What’s the longest you’ve ever run? 3 miles? 10 miles? Maybe it’s a marathon or one of the few people who has run an ultra-marathon. But how far could you go if you didn’t have a couple of hours or even a couple of days but more than a week to test your body?
The athletes who take on Endurance Society’s Infinitus have 10 days to complete 20 laps of the figure 8 style course with a goal of 888 km (roughly 551 miles). The race has one of the lowest number of finishers anywhere with athletes covering 400+ miles and still earning themselves a DNF on the results. Unlike some other notorious ultra-races, there is no secret sign up process or list of random tasks to complete. You just sign up, show up and perform consistently for 10 days in a row. The race usually caps at about 25 athletes, so if you are interested in making (what I call) poor life choices, just make sure you register early.
The film, Facing Infinitus, starts at the 2017 race (the race’s third event) where 20 athletes from all over the world converge in Goshen, Vermont to attempt the unthinkable and find their limits. The main character of the film is Helene Dumais (a Canadian adventurer and ultra-athlete) as she attempts to become the first female to finish the race. If Helene’s name sounds familiar to you, it may be because she focused on Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) for a year accumulating 18 podium finishes in 2014 before switching her focus to other endeavors. Maybe you know her from finishing 2nd at Spartan Ultra-Beast Killington in 2014, the first athlete to complete a Trifecta in one weekend while getting on all three podiums (France 2014) or maybe you know her when she worked as a trainer for the gym Otherworld Fitness in Maryland.
I’ll avoid ruining the ending of the movie but I’ll say this, I know how Helene’s racing career turns out and I was still surprised by a good portion of the movie. I also enjoyed how the documentary had a lot of information on the other racers and their experiences on course. It gave you a personal connection with each of the athletes and when they achieved or failed to reach their goals it felt like you were right there with them.
If you are a fan of running, ultra-endurance or just interesting experiences, you’ll love this movie. I think this is one of those movies you could show to anyone and they would find the emotions, experiences and physical ability fascinating.
Filming an 888 km / 10 day event is a lot of shooting. However, Helene and her team managed to capture lots of interesting moments and condense it all into a 40 minute documentary that held my attention from start to finish. It even held the attention of my five year old daughter as she watched people with real world “super powers” do what seems impossible.
Overall, the movie turned out amazing. I bought it within minutes of its release and it was worth several times more than the $8.88 Canadian (just under $7) that I paid for it. I know film making is a long process and requires a lot of work (my friend Bobby Ross from Stoke Shed can attest to this). Please support Helene and other filmmakers so we can continue to get great stories like the story of Facing Infinitus from out of the shadows and into the spotlight.