O-Rings is an orienteering race that takes place annually in Sweden over 5 stages (5-day orienteering ) with around 15,000 participants annually. Due to its high popularity, O-Rings is more of a sports festival than a competition.
There are different categories for O-rings, which are made up of the age of the participants, the difficulty of the track and the distance to be covered. The youngest age groups are H / D-10 and the oldest age groups are H-95 and D-85 . For hobby runners there is a so-called "Motion" class in almost every age group, which has shorter route lengths, but also has a slightly higher degree of difficulty. There are also open categories and mostly 10 direct classes for which you can register directly on the day of the competition.
The two highest and most difficult categories are "Men 21 Superelite" and "Women 21 Superelite" . There are also elite categories for 18, 20 and 21 year old runners. Since these years are usually very busy, there is also a subdivision into the classes "Standard" and "Long" .
The first four stages take place as a single start. The fifth and final stage is a chase start in which the leader of the first four stages starts first. The total time after four stages determines how many minutes and seconds the other participants start behind the first.
For better organization, one of eight sponsors is assigned to each age group. There are eight starting positions at each stage, which are identified by the respective sponsor. There are also eight parallel finish lines, which are also marked by the respective sponsor and are mostly reached after crossing a small wooden bridge staircase. Sveaskog and Idrefjäll have established themselves as elite sponsors in recent years .
The first O-ring 5-day orienteering race took place in 1965 in Skåne , Blekinge (Sweden) and with one stage in Denmark and 156 runners took part. Inga-Britt Bengtsson (OK Pan) for the women and Nils Bohman (OK Skärmfinnarna) for the men were the winners of the elite classes, who were the first O-rings to write orienteering history .
Since then, the 5-day O-ring, which is now regarded as one of the largest orienteering competitions (and probably the most historic) in the world, has been held annually in Sweden without interruption .
1985 in Falun the 23,000 participant mark was exceeded for the first time, this record was only broken in 2008 with almost 25,000 runners.