Answered: A call for help

October 30, 2012


Ever know anyone who seemed to know what you need before you realized what you needed? Maybe a waiter or waitress as a local restaurant. Or maybe the clerk at the post office.

In my case, it was Keith Williams. Four days before the 3rd annual Fire on the Mountain 50K and 2-person relay (presented by Sheetz) — a 32-mile point-to-point trail run in Green Ridge State Forest — Keith, a nationally and state-registered paramedic and wilderness EMT-certified guy, sent me an email.

“I was wondering if you needed any emergency medical assistance at the FOTM this weekend,” he wrote.

My immediate response? Well, duh! As the event grows, I know we have more and more non-trail runners attempt this 50K as their first ultra. FOTM is not an easy course, even by the most veteran of trail runners. So when Keith offered to help, I jumped as quickly as possible.

And it turned out very well. After working a full shift that ended 8 p.m. Saturday, Keith drove from Cecil County to a nearby hotel and was at packet pick-up around 5 a.m. on Sunday. What a day already – and his presence was greatly appreciated throughout the day, as he tended to one runner’s bum ankle, or traversed the final trail section of the race in the late hours of the afternoon to check on the stragglers. He even shuttled supplies and volunteers from point to point. Hopefully the event can convince Keith to come back next year to once again assist runners.

In the meantime, you can get trained to help out other runners – or yourself – by taking a course at North Bay Adventure Center. Many Allegany County middle school students know of this place already as they take a field trip there for a week. Trail runners should consider a trip there, too. Here’s the details:

NorthBay Wilderness is proud to be a sponsor of Wilderness Medical Associates courses, the recognized leader of wilderness medicine training worldwide.  This medical training is intended for those who regularly venture to remote or wilderness environments, where calling ‘911’ just isn’t an option.

NorthBay Wilderness is running a Wilderness Advanced First Aid Class March 16-19 in North East, MD.  Wilderness Advanced First Aid is comprehensive medical training designed for people who venture into remote and challenging environments. Wilderness Medicine differs significantly from standard first aid courses and other training that are oriented toward urban environments. This course teaches how to manage medical emergencies when hospitals and rescue services may not be available for an extensive time period. We prepare students for emergency situations that involve prolonged patient care, severe environments, and improvised equipment.

Go to for more details or email Keith Williams at

NorthBay is located in North Eastern Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay and has a mile of beach and 20+ miles of beautiful, challenging trails.

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