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.
The 2021 North American Championship in North Lake Tahoe is officially in the books. How did that affect the Spartan Power Rankings? As championship season rolls on, here are the top 20 racers in the world right now. And with the Spartan Ultra World Championship in Telluride and the Spartan World Championship in Abu Dhabi around the corner, you can expect these to change again in short order.
Let the debate begin!
The Top 10 Women Right Now
1. Lindsay Webster
She skipped the North American Championship in Tahoe, but that doesn't change a thing. She's still clearly the No. 1 racer in the world.
2. Annie Dube
Annie continues to have fantastic performances in all the big races, and she's still improving!
3. Alex Walker
For someone who lives at low elevation, her ability to perform at a high level at high elevation just adds to her world-class versatility.
4. Emma Cook-Clarke
Emma put on a mountain-running clinic in Tahoe and fought off some elite ladies to win the North American Championship.
5. Rose Wetzel
Like Webster, Wetzel wasn't in Tahoe, but she has proven to be one of the most well-rounded and tenacious athletes in the sport.
6. Lauren Weeks
Talk about versatility. With her rare blend of strength and endurance, she is becoming the "Hunter McIntyre" of the ladies field.
7. Rea Kolbl
Her third-place finish in Tahoe was her best performance of the year. Next up is the Ultra World Championship Powered by Rakuten, in Telluride, where she is my clear favorite to repeat as champion.
8. Kaci Monroe
Another major race — Tahoe — another top 10 finish. Kaci has been one of the most consistent and high-achieving athletes of the 2021 season.
9. Faye Morgan
She put on a brilliant performance in Tahoe, placing ninth and finishing just ahead of Kaci. With the season she is having, you can no longer refer to her as "the other Faye."
10. Ashley Heller
The up-and-down season for Ashley continues, and right now it's on the up. She came in eighth at Tahoe, just seconds in front of Faye. She hasn't been consistent this year, but when she's on she's still one of the best.
The Top 10 Men Right Now
1. Ryan Atkins
This was a hard choice ... not. All he did in September was add his first North American Championship victory to his already-exceptional resume.
2. Veejay Jones
I found out recently that his childhood nickname was "Kidzilla." He has been a titan on the Spartan circuit this year, so the name fits perfectly.
3. Ryan Woods
Woods delivered another steady second-place performance, this time in Tahoe. This has arguably been his most consistent season ever.
4. Tyler Veerman
He was quiet in September, but that's because he was putting the finishing touches in his training in pursuit of the upcoming Ultra World Championship. He's my favorite to win it.
5. Ryan Kempson
In a month that didn't have many races (other than Tahoe) to move the needle, the Killington Beast was the exception. Kempson fought off some serious competition to once again reign as champion in Spartan's most iconic race.
6. Angel Quintero
I saw Angel dominate in Mexico a few months ago, and that has been the standard for him all year. He finally got a chance to throw down on USA soil, in Tahoe, and strutted away with a third-place finish in the North American Championship.
7. Logan Broadbent
Did you know that this man is a boomerang world champion? Oh, he's also a pretty good Spartan racer, too.
8. Mark Gaudet
His seventh-place finish in Tahoe added to his tremendous 2021 resume. He's been one of 2021's most impressive athletes.
9. Ja Shua Ried
He was not well-known outside of the Northeast coming into the North American Championship, but he made himself a household name with his stunningly impressive performance in North Lake Tahoe. Ried dislocated his shoulder during the race, yet managed to keep competing despite the pain, somehow finishing in fourth.
His stellar showing in Tahoe wasn't a one-off, either. Back in early June, he pushed Atkins and Kempson at the Tri-State Sprint in Bethel, NY, finishing just behind them in third.
10. Kris Brown
Lost among the excitement and anticipation of the North American Championship was Brown's excellent performance in Seattle, where he reached the podium in three different races (first in the Sprint, third in the Super, and second in the Beast).