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FIS North America Marathon Cup final standings - or Not?

Tue, Apr  7, 2009 - By Mike Muha

The FIS North America Marathon Cup consisted of four events:

Jan 17: The Owl Creek Chase 21K Freestyle (Aspen, CO)
Feb 21: The American Birkebeiner 50K Freestyle (Hayward, WI)
Mar 27: US Distace Championships 15/30K Pursuit (Fairbanks, Alaska)
Mar 29: US Distace Championships  30/50K Classic (Fairbanks, Alaska) 

Points were awared for each race; the racer with the highest point count wins the Cup. So here are the top three in each category - but do the results mean anything?

Men's Top 3: 

  1. Ivan Babikov - 55 pts - Canada/Saab Salomon
  2. Bryan Cook - 54 pts - CXC Elite
  3. James Southam - 42 pts - APUNSC

Women's Top 3:

  1. Rebecca Dussault - 92 pts - Saab Salomon
  2. Kristina Strandberg - 85 pts - Saab Salomon/XC Oregon
  3. Liz Stephen - 60 pts - USST/Burke

If you look at the complete list of standings, you discover that only the top two skiers, Rebecca Dussault and Kristina Standberg, completed all four races, pretty much automatically giving them the best overall finishes. Third place finisher Liz Stephen only competed in two of the races but beat Dussault and Strandberg in both races. Would that mean she's the better racer?

None of the men completed four races. Babikv finished two, Cook did three, and Southam finished two. Cook was beat by several skiers in two of the races and finished second overall mainly becasue most men only did two races.

To me, it's a little unclear who are the best skiers - it really depends on who shows up for the race and in how many races a skier competes. The FIS North America Marathon Cup does not appear to mean much...or am I missing something? Does the racers who races the most races win, or does the fastest skier win?