Cool runnings: Meghan Arbogast moves to Auburn area because of Western States Trail

She's one of the top woman contenders for this year's Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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For Meghan Arbogast, moving from Oregon to the Auburn area sounded like a pretty cool idea.

Arbogast loves the Western States Trail so much she packed up her bags in December, relocating to Cool.

“Western States brought me down here,” the ultrarunner said. “The race, the trail, the whole buzz. I’ve trained down here a lot and I moved. I’m very happy with the decision to come here. I love being outside. I love running. I love trail running.

“When I saw one of the early videos of Western States I was hooked. I knew I needed to be able to do that one day.”

Arbogast, who has seven straight top-10 finishes on the women’s side of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in as many attempts, is one of the top contenders for the Cougar Trophy in this year’s June 28 footrace from Squaw Valley to Placer High School.

“It’s been quite a journey for her,” said Craig Thornley, race director. “She could possibly win the race this year, which you just don’t do at 53 years old.”

Arbogast came close to winning the hardware given to the top woman finisher in 2010, finishing second behind Canada’s Tracy Garneau by about 14 minutes.

 “That’s always an accomplishment,” Arbogast said when asked if she was disappointed she didn’t finish first. “I’m competitive. Everyone wants to win. It’s not like I don’t want to. I don’t make it a goal because I can’t control how other people turn out. It was pretty gosh darn neat. I was pretty happy.”

Arbogast holds the course record for 50- to 59-year-old females, completing the run in 18 hours, 50 minutes and 19 seconds in 2011. Her time is just minutes off of Doug Latimer’s record of 18:43.58 for 50-59 males.

In 2013, her time of 19:30:50 on a sweltering day was good for fourth place in the women’s race and 18th overall.

Arbogast, who works as a massage therapist in Newcastle, has competed in two 100K runs and a 50-miler this year, winning the Bandera in Texas and Bishop High Sierra in California — both of the 100K variety.

She’ll also be heading overseas in August for the 100-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, which traverses through Italy, Switzerland and France.

But her biggest run will be contested where she now has a home-course advantage.

“Western States is my goal race of the year,” she said. “The rest are just plain fun. Western States is the one that matters the most.”

Arbogast runs about 100 miles a week for training, completing a 40- or 50-mile run once every weekend. She also does speed work on the tracks at Placer and Del Oro high schools.

She feels like claiming the Cougar Trophy is in “the realm of possibility” this year.

“I’d have to be under 18:30 and I think that’s a reasonable time goal but I can only control what I do,” she said. “There are other women who are just as fast.”

While Arbogast is still going strong on the track, the past few years have presented changes for her.

Aside from moving to Cool — where she “feels very comfortable living” after growing up in a small town — she’s also dealt with the passing of her husband, Brian Arbogast, in 2010.

“It’s been a journey of finding my own way,” she said, “figuring what I can do with my life on my own.”

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel