A new trail in the French Pyrenees : the Grand Trail de la Vallée d'Ossau

03 Feb 2014 07:17
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Interview Mountain Trail

Credit : Grand Trail de la Vallée d’Ossau

Hello. On July 19th, 2014 you are organizing the Grand Trail de la Vallée d’Ossau. Could you specify for us where it takes place?

The race takes place in the Atlantic Pyrenees, in Laruns, in the heart of the Ossau Valley.

This is the first edition of the race. What motivated you to create this race?

We wanted to have the biggest number of people discover this beautiful valley. There are very nice trails that are conducive to the trail experience.


Our association (Pau Pyrénées Aventure) has organized a nature Multisports Raid for the last 7 years: the PPA Raid groups 55 teams that come from all over France together and allows them to discover the Bearnaise Pyrenees around Pau.

The success of this 2-day test (which includes 120 km and 4500 m of Elevation gain) gave us the desire to organize some new races. We started by organizing a Green Triathlon for 2 years and then came up with this very new trail, GTVO (“Grand Trail de la Vallée d’Ossau”)! We hope that it will see beautiful success.

What type of course can the runners expect? Could you describe it?

The 73 km course is made up of a full tour of the Ossau Valley. In the program, there will be a number of single trails, wider paths and also passages up to mountain crests offering panoramic views.

How many runners do you expect on this particular Saturday morning? What type of runners do you think will be attracted?

Credit : Grand Trail de la Vallée d’Ossau

We’re expecting 500 participants. That includes the experienced trail runner to the novice who wants to take the challenge of such a long distance and with a significant change in altitude.

Have you planned other courses during the weekend, some of the distances?

There will be the 73 km solo trail and a relay which takes place on the same course. On the relay, the first racer does 35 km and the second 38 km.

At that time of the year, what are the expected weather conditions?

Beautiful, we hope! It can be rather warm.

Have you planned any particular festivities along the course?

We are going to try to liven up the village at best.

After finishing the course, what would you recommend to a racer who has never been to Laruns? A good restaurant, a nice place to visit?

I would recommend that they go for a walk in the Pyrenees towards the Pic du Midi d’Ossau, the Bious-Artigue lake, and I would encourage those who do not want to make too much effort to go to the lake in Artouste, with the help of the little tourist train.

In a sentence, what would you say to ahotu Marathons readers to make them want to register for the Grand Trail de la Vallée d’Ossau?

Come and seek something you’ve never seen before and for the authenticity.

Interview with François Rocher, secretary of Pau Pyrénées Aventure. François participates in numerous multisport competitions where he is particularly fond of orienteering challenges. He dabbles a little bit in all “nature” sports and likes to run in the mountains as soon as he can! He has also participated in a few marathons (with a personal best of 3:06), so that he could know more about that experience.