Six days of trail running + creative workshop + unrelenting humor

hosted by Brendan Leonard


Running to Stand Still

This course is currently full - if you would like to be added to the waitlist, please reach out to us at [email protected]




Brendan Leonard is a columnist for Outside Magazine, and his writing has appeared in Runner’s World, Climbing, Alpinist,, Men’s Journal, Backpacker, Adventure Journal, and dozens of other publications. He has written nine books and directed several award-winning adventure films. In his workshop, Brendan shares lessons from his post-college “education,” starting at small weekly newspapers (before social media!), and the uncertain process of making a living as a full-time adventure writer, including how he grew his blog from zero readers to more than half a million readers per year, and how creatives can use traditional publishing, self-publishing, and social media to make a living in a dynamic media environment.


What makes a story good?
How do we create the best thing possible when we finally sit down to write?
How do we get our work in front of people?
The answers to these questions aren't always simple, especially in the dynamic times we're living in. The only thing we can count on, whether it's a 140-character tweet, a 400-page book, or a feature-length documentary film, is that people will always love a good story. In this course, we’ll explore, understand, and practice creating stories in diverse formats, as well as examine the various avenues to finding an audience for our work, in both traditional publishing avenues and DIY and self-publishing. We'll also discuss the role of humor in storytelling, and how it can be used even in the most serious situations. We'll run and hike trails within the Whitefish Legacy Trail system, and talk about how to create the stillness necessary for creativity anywhere, anytime. 
We'll discuss, among other things: 
  • What makes a story relatable
  • How to get a reader's attention with the first sentence - and keep it
  • How to pitch a story
  • How to think creatively and openly about the construction of stories, and what "publication" means in 2023
  • Humor techniques




Ideally you like to write, you like to run, and you enjoy the company of other human beings. Bonus is you're funny, or you think you're funny, or you like to be around other people who think they're funny. All writers (of all backgrounds, skill levels, and genres) are welcome. This field course is offered for undergrad or graduate credit through the University of Montana and is open to non-students and students alike.



Running to Stand Still is eligible for scholarships through The Freeflow Foundation.

Because we believe teachers and students need regenerative outdoor experiences more than most, Freeflow always extends a small discount to contracted educators and enrolled students. We also offer a small discount to our alumni. Because we believe in paying our instructors, facilitators, support staff, and guides an equitable wage, we do not offer individual discounts that compromise the integrity of those wages. If you need financial support, please consider applying for our scholarships. If you have trouble with the applications, you can contact us at [email protected] or 406.808.8025 and we will help you.

Your program cost includes:

  • twice-daily discussions, workshops, and generative sessions with Brendan Leonard + Freeflow faculty
  • five spectacular, dynamic trail runs with Alpine Running Guides
  • professional running guides, safety gear, and high quality running snacks
  • delicious, healthful meals, plus nearly-bottomless coffee from Black Coffee Roasting Co., from dinner on September 5 through breakfast on September 10
  • comfy accommodations at the Whitefish Bike Retreat
  • a Freeflow MiiR mug to use and take home
  • pre-course logistical support + curated media list

The course also serves as an introduction to the Freeflow galaxy of writers, leaders, and thinkers. Our alumni also receive discounts on future Freeflow courses. If you’d like to take the course for University of Montana credit, please let us know.

Guide gratuities are not included in the program cost. We strongly suggest giving your running guides a little love, and we are happy to discuss norms for tipping – just ask.

Space on this course is limited to 12 participants. We will close registration once the roster is full. Please apply early.

All deposits and payments are non-refundable. Payment plans are available. Payments can be made by mailing in an old-fashioned check, or by credit card or bank transfer via the link in your acceptance note.

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.



  • Running to Stand Still begins and ends at the Whitefish Bike Retreat, near Whitefish, Montana. 
  • The cohort will meet for the first time around 4 pm on September 5 at the WBR. If you are flying into Whitefish, we can come pick you up from the airport - just let us know!
  • We'll spend our days in workshop with Brendan, running between 6 and 12 miles a day, and enjoying really good food in a beautiful place.
  • If you need any help logisticizing, give us a call! We'd love to help solve your problems! (406.880.8025)

Participants must bring their own running gear: well-fitting, broken-in shoes; good socks; hydration system; and layers of clothing appropriate for northern Montana in August. Contact us if you would like to participate but are unable to procure these things. 



Alpine Running Guides, based in Missoula, Montana, offers quality running experiences to those wanting a safe environment to explore in the mountains. ARG is designed to foster an appreciation for wilderness and nurture the adventurous spirit inherent in all trail runners by leading guided single and multi day running trips. For every day on the trails, ARG donates two hours of trail maintenance to help keep local trails safe and operational for all users to enjoy.



If this course has space, there'll be an option to "APPLY NOW" at the top of this page. Once it is FULL WITH A WAITING LIST, you should feel free to contact us to be added to the waiting list.

You may also like…