If you’ve ever felt like ultrarunning gives you some of the skills and abilities needed to thrive in the rest of life, then the film “Make Life Ultra” might be for you.
This encouraging and touching short film by Bruno Keustermans follows Belgian ultrarunners Dina Roman and Rìk Gorís as they discuss their reasoning behind attempting challenges no one else had. It also highlights their impeccable bond and willingness to encourage each other and never give up, no matter what the challenge ahead may be — in both life and running.
Meet Belgian Ultrarunning Couple Dina Roman and Rìk Gorís
In the spring of 2021, before this film was created, Roman and Gorís completed double and a triple Everesting effort, respectively.
“Everesting” is a popular challenge in several outdoor communities, including running, biking, and skiing. How does one Everest? While the actual concept of Everesting is pretty simple, the effort is far from it. You pick any hill and repeat it in a single activity until you have climbed 29,029 feet (8,848 meters), which is the height of Mount Everest.
When Roman completed a double Everest, she climbed 58,487 feet (17,827 meters) in a bit under 48 hours. And when Gorís achieved a triple Everest, he climbed 88,234 feet (26,894 meters) in 82-plus hours. Roman was the first woman to complete a double Everest, and Gorís the first man to achieve a triple Everest.
This film, set in multiple locations in the Alps of France and Italy, as well as the couple’s home country of Belgium, and spoken in Dutch, profiles Roman and Gorís, reveals their bond which is accentuated through the outdoors and via physical challenges, and highlights their Everesting attempts.
Insights From Filmmaker Bruno Keustermans
iRunFar chatted with filmmaker Keustermans about this experience. When we asked Keustermans what his favorite thing about filming this story was, he told us: “The two and a half shooting days in the Alps were so amazing.”
Watching the film, you see some incredible views, and if you aren’t a runner or hiker now, this encourages you to put some trail shoes on and get started. He continued, “The first day we ended up hiking 28 kilometers in the stunning Val Ferret near Courmayeur, [Italy,] starting in the morning and finishing the last downhill in the dark.”
About Roman and Gorís, Keustermans said, “It was inspiring to witness how well they complete each other.” While the film is about the couple’s Everest attempts and ultrarunning in general, it is the strength of their bond that is so captivating.
Keustermans, who himself has a running background in track and field, and specialized in the 100-meter distance as a youngster, was inspired by delving into the world of utrarunning through making the film. He shared: “For me, ultrarunning always felt ‘a little crazy,’ and I always was like, ‘that’s too far for me.’ But now I’ve come to understand that a lot of it is a pure mental game.”
Keustermans also shared with us that, at the beginning of December 2023, he did a half Everesting effort together with Roman and Gorís. They chose to attempt the effort on a rather difficult and muddy slope in the Belgian Ardennes, a natural area with hills, forests, and trails, and he did so without any specific preparation. This is something he said he wouldn’t have done before making the film “Make Life Ultra.”
This short film gifts the viewer with breathtaking views, but more than that, it leaves you with a “let’s go for it and see what happens” attitude.