and a dog bike ride. Swallows and Amazons Cobley style

Whilst the Cat is away, the Mice will play... El Dude brothers had a smashing weekend whilst Claire Cobley is in Scotland.

So, we reminisce over a rather busy weekend. Saturday started prompt and early with a car trip from Mossley to Ingleton, with Stu Hutchison, Brenda Roberts, and Jon Comyn-Platt as passengers. Lovely trip up, with setting off early getting us to the venue early and thus parking, minimal "faffage", and token stress. It was a party atmosphere as the village green was full of festival goings on including a open ambulance and fire engine. (Sadly more on this to come.)

After munching food and arranging kit, and aggressively being stamped for a £2 entrance fee by the Women's Institute, we made our way to the field of "glory", soon to be "gory" as it was notably warm and close, or as my Nana would have said "clammy".

It was quite an assembled field with runners sporting a number of club colours. It was at this point that the race was delayed as the fire engine and ambulance upped sticks and shot off like a bat out of hell.

The festival organisers run the race as part of the festival and it was clear it was going to be minimal when adhering to fell running etiquette, with for example the start being a prompt ten second count down after runners were told "we are now getting on with it."

How was the start? Everyone went off like the fire engine and ambulance, i.e. like a bat out of hell. It was a fast dash up the high street to dodge startled tourists and shoppers, with need of the pavement at times. I knew it would be fast as the "Gradwell Gopher" had shot off. I have walked many times up Inglebough from Ingleton using the route of the race, the common ascent to Ingleborough North West from Ingleton, via A Pennine Journey, an unusual and pleasantly named route.

Well, fell running the route up was not pleasant at a "hoofing it" pace, in what soon became very close heat, with strangely Ingleborough summit shrouded in clag. It was only going to get hotter, and thankfully I'd changed from an Ultimate vest to my old faithful, the Pete Bland bum bag.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1718338995

It's fast paced due to the terrain, with you reaching nearly 2k feet at the summit over a three mile pelt. About half way into the climb, Stu Hutchison the "Hurricane", caught up with me and "cheerfully" said it's hot. Yours truly was mulling over how in the space of a month he was climbing hard over distance in humid heat, having not long run the Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit race on the Isle of Man. At this point Stu soldiered on and the little monkey pulled away ever so slightly, refusing to walk up Ingleborough which then starts to slowly, surreptitiously, and cheekily climb up, with about three false summits. Near the top the Gopher cheerily bobbed down at quite a speed on what is tough rocky terrain with your not being able to use the path due to later runners climbing up. I caught Stu as we turned at the Trig point, with the summit clag bound and very cool indeed, soothing and needed, as we'd not really had a breeze, but all in all strange Yorkshire weather conditions. It was at this point that I took the eye off the ball whilst watching "Hurricane", caught a stone, flew, and ended up in a heap scratched and battered on a leg and arm. It was then a very very fast downhill to chase Stu and other runners with the initial phase very steep and rocky as you avoided runners ascending the summit. A few "hellos" on the way down and it became warm again. Toward the end and about a mile or more from Ingleton I developed a stich from hell and began to drop back, with a slight recovery to pelt it back to the village field, with no sight of Stu; turns out he was a minute ahead, and Gopher a full seven minutes.

The race in looking back was excellent and fun, but not to be underestimated at 6.8 miles. The festival a real taste of England in the sun. The camaraderie good as we waited and cooled down for other runners. The prize giving and results "interesting" from non-fell runners, and certainly had a taste of Monty Python as they were read out to the over powering noise from the DJ tent of the latest "youth" beats. We therefore decided to bugger off home. Sadly we had to take a diversion off the A65 due to an incident, to re-join below Ingleton to see the aftermath of a truly awful road crash between two vehicles, which looked like a head on collision. This must have explained the rapid departure of the ambulance and fire engine earlier...

On returning home, there was food, some work, a shower, and then off out to support Gareth Evan's 2.5 loops of the Oldham Ultra at 100 miles, with 10k feet of climb. Around 3.30am I met Gareth, Mark, Chris, and some French Bird that would not leave Ted alone. The support ended being around five hours with a walk/run to Hartshead Pike before saying goodbye to the lads and heading home. Ted and I had walked 15 miles in the early hours of Sunday.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1719206910

If you can support Gareth Evans, then please do, as the Oldham Ultra challenge is one of a few as he raises money for Mind, the mental health charity. See https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gareth-evans5in5

To finish off the weekend's fun, Ted and I took a leisurely ten mile bike ride to collect the car utilising the "Tedmobile" with sausages at Daisy Nook café for fuel.

PHOTOS: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmoPyrsf

Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit Fell Race on the Isle of Man.

A write up after an amazing time over the weekend at the Isle of Man, with Claire Cobley, Ruth, Stu and Findlay Hutchison, Sean Willis and Suzanne Darke.

Saturday 14th July saw the Kate Burge fell race in memory of Kate who was sadly killed whilst cycling home from work on the Isle of Man in 2014. It was also an English Championships race in the 2018 fell running calendar. It starts in Laxey on the east cost of the island and climbs to Snaefell, the highest point of the island. It's a one way route of 8.5 miles and a staggering 3.8k feet of cumulative climb, across this distance and rough moorland terrain on climbing out of Laxey. The first three miles see a solid climb from the promenade to Sileau Roy at 396 metres above sea level, so a solid 1,500 feet climb from sea level right at the start. It's hard, and it's called the Sea to Summit for a reason. Saturday? Solid sunlight, with temperatures around 25 degree C, which made for tricky conditions on the first climb. There are three very hard climbs in the race: Clagh Ouyr, Mullagh Ouyr (the hardest due to tired legs and horrific heat), and the last climb to the summit of Snaefell.

Saddleworth Runners fielded three ladies: Claire Cobley, Ruth Hutchison, and Suzanne Darke. Three men: Peter Cobley, Chris Davies, and Sean Willis. The rest of the pack? Some of the best fell runners in the UK... gulp.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1701913733

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/d4w28X

Kate Burge Sea-to-Summit: http://www.katesrace.co.uk/ and Results for 2018.

All had a cracking weekend initially arriving late on Friday from the catamaran ferry from Liverpool into Douglas at the B&B outside Peel around 11.15pm. Stu, Ruth, Finlay, and myself in one car, with Suzanne and Sean on foot camping outside Douglas. The B&B is a working farm called Knockaloe Beg Farm, that also has people visiting to see the animals and play; see the footage of me on the self-propelled go karts! It was and is a fantastic place in which to relax with excellent facilities, warmth and comfort, and lovely owners. We could not have asked more from Fiona.

Saturday was taken up with the race and the food and music festival after the race laid on for the runners in Laxey on a blazing summer evening. Finlay Hutchison was the small star of the proceedings and went with the flow of being shuttled about in a mostly graceful manner. We delighted in hearing him say "no" or "more"! It was also nice to unexpectedly bump into Chris Davies and his wife; as ever he was on good form.

One highlight was waiting for the tram back from Snaefell with lots of fell runners, bewildered tourists, and then a nice walk back to the promenade in Laxey.

Running Leg 3 of the Bob Graham Round as support, and Kilian Jornet.

The weekend just gone was amazing for a variety of reasons. The weather, the location, the running, the history being made.

 

Many, unless a fell runner, won't necessarily know about the Bob Graham Round, or the Bob Graham Club. Let me explain... Back in 1932 a Keswick Hotelier, with support from two friends, broke the Lakeland Fell record by traversing 42 fells in The Lake District in 24 hours. He was called Bob Graham, hence the name of the Round. It is classed as the pinnacle of fell running in the UK. Since then over 2,000 people have completed the Round, with many attempts failing. The route is a 66 mile circuit from the Keswick Moot Hall and back again, normally completed clockwise, climbing the 42 names fells, with 27,000 feet of cumulative climb - it is hard, in fact it is a super human feat.

Over the years the route has been refined and developed, with people able to run with support teams, GPS, known routes and so forth. But it is still a severe challenge. The route is broken into five distinct legs (Chris and Des's running support in brackets.)

It is highly planned with support crews meeting the runners at the change of legs. Food is taken on board, shoes changed, with minimum amount of time expended. Cars and people need to be shipped all over the place. Normally a runner on each leg as an absolute minimum will have one person navigating, and another carrying water, food, and kit - the "donkey".

Leg 1: Keswick to Threlkeld. (Richard Mackey, Nick Haynes, Sean Willis, Ed Steele)

Leg 2: Threlkeld to Dunmail. (Richard Mackey, Simon Jump, Ryan Townrow)

Leg 3: Dunamail to Wasdale. (Paul Taylor, Peter Cobley, and Gaynor Keane)

Leg 4: Wasdale to Honister. (Ozzy Kershaw, Scott Newburn, Ed Steele)

Leg 5: Honister to Keswick. (Martyn Hodgson, Monica Boland, Sandrine Fraisse, Jill Davies)

(I've not mentioned all the people who supported in between legs, drove, and provided moral support. It was and is a huge effort. Just look at the Flickr photos.)

The fastest run to date (until the weekend) had been by a famous fell runner called Billy Bland at 13 hours 53 minutes and stood from 1982; yes, that time over that distance and climb, and that's fell runners for you. Unassuming, never heard of, amateur, get on with it. The women's record is currently that set by Jasmin Paris in 2016 at 15 hours 24 minutes.

Over the weekend, Chris Smith and Des Thorpe attempted the Bob Graham Round, setting off from Keswick Moot Hall at 7pm on Friday 7th July. They are members of the Saddleworth Runners, the fell running club I run for. They had 24 hours in which to complete the leg. I myself was running Leg 3 in support. At 6am on Saturday 8th July a person called Kilian Jornet set off with support - he's a famous mountain runner in our circles. More on him to come.

Myself and Leg 3

I was over the moon and nervous after my wife said I'd run as a Donkey on Leg 3. This particular leg is viewed as the hardest due to length and climb, approximately 17 miles and 7,000 feet of cumulative climb, taking in Steel Fell, Bow Fell, Scafell Pike, and Sca Fell.

We arrived at the handover point of Legs 2 and 3 at Dunmail Raise at 2.45am Saturday morning, and saw support crews gathered and headtorches coming off Seat Sandal as others were also attempting the Round.

We picked up the lads and were then off, straight up Steel Fell. It was already hot by 7.15am and this made the running hard, oh so hard. I'll let the pictures tell the story, but it was magical, with a clear day giving unbridled views of The Lakes at their best.

It was an honour to run with Des and Chris as support on Leg 3. Paul Taylor's navigation was "bob on", with Gaynor and I as "Donkey's". The packs were heavy: I myself carried gloves, hat, waterproof top and bottoms, bivvy bag, head torch, emergency food (plus the runner's food) and 4 litres of water, 3 with electrolyte. The heat meant the water was near enough consumed when we hit Wasdale.

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/KJaNc7

My Strava for Leg 3: https://www.strava.com/activities/1687428523

The End?

After tough running in extreme heat with temperatures in excess of 25 degrees C, they did it! Both Chris and Des coming in to the Moot Hall at 22 hours and 55 minutes!

Kilian Jornet?

It was an experience to chill out around Keswick on Sunday and to monitor what had been kept a top secret event - less fuss that way. He was supported by some of the UK's top fell and mountain runners. Both Claire and I were lucky to make it to the square outside the Moot Hall to see a 36 year old record broken as he came in at an amazing 12 hours 52 minutes. To greet him was Billy Bland, the legend. Was Jornet tired? Yes. Is he super human? Yes. Is he modest? Yes. Look him up!

But let's not take away from Des and Chris. They spent a year planning and building up to this. That is what it genuinely takes. Well done lads. You deserve it!

A rather HOT Saunders Mountain Marathon 2018

The 2018 Saunders Mountain Marathon started Saturday morning just gone from Grassmere in The Lakes and saw a number of paired and solo runners take on the two day adventure of fell running and navigation.

A regular for Claire and I, we ran as a team on the Fairfield course, which is a score event. To the newbie to fell running, this is where you are given a map on Saturday with checkpoints and you choose which to "nail", with the hardest to get yielding the most points. Fitness and navigation a must, as is your route choice whilst up against some cracking fell runners. You run for day one and carry all your kit for an overnight camp, then run again day two. If late you lose points. You have seven hours for day one, and five hours for day two.

From the Saddleworth Runners, were Stu Hutchison and Lee Bowden, Tanya Haynes and Sandrine Fraisse running as a pair on the Fairfield course, with Paul Taylor running solo on the same course. A great, but very tough two days with the heat being at least 25 degrees C and no cloud cover. Great company and chat at the halfway camp in a beautiful location at Borrowdale.

Strava Day 1: https://www.strava.com/activities/1673800283

Strava Day 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/1673804508

Shrigley Hall Hotel, Kinder, a Curry, Big Daddy and Golf.

The weekend just gone saw a get together with Mr Michael Thompson, Mr Richard Johnson, and Mr Andy Clifton at Shrigley Hall Hotel. A special occasion as we'd not seen Andy for quite a while.

I'd not seen Mike in a while, and certainly not seen Andy in a long time with the same for Richard and Mike; so we were all looking forward to it and choose a rather nice venue - Shrigley Hall Hotel, an excellent location for me calling in on my father on Sunday. We gathered Friday for food at The Windmill in Whiteley Green with Andy getting in for around 9pm and then joining us, with Saturday seeing a marvellous walk across Kinder from Hayfield with the weather clement with excellent views. Good chat was had on what ended up being 8 miles and 2k of climb. Back to the hotel, a couple of hours sleep for me, then off to the curry mile to Mughli for Indian Tapas which was excellent followed by a high street wander, cake and biscuit purchasing. A fell run (gentle) was squeezed in above the hotel with excellent views, breakfast, and some "golf" if that is what you could call it... Can't wait for the next catch up.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmkFAXvk

Cake Race, Coiners Fell Race, and Old County Tops (Gulp)

The Cake Race was my first attempt at organising a fell running race, and by no means an easy choice.

Bank Holiday Saturday, 5th May 2018 saw over 200 runners participate on a glorious but scorching hot day with the temperature in excess of 25 degrees C. Planning started back in the last quarter of 2017 and I'm pleased I started early as it made for smooth running of the race, and a complete understanding of where we were at each stage. Consents had to be gained from the likes of Yorkshire Water and National Trust Marsden with support from a team of Marshalls, helpers, and Holme Valley Mountain Rescue. What made the ran the more stressful was the first use of Fabian4 for online entries, and Racetek for tracking; big thanks is due to Ellie and Adrian from Fabian4 who were on site to support us.

All went seamlessly. Yes, there were a fee glitches, but that's what happens in a big race! The photos below sum up why it was worth it. Happy runners and helpers, with all having a good race, whether running or not.

https://gilbertius.smugmug.com/Cake-Race/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/157021690@N02/sets/72157695866843804

Monday of the Bank Holiday saw me race at Coiners fell race at Mytholmroyd, and boy what a race that was, 7 miles with a long climb to Stoodley Pike in 30 degree heat; a beast. But fun. I got an idea of what the Cake Racers had felt.

https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/UE3tE8

This weekend is a gulp moment, as I am entered into the Old County Tops fell race running as a pair with Gareth Evans from the Saddleworth Runners.

http://www.achille-ratti-climbing-club.co.uk/fellrunning/oldcountytops/

Yes, 37 miles and 10k feet of climb this Saturday...

 

Typing away on a cold and damp week in the North West

Well, typing away during a cold, damp, and dank week in the Man Cave office in Saddleworth. Thankfully it is nice and toasty in the house, with the wood burner on. Claire is with her parents descending on Hebden Bridge. Does Ronnie know it's deep secrets? I wonder. I may take him out for a pint and divulge all. Ted is engaged in "Ted TV" which entails sitting on top of a sofa, looking outside of the window, and woofing at bystanders who foolish pass in front of his domain.

This week has been a nice recovery from the Anglezarke Amble, as organised by the LDWA, on Saturday. 25.2 miles and approximately 4k of culmulative climb from Rivington and back, taking in the Pike, Winter Hill, Darwen Tower and Anglezarke Moor and reservoir. A beautifully scenic race normally, but Saturday's conditions meant it was appalling weather, cold, damp, raining all day, with snow underfoot, and very boggy conditions. All runners struggled, some more than most. At times I could not feel my fingers even with SealSkinz gloves on, to the point that I could not handle running vest buckles or my phone. On getting wet you chilled right down to the core and the only option was to move, or drop out. We were nearly broken at the second to last checkpoint prior to Great Hill with Claire really struggling with the cold, and the bad cough she had. That said we pushed on, completed it, got the time on our feet which will be helpful for the Edale Skyline in March... gulp.

https://www.flickr.com/gp/petercobley/d8w90v

 

Updating the Found Us website with new roles.

Well it's the start of 2018 and I have decided to upload some roles to the Found Us website. Please do have a read and pass the word. That said we don't really post roles as we are not a traditional recruiter. We generally craft roles for senior people and clients as we meet business needs, part of the consultancy offering of Found Us.

So, we don't really have roles to promote since we promote people and clients, matching both to each other and working together collaboratively to define a person's place in a company.

It works and we are proud that after four years of hard work we excel at bringing senior people together "off radar" and in a professional manner. We create the right roles for people, and find the right people for businesses.

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