3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Bénou plateau lies at 800m in the foothills of the French Pyrénées just south of the lively city of Pau.
The trail race takes place end-April or early-May each year, with the choice of an 8km (won in 36 minutes in 2018) or a 15km (won in 72 minutes in 2018).
The longer race has over 700m of climbing, taking runners along a ridge at 1300m with views in all directions.
The snow-capped peaks of the Pyrénées draw your eye to the south and, if you look down, there will be gentians in flower.
As Spain is very close, the race is dominated by French and Spanish runners of all ages.
Given the time of year, it can be wet, dry, muddy or snowy, which is of course all part of the deal for trail runners.
The local food in the Ossau Valley is good and there is plenty on offer at the finish.
Combine the race with a day of cycling, hiking, snow-shoeing, ski touring or downhill skiing at Gourette or Formigal and the trip will be a good one. Link: http://pyreneeschrono.fr/