John Arrabit on the run in Meadow Vista

Sugar Pine Mountain Trail will host inaugural run as CHP officer looks to help community center cause
By: Todd Mordhorst, Gold Country News Service
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John Arrabit has spent countless hours enjoying the views and enduring the steep terrain on the Sugar Pine Mountain Trail. Now, he’s ready to share the hidden gem with fellow runners and outdoors enthusiasts. The Meadow Vista native is organizing the inaugural Switchback Challenge, set for Oct. 15 on the trail notorious for its steep switchbacks and demanding ascents. Arrabit, who is the commander at the Gold Run California Highway Patrol Office, has several motives for starting the race. Arrabit is looking to follow in the footsteps of Celia Broadwell, who first spearheaded the efforts to build Meadow Vista Park and has since helped make the Meadow Vista Community Center. “She was my third-grade teacher and back in the mid-70s she was talking about the Meadow Vista Park,” Arrabit said. “Her efforts made that a reality. Now construction has stalled (on the community center). As an avid runner, I see these runs for causes all the time. If it’s organized well, you can get a pretty good turnout and raise some good money for a great cause.” The trail should provide an enticing venue for adventure seekers. It’s a 6.5 mile loop around the Winchester community that is almost entirely single track and includes around 2,000 feet of ups and downs. “I told (Arrabit) it’s going to be like a 10K on steroids,” said Gordon Ainsleigh, who was the first man to run the 100-mile Western States Trail and trains regularly on the Sugar Pine Mountain Trail. Arrabit, who ran track at Colfax High School, has set an impressive standard. His best time on the loop is 57 minutes, 25 seconds. “I can typically run a 10K in about 37 minutes on flat road,” Arrabit said. “That tells you how much ascent and descent there is on the trail. It’s a challenging run, very unique. And it’s beautiful scenery.” Arrabit will be part of a team of CHP officers who will compete against a group from the Placer County Sheriff’s Department and possibly other law enforcement and firefighters in the race. Casual runners and walkers are also encouraged to participate in the Switchback Challenge, which will take place the same day as Oktoberfest in Meadow Vista. The Meadow Vista Community Center committee was happy to welcome Arrabit’s fundraising efforts. Chairman Fred Eichenhofer said another $150,000 must still be raised to finish the north wing of the building, which is adjacent to Meadow Vista Park. To complete the rest of the building, Eichenhofer estimated another $500,000 or more will be needed. Arrabit is hoping the Switchback Challenge can help make the community center a reality and allow runners to test their limits. “This is my effort to merge my two passions: public service and running,” Arrabit said. “And it supports a cause that will benefit the community long after I’m retired and have hung up my running shoes.” ------------------------ SWITCHBACK CHALLENGE What: 10-kilometer trail run/walk When: 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 Where: Sugar Pine Mountain Trail, Meadow Vista Proceeds to benefit: Completion of the Meadow Vista Community Center Registration: Available at Information: 906-5608