Six marathon events across three states, with grueling courses, made up the inaugural CXC Marathon Cup series.
Weekend after weekend skiers were challenged not only by the length and terrain of each marathon, but everything in between, including: frigid and warm temperatures, challenging snow conditions, and the fatigue of skiing six marathons in a little over two months.
With strength, determination and endless endurance, two skiers persevered through the challenges of the marathon series to claim the coveted CXC Marathon Cup overall title, CXC Team athletes Chris Pappathopoulos and Natalia Naryshkina.
The inaugural year of the CXC Marathon Cup could not have been possible, without the hundreds of event organizers who worked hard to run these great events. We want to recognize them for their efforts and crown these events with the CXC Marathon Cup Event Awards which include: Best Overall Event, Best Grooming, Most Heroic Effort and Best Website.
“The marathon season was a whirlwind of eight marathons, one sprint, and one 24K skiathlon in 9 weekends,” said Chris Pappathopoulos. “Achieving my goal of winning the CXC Marathon Cup involved practicing what I preach to my athletes, set a goal and make a plan to achieve the goal. Then adjust the plan as necessary for the unexpected circumstances that arise. Being a working dad there were plenty of deviations from the training I wanted to do this year. These challenges just provided opportunity to focus on what I had control over and not worry about the other things.”
Pappathopoulos had an outstanding season and was the only athlete who competed in all of the CXC Marathon Cup races, which earned him the Viking Award. Five podium finishes and a victory in the 42k Hoigaard’s Classic Marathon which was part of the City of Lakes Loppet, Minne Tour highlighted his season.
Looking back at Pappathopoulos’ results in the CXC Marathon Cup Season:
- 42k Seeley Hills Classic: Fourth
- Noquemanon 50k Classic: Third
- City of Lakes Loppet/Minne Tour: Sprints 25th, 42k Classic first, 42k Skate second.
- Vasaloppet USA 58k Freestyle: Third
- Birkie 51k Skate: 42nd
- The Great Bear Chase 50k Skiathlon: Second
“Winning the CXC Marathon Cup boiled down to three things: training, recovery and equipment,” Pappathopoulos said. “Skiers are made in the summer. I log a lot of long workouts in the summer and fall to adapt to racing a marathon almost every weekend. Recovery is the aspect of training and competing that gets far less attention than it should. Often times recovery is one of the hardest things for someone who loves training and races. I’ll admit I may have taken some liberties from sound recovery practice with activities like the Night Noque, but it was worth it.”
“Finally, skiing is an equipment sport. Everyday there is an opportunity to test something whether it be wax, skis, pole length, different feeds etc. Much of this doesn’t cost anything. I put a lot of effort into dialing in my Rossignol skis with Boulder Nordic Sportgrinds that complemented the skis and Start poles.”
Naryshkina dominated several of the CXC Marathon Cup events this season, earning five victories and seven podium finishes.
Looking Back on Naryshkina’s Marathon Cup season:
- 42k Seeley Hills Classic: First
- Noquemanon 50k Classic: First
- City of Lakes Loppet/Minne Tour: Sprints first, 42k classic first, 42k Skate, second.
- Vasaloppet USA 58k Freestyle: First
- The Great Bear Chase 50k Skiathlon: Second
The final points have been updated for each category: Overall Champions, Overall Age-Indexed Champions and Age Group Champions.
Don’t forget about all of the great prizes for the Overall Age-Indexed Champions as well as the Age Group Champions!
- 1st Place – CXC Gold Membership – $5,000 value
- 2nd Place – CXC Silver Membership – $2,500 value
- 3rd Place – CXC Bronze Membership – $1,000 value
Top Three Men’s Overall Age-Index:
- 1st: Chris Pappathopoulos
- 2nd: Michael Mandli
- 3rd: Nick Power
Top Three Women’s Overall Age-Index:
- 1st: Natalia Naryshkina
- 2nd: Jan Guenther
- 3rd: Alice Flanders
First, second and third place in each age group receive an exclusive invitation to a Masters Fantasy Camp, October 7-9 2016 in Cable, WI (more details to come)!
Participants will enjoy three days of structured training, complemented with technique sessions and video analysis by professional coaching and Birkie winners. Experience an environment as it would be at the National Team camp!
Men’s Top Three Overall Age Class
- 0-29: Nick Power, Andrew Brown, Alex Vanias
- 30-39: Chris Pappathopoulos, Matt Liebsch, Craig Cardinal
- 40-49: Craig Stolen, John Munger, Adam Swank
- 50-59: Milan Baic, Drew Holbrook, Thomas Krenz
- 60-69: Jonathan Schupp, Dan Berntson, Gregory Worsnop
- 70+: Charles Duede, Peter Dorsen, Donn Christensen
Women’s Top Three Overall Age Class
- 0-29: Alice Flanders, Rosie Frankowski, Ingrid Leask
- 30-39: Natalia Naryshkina, Erica Ohearn, Caitlin Gregg
- 40-49: Kim Rudd, Melissa Lewis, Kim Hughes
- 50-59: Jan Guenther, Sandra Pera, Joan Rundman
- 60-69: Karen Manske, Ann Pollock, Margaret Meincke
- 70+: Elizabeth Schluter, Ethel Morse, Judith Karshna
CXC Marathon Cup Event Awards
Marathon Cup Event Awards categories include:
Best Overall Event: The Great Bear Chase
Best Grooming: Seeley Hills Classic (Grooming provided by: American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation)
Most Heroic Effort: Mora Vasaloppet
Best Website: Birkie
Most Scenic Course: Noquemanon