If one thing is most certainly true this year in Spartan, this is the year of Woods.
Ryan Woods has ascended to the top of Spartan in his fifth year of racing by winning the U.S. National Series. Woods’ first race was the Carolina Beast in 2014, and in every year since then, he has continued to improve.
For example, look at his placements in the Spartan World Championship between 2015 and 2017. He went from 22nd place in 2015, to 11th place in 2016, and took 6th place last year. In 2016, Woods’ average placement in U.S. National Series races would have put him between 7th and 8th place. In 2017, his average placement in the series improved to between 6th and 7th place (and that is with his 13th place in Seattle bringing the average down). In 2018? His average placement is between 2nd and 3rd place.
Make no mistake; Woods’ time to shine is now at the North American Championship in West Virginia, a venue he did well at last year. In 2017, he took third place behind Robert Killian, Jr. and Ryan Kent. Woods is very familiar with these two athletes, as he has been battling them all season long; losing to each athlete only once in U.S. National Series races this year.
Will Woods’ performance in the U.S. National Series yield results during championship season? Historically, the winner of the U.S. National Series has never won the World Championship since its introduction in 2015.
Granted, this is an entirely new championship race, which takes place a full month before the World Championship in Lake Tahoe. However, looking at the last leg of the U.S. National Series between 2015 and 2017, the US National Series winner has never fared well in the last leg of the series, which is traditionally the Beast distance.
When asked about these statistics, Woods replied with a simple, yet concise “...not worried.”
His performance thus far in 2018 has given him a strong foundation of confidence heading into West Virginia. Time will tell if this yields a victory there, if not on the highest level in Lake Tahoe.
Tune in to Spartan Race LIVE! August 25th at 7:00 AM EST to watch the action unfold!