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.
The first major championship of 2022 is in the books! The North American Championship, held outside of the United States for the first time ever, saw a predictable winner on the women's side (Lindsay Webster) and a surprise winner in the men's field (Rylan Schadegg). There were shocking finishes and upsets in both heats, and the result is a bit of a shakeup in this month's rankings.
With one final North American Elite Series race on the calendar, and the Ultra World Championship around the corner, here are the top 20 racers in the world right now.
Let the debate begin!
The Top 10 Spartan Racers in the World Right Now: The Women
1. Lindsay Webster
With her North American Championship win in British Columbia, the Queen of Spartan added another significant achievement to her illustrious, unparalleled resume. But her royal highness needs another big performance at Blue Mountain this fall if she wants to win the North American Elite Series.
2. Emma Cook-Clarke
Emma has really improved her obstacle game, and she delivered what I thought was her best Spear Throw of the year in British Columbia (though it went wide right). She consistently pushes Lindsay Webster, and is the only woman with a realistic shot to beat the GOAT in the final Elite Series standings.
3. Annie Dube
Watch out. She is getting dangerously close to racing like the Annie Dube who finished in 2nd in Abu Dhabi last year.
4. Kris Rugloski
I'm admittedly splitting hairs ranking Kris 4th. She's had a terrific season, and she has the guts, the gravitas, and the gas tank to finish in the top 3 in the final North American Elite Series standings. But to do so, she'll need one more big performance in Ontario in late October.
5. Rose Wetzel
Rose finished 2nd at the Utah Beast and is 4th overall in the North American Elite Series standings. Can you say FIT AT 40?!
6. Alex Walker
Alex is currently in 3rd in the North American Elite Series standings, and it will be a hell of a battle with Rose Wetzel and Kris Rugloski for that coveted third spot. Man, there will be A LOT on the line in Canada come October. Should be epic.
7. Rea Kolbl
Rea followed up her 5th-place performance in Mexico with an even more impressive effort in Utah, taking 3rd. Next on her plate? Defending her Ultra World Championship title in North Lake Tahoe later this month. If she wins, it would be an unprecedented three-peat. Unbelievable.
8. Kaci Monroe
I think her 5th-place finish in British Columbia was the most impressive performance of her career. Considering all of the challenges she's had to overcome this season, I can say with full confidence that she's even more impressive as a human being than she is as a racer ... and she's a damn good racer.
9. Faye Morgan
Faye missed the North American Championship in Canada, but she has been firing on all cylinders all season.
10. Amanda Nadeau
Amanda rounds out the top 10 following her impressive 6th-place finish in Kelowna.
The Top 10 Spartan Racers in the World Right Now: The Men
1. Ryan Atkins
I simply refuse to bury him despite the fact that it hasn't been as rosy as usual for the GOAT of late. There was the Spear Throw snafu in Mexico, followed by a disappointing 4th-place finish in the North American Championship. It would be easy to move him down, and you might think I'm just being stubborn by keeping him No. 1. But I have doubted this man before and have gotten burned for it. With a minuscule 8 points separating him and Veejay Jones going into the final showdown of the North American Elite Series, my money is on the hometown favorite to overcome the deficit and win the whole thing.
2. Veejay Jones
Last year when he won the U.S. National Series, he avoided the Beast distance altogether. To become the North American Elite Series champion this year, all he has to do is defeat Ryan Atkins, in the latter's home province of Ontario, in a Beast. Tall order.
3. Rylan Schadegg
Wow. That was a huge win in Kelowna to become the 2022 North American Champion. If you follow him on social media, you know that no one trains harder, enjoys it more, and expresses more gratitude than this champion.
4. Hawk Call
His second-place finish in Kelowna was his most notable Spartan performance outside of the state of Utah. Pay close attention to him, because he's only going to get bigger, faster, and stronger. Everyone reading this is put on notice: Big, big things are ahead for this rising star and second-generation Spartan.
5. Shaun Stephens-Whale
Bottom line: If you beat Atkins — which Stephens-Whale did in Kelowna, finishing third overall — you're going to be ranked high on this list.
6. Nic Maszk
Nic has a real shot at edging out Hawk Call for fifth in the North American Elite Series standings with a solid performance in Ontario in October. He trails him by a mere 35 points.
7. Mark Gaudet
Gaudet is currently 6th in the North American Elite Series standings, but I'm sure the reigning Ultra World Champion has Tahoe on the brain. Will Ryan Atkins return to the field to reclaim the Ultra throne? We will have to wait and see!
8. Mikhail Gerylo
What a huge 5th-place performance in British Columbia! I expect a similar showing in Ontario in the North American Elite Series finale.
9. Mark Batres
Somewhat lost in the mix — mainly due to the fact that other racers are performing so well — is the fact that Batres currently sits 3rd in the North American Elite Series standings, with a 60-point lead over Rylan Schadegg.
10. Josiah Middaugh
Following his ninth-place finish in British Columbia, he currently sits in 8th in the North American Elite Series standings. It seems like he's in the top 10 no matter where he races, or who he races against. He's as solid as they come.