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 none other than Spartan pro Kevin Donoghue. A Spartan Pro Team member since 2015, he has amassed more than 150 podium appearances during his illustrious career and captured 106 Age Group victories. In addition to his brilliance on the course, he's also a veteran Spartan broadcaster, having called three Spartan World Championships.
With the Spartan Ultra World Championship and the United States National Series now in the rearview mirror, there was no shortage of elite-level competition to draw from this past month. With the final two months of racing here, and the Spartan World Championship in Abu Dhabi around the corner, here are the top 20 racers in the world right now.
Let the debate begin!
The Top 10 Women Right Now
1. Lindsay Webster
She already had the United States National Series locked up before the final USNS race in Big Bear, but that didn't keep her from competing in California — and winning. (Would you expect anything less from the GOAT?)
2. Annie Dube
Dube finished second in Big Bear and second in the final USNS standings. Some have questioned her ability to run steeper inclines at an elite level, but she has officially put any and all doubt about that to bed.
3. Rose Wetzel
Despite a bumpy road this season, she finished her USNS season with a third-place performance in Big Bear, which also clinched third place in the final series standings.
4. Alex Walker
A day after winning the Big Bear Beast, Walker placed fourth in the Big Bear Super, securing her fourth-place finish in the final USNS standings.
5. Rea Kolbl
Following her triumph at the Ultra World Championship in Telluride, Kolbl became just the second person to repeat as UWC champ, joining Ryan Atkins. Rea fought off Spartan Ultra icon Alex "Chikorita" Roudayna en route to the brilliant first-place finish.
6. Kaci Monroe
Monroe's seventh-place performance in Big Bear secured a phenomenal fifth-place finish in the USNS standings. Keep in mind she had her second child less than a year ago.
7. Ashley O'Hara
Very quietly, O'Hara had a fantastic USNS, finishing sixth overall after an eighth-place performance in Big Bear.
8. Faye Morgan
Faye finished in ninth place in Big Bear, a mere 43 seconds behind Ashley O'Hara. (She also finished ninth in the USNS standings.) This was her greatest season ever, especially considering the pint-sized Spartan had to fight through a nagging foot injury all year long.
9. Ashley Heller
Heller's 10th-place finish in Big Bear propelled her to seventh, tied with Natalie Miano, in the final USNS standings.
10. Faye Stenning
Faye was MIA for most of the season, but her win in New Jersey in early October seemed to get her going. She finished fifth in Big Bear and the rumor is that she's eyeing the World Championship in Abu Dhabi.
The Top 10 Men Right Now
1. Veejay Jones
If Veejay wanted to be the champ, he had to beat the champ. And that's exactly what he did in Big Bear, topping Ryan Atkins to become the 2021 United States National Series champion. Beyond that, he's established himself as arguably the greatest Spartan athlete in the world.
2. Ryan Atkins
The 2019 USNS champion fought like hell until the bitter end to retain his title. Ultimately, the final National Series race in Big Bear — and the entire 2021 series, for that matter — was decided by half of a Barbed Wire Crawl.
3. Mark Gaudet
Earlier this year he finished second to Tyler Veerman in the Ohio Ultra. But when it counted the most, Mark put together his greatest Spartan performance ever. Gaudet triumphantly defeated Veerman in Telluride to become the 2021 Ultra World Champion. Combine that with his top 10 finish in the USNS (tied for 8th), and he has put together an incredibly impressive season.
4. Tyler Veerman
Combine his second-place finish in the Ultra World Championship with his other stellar performances this season, including a third-place showing in West Virginia, and Tyler just continues to add credibility to his tremendous résumé.
5. Ryan Woods
No penalties. No drama. Just great performances all year long, culminating with a third-place finish in the USNS.
6. Logan Broadbent
Logan has been one of the most consistent performers this season, finishing fourth in the USNS. He wasn't on the podium at every race, but he was always a legitimate threat to be.
7. Ryan Kempson
Kempson, who recently got married, finished fifth in the final USNS standings, just behind Logan. His consistency this year has been impressive, and he might have finished higher in the series had he been able to make it to Big Bear.
8. Josh Fiore
After reclaiming his title as the Killington Ultra champion in September, he went after another Ultra — this time at the Ultra World Championship in Telluride. He earned a podium at the UWC for a second time, finishing third, after winning the Ultra World Championship in Iceland back in 2017.
9. Josiah Middaugh
Josiah has put together a fairly comprehensive and successful Spartan season in 2021. His third-place performance in Big Bear helped him achieve a very respectable sixth-place finish in the final USNS standings. If he can improve his obstacle game, he will be very tough to beat in 2022.
10. Ian Hosek
Ian finished 10th in the U.S. National Series standings after a fantastic fifth-place performance in Big Bear.