Every month, the Spartan Power Rankings lists the top 10 male and female racers in the world right now. The rankings are predominantly based on recent accomplishments and results, with some consideration given to overall athlete resumes and future predictors of success. They are based on some data analysis, but more so the eye test, which of course is subjective.
Making each month's picks is Kevin Donoghue. A Spartan Pro Team member from 2015-21, he has amassed more than 150 podium appearances during his illustrious career and captured 112 Age Group victories. In addition to his brilliance on the course, he's also a veteran Spartan broadcaster, having called three Spartan World Championships.
We're officially halfway into 2022. Can you believe it? With half of the season behind us and three North American Elite Series races in the books, we have quite a sample size to work with as we prepare for a jam-packed second half of the season. The most notable result from the past month came in Puebla, the first-ever Elite Series race held outside of the United States. Lindsay Webster maintained her dominance in Mexico, but Ryan Atkins didn't fare as well following a controversial Spear Throw.
Let the debate begin!
The Top 10 Spartan Racers in the World Right Now: The Women
1. Lindsay Webster
Lindsay is still perched atop the royal Spartan throne. She's a queen of the people, though, who probably makes baked goods for all of her competitive friends after the race. With her third win of the North American Elite Series, in Puebla, she can afford the cookie dough.
2. Kris Rugloski
If you look at her overall resume in 2022 — including Spartan, DEKA, and HYROX — you can make a compelling argument that Kris is the best mixed-discipline fitness athlete in the world right now. No one is doing more, and she does it all at the highest level.
3. Alex Walker
Alex has been on fire since her fifth-place performance at the Spartan World Championship in 2019. She cracked another podium at another major race, finishing third in Mexico, and she's now third in the Elite Series standings behind Lindsay Webster and Kris Rugloski, respectively.
4. Emma Cook-Clarke
Emma didn't make the trip south of the border, but she has the speed and the gas tank to bump Rugloski and Walker out of second and third in the rankings.
5. Annie Dube
Unfortunately, her cranky ankle lasted only 8 miles of the Elite Series race in Puebla, which drops her two spots to No. 5. Truth be told, she probably shouldn't have even been racing. I'm confident that with a little rest and relaxation, she'll get the kinks worked out and will continue a strong comeback.
6. Rose Wetzel
I hope everyone appreciates the level of consistency she has displayed over the past nine seasons. Very rarely does she finish out of the top 5. That includes Puebla, where she finished fourth.
7. Rea Kolbl
It's been a hot minute since Rea cracked the podium at a major Spartan race, and I think that really speaks to the talent and hard work of her peers. Kolbl is still dangerous enough to place in the top 5 in a non-Ultra race, and she demonstrated that in Mexico, finishing in fifth.
8. Berenice Barrera
After a ninth-place performance at Big Bear, she followed it up with a sixth-place showing on her home turf in Mexico.
9. Faye Morgan
Faye is in the midst of the greatest season of her career, and she's doing it in her mid-40s! The ageless wonder is currently in sixth in the North American Elite Series standings.
10. Kaci Monroe
After a pretty bad illness knocked her out of Big Bear, she rebounded to take ninth in Mexico.
The Top 10 Spartan Racers in the World Right Now: The Men
1. Ryan Atkins
It was the "doink" heard 'round the OCR world. Ryan's perfectly-thrown spear hit the metal frame behind the target, which knocked it out. The miss pretty much doomed him to fourth in Mexico. It's just one of those freaky things that happens in sports sometimes. But despite the uncharacteristic non-podium finish, he remains atop the rankings.
2. Veejay Jones
Last year, when Veejay won the US National Series, he avoided the Beast distance. It was a smart, strategic move. But this year, with greater physical skills, he toed the start line in Mexico and threw down the best Beast performance of his already storied career. With the win, he now holds a sizable lead in the Elite Series standings.
3. Ciro Perez
4. Eugenio Godinez
Ciro and Eugenio finished second and third, respectively, behind Veejay Jones in Puebla. They are proof of the immense talent in Mexico, pioneered by Spartan legend Angel Quintero.
5. Mark Batres
Mark finished in fifth in Puebla, compared to second in the first Elite Series race, in San Luis Obispo. But make no mistake: His performance in Mexico was way more impressive. The Puebla course took a legit Spartan effort, and he was up to the task.
6. Mauricio Martinez
7. Emmanuel Sierra
Mauricio and Emmanuel finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in Mexico. It would be GREAT to have more Elite Series races south of border, to see these incredible Mexican athletes more often.
8. Rylan Schadegg
Another Elite Series race, another top 10 finish. His eighth-place performance in Mexico has him in fourth in the Elite Series standings, with two more races to go.
9. Nic Maszk
Keep an eye on Maszk, who is quietly sitting in fifth in the Elite Series standings, ahead of such notables as Mark Gaudet, Logan Broadbent, and Hawk Call. With another great performance, he has a shot of cracking the top four.
10. Mark Gaudet
The 2021 Ultra World Champion finished 10th in Mexico, and is currently in sixth in the Elite Series standings, 69 points behind Maszk (fifth place) and 18 points ahead of Emmanuel Sierra (seventh).