Lots of drama in the M20 Elite.
Isac von Krusenstierna won the fourth stage by seven seconds, and is now leading by 28 seconds overall over his friend Simon Imark.
When Isac von Krusenstierna, OK Kåre, punched the finish on the fourth stage, he took over the lead by a crushing six minutes in the M20 Elite.
When the talented runner from OK Kåre has a perfect race, there are few that can get near him. But later on Thursday afternoon, Simon Imark ran into the finish at 53:52, only seven seconds off the lead.
The two friends, who had previously studied at Sandviken's orienteering school, were quite superior on the stage. Third placed Mathieu Perrin from OK Denseln was almost five minutes behind.
Just 28 seconds will separate the first and second runners in Friday's chasing start.
Anna Närhi was not only chasing honor in the race this morning. An O-Ringen winner would give the medicine student 80,000 kronor – a sum not to be sniffed at in orienteering.
The prize money certainly provides some motivation. But Anna Närhi has other goals: the World Championships in Latvia in a week.
She wants to gain as much confidence as possible.
Which one can conveniently get in the forest at Skyttis in Örnsköldsvik.
She will have to keep ahead of one Simone Niggli, who is 40 years old, but who has the most World Championships gold of all at home in her prize cabinet.
Who would not like to have a big lead in the woods on a final stage? That was Anna Närhi's goal for the fourth stage of O-Ringen, one of the toughest and most beautiful ever, on Visar- and Slåtterberget west of Backsjö.
That strategy demanded a huge focus, and it succeeded.
The strategy has given Anna Närhi a four minutes and twelve seconds lead over Simone Niggli. Usually enough to hold the lead.
Clearly, Simone Niggli, the Swiss runner, is not going to give Anna Närhi free rein at the end of the competition.
Niggli clocked in at a time 2.45 minutes behind Närhi, and just ahead of stage two winner Anna Bachman from IFK Lidingö.
”This was great,” said Niggli.
Magne Daehli has approximately the same head start as Anna Närhi.
On the fourth stage, the first stage winner Daehli from Halden SK again took out the M21 Elite. The winning margin on the tough long distance was two minutes.
Prior to Friday's chasing start, he leads by 4 minutes and 20 seconds over the next competitor Leonid Novikov. The total winner will be rewarded with SEK 80,000, a small fortune by orienteering standards.