Hosted by Trail Runner

September 7-11, 2018

Leadville, Colorado

Join the staff of Trail Runner and Desert Mountain Medicine for a comprehensive WFA course designed specifically for trail runners.

It's no secret that we all want to be heading deeper and deeper into the backcountry—now is your chance to become well informed and trained. This four-day course will focus specifically on skills needed for the serious runner wanting to be prepared for the worst in the backcountry. We'll focus on altitude, hypothermia, lightning, gear selection, trauma, illness and much more.

Dave Mackey, Waldo 100K Master's record holder, former Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim FKT holder, 2011 American Ultrarunner of the Year and Leadville local, will be joining us for a run and class discussion. Read the account of Dave's harrowing injury and recovery here.

What to expect

We'll be based in the town of Leadville and will do both indoor and outdoor sessions. Indoor class time will be at the Desert Mountain Medicine facility in downtown Leadville. Outdoor classes we be held in various locations—be ready for all types of weather. Lunches will typically be had in the field. No previous Wilderness First Aid skills are required.

$1,300 Includes

  • All course time, materials and instructors
  • All meals from Saturday breakfast through Tuesday lunch (except Saturday's dinner)
  • Run and presentation with Dave Mackey
  • Three-mile, nine-mile and 10-mile runs
  • Additional mixer and presentation with Leadville 100-Miler representative


    Desert Mountain Medicine has designed the course specific to trail runners and has included runs in the beautiful mountains of Leadville, Colorado. Be ready for three- to 10-mile runs with moderate to significant elevation gain. One of our runs will even follow part of the iconic Leadville 100 course.

    Day 0
    Arrive to Leadville

    Day 1
    9:00 - 12:30 Classroom time (overview / basic life support)
    12:30 - 1:15 Lunch (provided)
    1:15 - 6:00 Classroom time (patient assessment / bleeding and shock / soft-tissue injuries)
    6:00 Dinner in town (on your own)

    Day 2
    8:00 - 10-mile Aspen foliage Colorado Trail run
    12:15 - 1:00 Lunch (provided)
    1:00 - 5:30 Classroom time (orthopedic injuries)
    5:30 Dinner (provided) and guest speaker from Leadville 100-Mile Race

    Day 3
    8:00 - 11:00 Nine-mile Hope Pass trail run with Dave Mackey (3,500 feet of elevation gain)
    11:00 Lunch (provided)
    12:00 - 5:00 Field classroom time (environmental medicine field class)
    5:00 Pizza and beer (provided) mixer with Dave Mackey

    Day 4
    8:00 - 10:30 Classroom time (medical emergencies)
    10:30 - 1:00 Final field scenario (three-mile Eastside trail run)
    1:00 - 1:30 Lunch (provided)
    1:30 - 2:30 First-aid kits
    2:30 - Closure

  • Our curriculum approach heavily favors hands-on, scenario based practice taught in a wilderness setting. We pride ourselves on the dynamic delivery of course curriculum using innovative educational techniques and integrative scenarios.

    —Desert Mountain Medicine

    How to get there

    Fly into Eagle/Vail (closest), Aspen or Denver airports.

    From Eagle/Vail airport, rent a car and drive 1 hour 20 minutes southeast.
    From Aspen airport, rent a car and drive 1 hour 30 minutes east.
    From Denver airport, rent a car and drive 2 hours southwest or take the shuttle to Frisco, Colorado to rent a car and drive 35 minutes.

    We are happy to coordinate carpools if participants are interested in sharing rental cars. We'll provide contact information for interested parties.

    Where to stay

    Leadville Hostel is across the street from our WFA classroom.
    The Silver King Inn and Suites is about one mile from our WFA classroom.
    The Columbine Inn and Suites is about one mile from our WFA classroom.
    The Delaware Hotel is about a half mile from our WFA classroom.

    What to bring

  • Running clothes for all temperatures—Leadville can be bright and sunny or cold and stormy during September.
  • Comfortable clothing for classroom time.
  • Gear that you would bring on a long-distance or backcountry run.
  • Rain gear.
  • Sun hat.
  • Your wilderness-first-aid questions.

  • Desert Mountain Medicine Instructors

    Nadia Kimmel

    Nadia’s career has included a variety of disciplines involved with the field of medicine and outdoor education. She has been an outdoor educator for Colorado Mountain College and Colorado Outward Bound and also worked in emergency medicine as an EMT and ER nurse for the last two decades. She has grown her business, Desert Mountain Medicine (DMM), established in 1998, into one of the largest and most trusted wilderness-medicine teaching institutions in the American West.

    Nadia founded DMM under the premise that wilderness medicine education should not be limited solely to traditional classroom instruction. Her experience as an outdoor educator has led her to develop an innovative approach that favors hands-on, scenario-based learning in an outdoor setting.

    Morgan Matthews

    Morgan is an emergency-room nurse, lead instructor and board member for Desert Mountain Medicine. Morgan grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, but moved to Durango, Colorado, at the age of 17 to play soccer for Fort Lewis College, where she majored in Excercise Science. She instantly fell in love with the San Juan mountains of southwest Colorado, and quickly discovered her second passion, emergency medicine, which led her to become a Registered Nurse in 2010. Since then, she's worked all over the country as a traveling nurse and has also spent time in Nepal as an aid worker following the earthquakes of 2015.

    Now, she splits time between the high desert of Northern New Mexico and the peaks of the Tetons. Running is her way to spend time and explore the wild places she loves.