Spartan Power Rankings: The Top 20 Racers to Begin the 2022 Season
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 Spartan pro 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.
Race season has begun! Following the first U.S. race of 2022 in Southern California, back in January, the season heated up at the end of February with events in Arizona and Jacksonville. In Jacksonville, we kicked off the United States National Series, which is Age Group-focused for the first time in Spartan history.
With three races under our belt and a fully-loaded March schedule on deck, including the first-ever North American Elite Series race in San Luis Obispo, on March 13, here is where things currently stand in the first Power Rankings of 2022.Have a gripe with one of Kevin's picks? (We know you will!) Let us know on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Let the debate begin!
The Top 10 Spartan Racers: The Women
1. Lindsay Webster
As the only person to ever win three Spartan World Championships — amongst all her other accomplishments — she would be considered the women's GOAT even if she walked away from the sport today. (And we don't see that happening any time soon...) Whatever she does from here on out will only add to the incredible legacy she's already established.
2. Nicole Mericle
Assuming she's fully recovered from the season-ending injury she suffered in 2021, the 2019 World Champion is still the biggest threat to Lindsay in 2022.
3. Annie Dube
Like Mericle, Dube is a bit of a question mark entering 2022, due to a recent elbow injury. But it would be hard to place her any lower than third considering her amazing 2021 season, capped off by a second-place performance in Abu Dhabi. If she can get healthy in the next few months, I expect her to give all the top women a run for their money.
4. Emma Cook-Clarke
Will the 2021 North American Champion be able to defend her title? In her home country, no less? We can't wait to find out.
Related: 2022 Spartan North American Championship: Dates, Details, and More
5. Ida Mathilde Steensgaard
The best obstacle technician in Europe crossed the pond from Denmark to throw down in Jacksonville, and oh man did she impress. Her technical skills were on display in Florida, and they propelled her past Alexandra Walker en route to first-place finishes in the Super and Sprint.
6. Alexandra Walker
Alex was flying on a very sloppy Jacksonville course. She was edged by Steensgaard on both days, but she's primed for a very successful 2022. She spent the entire offseason working on her endurance in an effort to get even better. If she can add that bigger gas tank, eliminate untimely obstacle failures, and build on a terrific 2021 season, she can make some serious noise this season. She's ready to kick ass.
7. Myriam Guillot-Boisset
We unfortunately didn't get to see much of Myriam in 2021, due to travel restrictions. If she races in the States more frequently in 2022, the women's field will have its hands full.
8. Faye Stenning
With the North American Championship on Canadian soil for the first time, Faye might have that extra motivation to make a run at the title — and she has the talent to pull it off.
9. Rea Kolbl
After winning the Ultra World Championship in 2021, you might wonder why she isn't higher in these rankings. Two reasons. The first is the incredible list of competitors in front of her. The second is her commitment to ski mountaineering. If she commits to a significant number of races in 2022, there's no question she can do a lot of damage.
10. Lauren Weeks
Weeks definitely caught everyone's attention in 2021. If she can piggyback off of last season's success, she will be a consistent podium contender in 2022.
Next in Line: Kaci Monroe, Ashley Heller, Faye Morgan
These three besties are hard to separate. So for today, they'll share the final spot. It's fitting, since they're constantly trading podium positions. Though they're all neck and neck, Faye has the slight edge over the other two after her victory in the Arizona Sprint.
The Top 10 Spartan Racers: The Men
1. Ryan Atkins
In my opinion, Atkins' 2021 World Championship in Abu Dhabi cemented him as Spartan Race's GOAT. He will have to live up to that designation this year to fend off all of the great competition in the men's field.
Related: 2021 Spartan World Championship: Results, Highlights, Photos, and More
2. Veejay Jones
Veejay defeated Atkins twice last year, and the second victory made him the 2021 United States National Series champion. With the changes to this year's championship format, it will be interesting to see if he can continue his brilliance. His 2022 season began in predictably dominant fashion, with victories in the Arizona Super and Sprint.
3. Ryan Kent
I've never seen Ryan more fit, focused, grounded, and happy than he was at DEKA FIT in Austin, in January. With his past successes and current mindset, this could be a huge year for him.
4. Tyler Veerman
The 2021 Ultra World Championship runner-up also had a lot of success in the U.S. National Series. He has been trending up the past few years, and I don't see that changing. His back-to-back victories in Jacksonville are proof positive that another huge season is coming.
5. Angel Quintero
He has been a force in Spartan racing for years now. Mexico will be hosting the third race of the newly-created North American Elite Series, in Ajusco on June 11. This gives Angel the opportunity to finally have home-field advantage, and it could help catapult him to a tremendous season.
6. Ryan Woods
Woods will be 43 soon, and that's a factor. Can he maintain his excellence throughout the grind of a grueling season? But his fantastic 2021 campaign proved that he's still a contender every single time he toes the start line.
7. Logan Broadbent
Logan is one of the best overall athletes in the Spartan universe. This Ninja Warrior is coming off a brilliant 2021 season, and he's a legitimate podium threat whenever he's in the field.
8. Ryan Kempson
Speaking of great overall athletes, Kempson wasn't as active in 2021 as he normally is. I expect him to return with a bang, though, and put together a season reminiscent of 2019, when he broke out and established himself as a star.
9. Robert Killian
Captain America. When I think of what Tom Brady achieved when he was "past his prime," I can't help but think that Killian has one major run in him.
10. Mark Gaudet
Killian's fellow Army Ranger stunned everybody in 2021. Gaudet won't sneak up on anybody in 2022, but the reigning Ultra World Champion won't need to to be successful. His first race weekend in Arizona was a success, finishing second on both days behind only Veejay Jones.
Next in Line: Rylan Schadegg, Hawk Call, Josiah Middaugh
Each of these competitors has the ability to put together a season that the sport will remember forever. But will they commit to competing consistently all year? I sure as hell hope so! If this trio races often, it will make the 2022 season that much more competitive, and that much more exciting.